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How accurate were 2009’s gaming predictions?

How accurate were 2009’s gaming predictions?


It’s human nature to look to the future
and ponder what awaits us in the unknown ether of time. And that’s just what a bunch of video game experts did way back in 2009. Some managed to paint a pretty
accurate picture of what the future would look like. Others, like me
predicting I’d have a hard-light hologram of Elliott from Stardew Valley
by 2020 where sadly off the mark. Here are three totally wrong predictions,
three relatively accurate predictions, and three things nobody saw coming. All of these predictions came from video game journalists and people within the industry, so I can assure you that they are in earnest. But I haven’t included citations for any of them because it doesn’t really seem fair to dunk on
people for not being able to guess the future Except for Cassandra of Troy, but
her predictions are like so off-base, what an idiot. By now, graphics were supposed to be so accurate they would be hard to discern from reality. When you consider the leap in graphics between 2000 and 2009, it’s easy to appreciate
just why you’d think total realism was inevitable. Graphics are definitely more
real-ish than they were 10 years ago, and real-time ray tracing is going to make
water and mirrors look way better… in the NEXT decade. But at a certain point you
have to hone incredibly minute details to be able to ramp over the uncanny valley.
And it’s mostly like weird stuff, like teeth shininess and eye whiteness and
making like… regular human expressions. Those who believed in this
verisimilitude wonder what emotional damage you’d experienced seeing,
something that looks exactly like you die. And I can tell you, having allowed a
partner to recreate my face in Dark Souls 3, and then having to deal with
seeing myself hollowed– It was fine. It’s not a big deal. I’m… I’m me. I’m not that character. It’s fine. Peter Molyneux: Science fiction writers, film makers: they haven’t imagined what we’re able to do today. These predictions were made after E3
2009, where Peter Molyneux gave birth to Project Milo, a super advanced
interactive AI experience. So lots of people anticipated that AI voices,
animations, and conversation skills would be SO natural, there would be no need for
voice actors or scripts. Finally, art made without the burden of human talent. Milo was supposed to inaugurate the era of motion interactive games and facial recognition, but instead he just sort of disappeared. The full-body motion controller that would become the Kinect had its moment, but decidedly did not
revolutionize gaming. There’s some doubt about whether Milo was ever really a
game or just a tech demo, and if it became part of Fable 2… or whatever. But he certainly didn’t eliminate the need for good old-fashioned game making. The past decade has seen bigger scripts, more voice acting, and better facial motion capture than ever before. Good news for those of us who never want to stop
listening to Mel Mahut’s voice. Kassandra (Melissanthi Mahut): You look cute right now. The Great Recession of the 2000s cast a pretty dark cloud over a lot of these
predictions. There is a general feeling that video games had peaked, the market
was saturated, growth would flatline, and major studios would shutter. And I probably don’t have to tell you that’s not really what happened. In 2008 games pulled in 12 billion dollars, which is not shabby. In 2018 that was up to 43.4 billion, which is even LESS shabby. Considering the 300 hours I’ve put into a little game called Stardew Valley, it’s been a great
investment of money, if not in time! In terms of relatively accurate predictions,
a surprising number of developers correctly forecasted the presence of
cloud-based streaming platforms. This was ahead of the launch of early streaming services like Onlive game service in 2010, and Gaikai in 2011, so that’s actually a pretty impressive guess. These services let you play games remotely, circumventing the need for an expensive gaming PC. All you need is an expensive internet connection! Both Onlive and Gaikai were bought by Sony ahead of the launch of PlayStation Now, but they demonstrated to the industry that this idea had legs. Cloud streaming hasn’t – and likely won’t – usurp full downloads, and
there is no single service that has dominated the market enough to become
essential. But between GeForce now, Steam Link, xCloud, and Google Stadia, there’s no denying it does have *A* place in the industry. Physical media is dead, long
live the download! Admittedly, the predictions here were a lot more dire than the reality. Forbes forecasted that all retail game
stores and boxed games would go the way of the Blockbuster. Physical sales of
games accounted for 80% of the market in 2009. By 2018, it was down to 17%. Gamestop is still operating, but
announced early in 2019 that it would be shuttering up to 200 stores. Which is not a great sign. As digital storefronts diversify, and subscription services
become more popular, there will be even less of a call to buy physical games. I
mean, at least until games are hit by their own Han-shot-first scandal to
remind people the upside of static media. Greedo: Maclunkey! The hazy concept and poorly latinized
word gamification first appeared in 2008, and people – especially people in the
industry who are looking for the next big thing – latched on to it immediately.
As such, there were lots of predictions about how the future would be cluttered
with meta games and badges and leveling and quantifiable scoring system and
built-in competition and all sorts of bullshit. Overt gamification elements are
less omnipresent now than they were in the mid-2010s, but they’re still out there.
If you’re on that Duolingo grind, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
LinkedIn is just gamified networking. Fitbit and the quest for 10,000 steps is
gamified exercising. Social media provides you with hard data about your popularity, and you can even cheat at it. It’s not that gamification is everywhere,
just that certain elements of gamification have become so common, we don’t perceive them as gamification anymore, for better or for worse. A Anyway if you like this video be sure to like and subscribe! [a horrified gasp of realization] The wild thing about linear time is that it makes it impossible to see the future. So
inevitably there will be some things that nobody saw coming. Like virtual
reality – it was a little more than a dream from the 90s, but then Palmer
Luckey designed the prototype for the Oculus Rift in 2010. Since then it’s been
a bit of a virtual roller coaster. Luckey kickstarted the project in 2012 for 2 million dollars, and everyone thought VR would be the next big thing.
Then he flipped it to Facebook for 2 billion dollars in 2014, much to the
consternation of people who forgot how capitalism works. For the mid-teens of
the decade, it languished with lots of potential but no real follow-through, just like me in my mid-teens. With equipment prices dropping and a game library with SUPERHOT and Beat Sabre, VR has justified its place in games, if not
in my tiny New York apartment. Then there’s esports. There was some
rumination about competitive gaming and game shows being a part of the future,
but nobody had any predictions about esports. It wasn’t that they didn’t exist –
esports were already huge in South Korea, and EVO dates back to 1996, when it was
called Battle by the Bay. But it wasn’t something the industry itself
necessarily held in high esteem. It wasn’t until the early 2010’s that the
esports e-ball started rolling, when a ton of popular modern esports games were
released. It’s about time. Although one or two experts suggested that there is room
for experimental games in the following decade, nobody foresaw what a huge part
of the industry indie games would become. The first rumblings came with Braid and
Castle Crashers in 2008, and then the scene exploded with the successes of
Super Meat Boy and Limbo in 2010. Crowdfunding meant individuals or small
studios could get funding for smaller projects, and digital distribution meant
you didn’t have to hand press disks in your basement to get your game out into
the world. Not to mention new tools and platforms made it simpler for independent creators to make and sell games. It’s easier than ever to make a
game, and harder than ever to get noticed. Those are the most notable predictions
from the last decade of gaming and I’d say my main takeaway is that you should
never think about or plan for the future, because all is unknowable. But here are my predictions for Stardew Valley in the next decade; first of all– Stardew Valley finally reflects my
personal preferences when it comes to romance by letting me marry multiple
people. Elliott and Maru! Get in my house! Stardew Valley… hot coffee mod I think is
really gonna upset a lot of people… ahh… not me Stardew Valley 2: Mountain Valley! … ….that’s nothing….

