What do you expect from the gaming industry come the next generation?
Actually, the Wii was not the start of this interactive home gaming system, but the PS2 was one of the first... that I know of. I had the Eye Toy and Kinetic game years before this Wii system came out.
I expect a lot more physical interaction (more than your fingers and thumbs) with gaming systems as childhood obesity rates continue to climb and parents will want to encourage more physical activity. There is also a huge target audience of young women who love to work out using these gaming systems, myself included, and then their husbands are happy because their wives let them get the newest gaming systems! =)
It's fun to watch the trends evolve over time, and I suspect with the success of the Wii gamers will likely see an increase in that kind of technology for the future. Since it's fun to speculate and dream about what's to come I'll run down what I would expect to see from each major company for their next generation of video game console.
Microsoft & Xbox: Mircrosoft seems to be on a steady rise in the gaming industry and I would suspect from them to see more of the same, stronger graphic engine, an even more refined online experience to top their already excellent service, and maybe some game pad innovations, most likely copy cat additions from the Wii. I might also expect to see a system more capable of add ons or expansion, though I don't know what those would be, but it seems to me the hardcore gamers dig the ability to customize their systems.
Sony & the Playstation: I'd expect a much smoother launch out of the next Playstation, after the disaster that was the PS3 launch. It pains me to say it, but I believe that at the end of this current generation of consoles for Sony to be back on top due to the rising popularity of Blue-ray and the PS3 being a cheap player. Being back on top will leave Sony not worried about innovation too much and probably end up with a new system that is much like the next Xbox. I would expect an improvement in their online service, but being that it's Sony it'll likely still be messy.
Nintendo & the Wii: Nintendo it probably the most interesting to speculate about, because of the surprising success of the Wii Nintendo is faced with interesting prospects. I believe Nintendo will try to be the first out of the gate with a new system, a system that will be much like the Wii, in fact I almost expect the controller to remain unchanged. What will change, I believe, is Nintendo's attitude towards graphics as they will try to compete directly with Microsoft and Sony next time around. Hi-Def will be introduced to the new system of course, and we'll also see a much improved online service.
I'm a dedicated Computer gamer, but things seem to be going downhill for this side of the industry. Because of the continual emphasis on graphics over gameplay it's harder and harder to keep up with the dwindling, yet extremely graphics intensive games.
Back when I started gaming on the compie there were hundreds of games to choose from, creative titles spanning many different genres from hundreds of small and large companies.
Since then, however, computer gaming companies have been eaten up by a handful of mega-corporations (such as EA games). EA and like entities are trying to make huge amounts of money by emulating the consoles. Of course, that means making mostly shooters and rpgs at the expense of strategy and sim games.
I am more and more thinking about evacuating computer gaming and going over to consoles. The hassle of computer gaming, the expense, the lack of titles that really interest me, and the ever decreasing number of games in general are really pushing me out of the industry.
Does anybody remember that 3d stand that Nintendo used to sell? When yu put your face up to it, everything was red and really grainy, but 3d nontheless!
What shocks me is that 3D never took off and to this day, publishers aren't trying to push '3D games. Hell, even movie theatre's are starting to push 3D movies (not just iMax).
So I think once 3D hits the mainstream (due to movie theatre's) gamers will begin being much more receptive to 3D games. And considering the technology is nearly there (and will definitely be there in a few years), this doesn't seem too far off.