We are living in an interesting time as MMOs become more mainstream. Despite the downswing in AAA money, the genre's seeing a renaissance and 2018/19 could be really big if a game takes off on streaming. Many here will say that the traditional MMO is not, but it is there, living within games like Destiny and eventually Anthem. As major game companies look to build these online empires across console, PC, and any other platform that exists, more integration is moving forward with live streaming. Games are set up specifically to draw in large audiences on Twitch. Add in esports to the mix and you have a full viewing spectrum to enjoy.
Interactive gameplay is the future of entertainment. The generations that come after us will not be satisfied with just watching a movie, they will want to take part in the movie. Some might say we have already crossed that line, where growing fans have to take part in an experience. If you look at the design of Roblox for this generation, you see that players have one avatar and can switch into multiple games. This could begin the wave of the future.
So let us say we are in 2030. You have your avatar and decide you want to watch an Overwatch League match. Well, whether by that point you are doing it through VR or not, you’ll log in and possibly be a fan in a virtual stadium to see the competition. You may even show up as your favorite character in a team skin? Once you watch the match, you may jump out of the viewing experience to play in several matches when your friends log in. Keeping the game on the small screen on the right. So, how does this idea translate to MMOs?
Maybe by 2030 we have a World of Warcraft 2.0 and players are running around Azeroth. They also could be watching some of the politics and top guild meetings on the server. Look at EVE Online as an example, the game makes headlines because of its massive corporation wars and space battles. People might just start tuning in to see how these battles in that universe go. Suddenly the game is an Interactive Spectator Sport. You are there to watch the battles and follow the narrative of the universe, you can also fly your ship around and fight. Star Citizen, is building a similar format.
Now imagine this theory in a fantasy setting. A world where you can explore maps and level your character but also tune in to watch a show about what is happening in the world. You can take part, or just sit back and watch as the elf politics explode and war is waged, which is great for your orc who is a high ranked mercenary and can fight for the highest bidder.
Companies like Amazon who own Twitch see this idea moving forward. Their games are built around a viewership experience. Integrating both into a single system online is a clear roadmap of the future. Imagine this, you have the open world selections of Roblox, integrated with the Twitch live streaming service for viewership, conjoined into your favorite games.
Is this where we may end up in 2030? Highly possible, if you look at the last fifteen years of game development and entertainment we are moving at a light speed pace. There is a movie coming out about this in March called Ready Player One. You can read the book too, which is fantastic. It outlines this type of an alternate reality for the whole planet. Hopefully, we do not fall that far into our own virtually enhanced digital delusions. Still, gaming and interactive entertainment will ultimately merge with movies and tv into one giant ball of fun.