Pascal Luben has an interesting article — soon to be part of a set of articles — on the 'megatrends' of gaming. Some of it is obvious ('multiplayer to the rescue!'), but the discussion of what all this means for game design and games of the (near) future. Luben has written about three 'megatrends' - increasing the commercial life of games, the emergence of 'fast gaming,' and increasingly believable universes - in this article, with at least two more subheadings coming in a future piece. He is quick to explain he's not simply ruminating on what may happen in the future, but is discussing trends that are already underway or quickly gaining steam:
The purpose of this series of articles is to attempt to shed some light on emerging trends likely to influence game design philosophy, and therefore, our industry at large in the next few years.
Rather than an essay in futurology, which is by definition very hypothetical, the trends described in these articles are already in motion — so the question we should ask ourselves is not whether these trends will appear, but rather what their impact will be on video game design.
It's a quick read and worth checking out; I'm curious to see how Luben will tackle the 'megatrends' in his next article, as they don't necessarily have the immediate relevancy of the set in the first article.
The Megatrends of Game Design, Part 1 [Gamasutra]