Pondering the Future of Social Gaming

Mancala

Gaming has always been a social activity. Recent excavations of an ancient house in Jordan uncovered an 8,000 year old limestone Mancala board. For more information on the history of games check out some even earlier Hunter / Gatherer games.

There is nothing fundamentally “new” about the trend today in online social networking and gaming. Prior to the PC and gaming consoles, pretty much every game you could buy at a toy store was a social game – it required “2 or more players”.

monopoly

Today we are seeing computers and networks catch up with what naturally occurs in real life: Most people want to be “connected” with their friends! Not just statically, but actively communicating, playing, chatting, you name it. This is validated by the growth of social networking sites and online communities.

Where is all of this going? In the not too distant future, I believe devices will be available that provide for “continuous” connection with ones friends in real life! One example will be a pair of glasses with a heads up display that provides a continuous chat capability with your closest friends. At any time of the day you will simply point to your friend, say something (or type on a virtual keyboard), and they will receive a real-time text-to speech bubble of what you have said.

You may recognize people who are doing continuous friend communication because they will be wearing glasses that look like this:

glasses1 glasses2

This is what a person will look like who is using a virtual keyboard to chat with their “continuous” online friends:

glasses3

Here is what these “continuously connected” people will be seeing through their glasses – the real world plus an overlay of their friends (hopefully these glasses will not be allowed in school!). Maybe this will be called FaceSpace or RobloVision!:

facespace

Will this be a good thing? Maybe not! Just as many parents limit the time their children spend in front of a screen today, I can see future parents limiting how much time their kids can spend “plugged into the grid”. And we’ll really have some issues to deal with when products migrate beyond HUD glasses towards retinal displays and neural taps!

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- David Baszucki / Builderman

About David Baszucki

Founder, co-creator and CEO of ROBLOX. @DavidBaszucki on Twitter