Game design is an emergent field, where new technology is almost always defining the next generation of games. What we play is as important as how we play, and game designers are looking towards future innovations to create new experiences for players.
So what tech could be redefining the games you play?
What, you might be asking yourself, is an NFC chip?
An acronym for the term Near Field Communicator, NFC's are devices that can transfer data to each other while in close proximity. If you have to scan a card to get into a place at work, chances are that is an NFC chip. They're being utilized for a variety of business applications, from coupon codes to Google Wallet, to the above pictured Moo business card.
Oh, and it's also in Skylanders, the insanely popular game that preteen children are obsessed with.
What could this technology do for the future? There are a couple of obvious applications, from a more adult Skylanders/Disney Infinity style game, to a large scale ARG (something like I Love Bees), but there's no telling what designers will be able to develop now that the technology is relatively inexpensive.
Earlier today Richard Welchel wrote an article about Google Glasses demonstrated abilities for gaming, and while they are fairly rudimentary now there's a real possibility for innovation with Google Glass and gaming.
Augmented reality games, where the gameplay takes place superimposed on the world or extensions of games like Project Niantic are definitely promising opportunities for game designers.
The Oculus Rift and related virtual reality technology have been getting a lot of press lately for their ability to help create a truly immersive experience. Most recently Valve VR has been getting positive press after the Witness developer Jonathan Blow gave his support for the burgeoning tech.
While the technology is still rough in some respects (personally, it gives me motion sickness), it still has a lot of great potential. Exploration games like Gone Home where you can actually explore? Alongside peripherals like the Omni Treadmill, you could turn the world of Skyrim into your own personal running course:
Devices like the Oculus Rift are demonstrating that VR is not just a fad, and can go past the level of gimmick.
While not as technologically innovative as some of the others on this list, Twine certainly brings a great deal to the field. With this tech, it's not what it can do it's what people are doing with it.
Twine is a low-tech game creation engine that allows amateurs and veteran game designers alike to experiment in ways that other engines just don't allow. It is an technology that has creations as diverse as Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha and Crumbchin's Quest.
Why is that changing the face of game design? In a sense, it's a democratization of the medium. Anyone with a computer can run Twine, and the engine and most of the games made for it are free. Minority opinions flourish on Twine, and it's an engine that is only growing in scope and community.
What technologies are redefining game design for you?