But Philips is not the only company about creating true holographic experiences. One particularly well-made example of combining holographs with input from the user originates in Korea and is on display at the Seoul Animation Museum (note that here too, it is hard to convey the true experience on a 2D screen). Okay, I know, the above two examples aren't really about applying holograph technology to hardcore games. Let me give you something a little more tangible to chew on. Have a look at this holographic adaptation of some of the characters in Sin Episodes. It looks a bit spooky, but it surely shows the power of the technology itself.
It will come as no surprise that the winds of change are not only blowing in the area of input and display devices; I am sure you will all agree that the odds that we will still be buying our games in physical shops 10 years from now are slim to none. By then, platforms such as Steam and Gamersgate will undoubtedly be distributing the vast majority of games. Most, if not all, publishers are already experimenting with this distribution model today. But those distribution systems will have to evolve as well. A couple of weeks ago I ended up on the Blog of Shiny founder and industry celeb Dave Perry. He had an article about a new distribution system called Gaikai that he and his team are currently developing. Dave has a vision that software will no longer be downloaded to PC's. Before I continue, you may want to watch the demonstration video. If you have some idea of the technology involved, you will be picking up your jaw from the floor.
With Gaikai, software does not have to be transferred to your PC. In fact, your PC does not even run the software, everything is handled by servers on the other side of your internet connection. A plug-in for your browser is used to connect with the server and any software that you have bought or... rented perhaps?
So... if your PC does not run the software, then all you really need is a PC capable of running a browser and the necessary plug-ins. The implications are immense, especially when this technology goes beyond software and gaming. I can easily see this technology being used with audio and video as well. It is truly convenient: you won't need any CPU or video card upgrades to play the latest games. In fact, your PC can be downgraded to a simple client based on technology that already existed in 1998 (which can be made incredibly energy efficient with today's technology).
I hope that my article gave you a 'thought provocative' peek into the future of gaming. While we may not have anything like a Star Trek Holodeck just yet, we're not that far off. In the last decade we have seen the gaming industry taking such a flight that it is now bigger than the movie industry, and technology such as I have discussed here today will only propel it further. I truly believe that the next decade will prove to be even more intriguing and that big changes are just around the corner. For some technologies, the only thing holding them back are widespread support from the industry. Others are an almost defacto choice, showing up in a game near you in a matter of years, or in some cases, even months.
The ancient Chinese saying is, for me, not so much a curse but a gift for gamers of today. May you live in interesting times.