Comments (100)

  1. Sorry, Leah. I'm leaving you for Krobus. It's updates, baby, you understand

  2. great video

    thank you jenna

  3. i got so scared about the red under her eyes before i realized it was a cosmetic choice

  4. remember when EA said single player game are dead? yeah they already make one and bad at it.

  5. if i can't marry krobus in 2020 it's over folks

  6. GIVE US THE STARDEW VALLEY 20 MINUTE PREDICTION LIST!!

  7. As sad as it is, the fact that we're losing physical media is an ever-growing nightmare. As someone who feels that you don't really "own" a game until you physically have a copy, disk and everything, it's bit painful to realise the truth of our circumstances. Don't get me wrong, though. There have been some games released on Steam I would have never been able to play otherwise, simply because physical copies are either too hard to find, or are too expensive when found. So immaterial video games DO have their place, especially with emulation and the like. I just hate to see video games become less and less "personal" over time, if that makes sense.

  8. If it doesn't make them money, how are huge game publishers meant to respect esports?

  9. please actually make the stardew valley predictions video

  10. Any polygon video with out BDG is a waste.

  11. Great, now I’m worried about the physical games … 🙁

  12. I hope Stardew Valley puts in a Linus marriage choice by 2030

  13. Stardew valley 2. Mountian Valley… so like plains? I mean in Canada we call that Saskatchewan.

  14. Stardew valley mixes with Dwarf Fortress, then somehow goes VR.

  15. God Jenna I'm also back on that Stardew grind high five

  16. "Stardew Valley finally reflects my personal preferences when it comes to romance, by letting me marry multiple people."
    That exists. Get all up in those mods!

  17. We weren't fine when Arthur Morgan died, Jenna. We still aren't fine ??

  18. Please give jenna a segment to talk about stardew valley please my crops are dying

  19. Wait I wanted to hear what she had to say about Stardew

  20. Ooouh "verisimilitude" good word.

  21. More Stardew Valley predictions please

  22. I wanna hear them stardew valley predictions!

  23. Eagerly awaiting the Stardew Valley video, I would also like to marry both Leah and Shane, a polyamory update would be amazing

  24. I would watch Jenna talk about Stardew for a full video!

  25. Linus for life. So cuddly.

  26. Jenna said polyamoury rights

  27. I'm glad I'm not the only one madly in love with Elliot from Stardew Valley lol

  28. 2009: realistic graphics
    2019: Microtransactions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. "(Cassandra's) predictions are so off base. What an idiot."

    Aeschylus will remember this

  30. Nice vids with plenty of jokes.
    be more funny next time-

    JkJk Lol.
    ~Random Lord Star

  31. what about the WII PHONE or XBOX 720 or the APPLE iBOX or the GAMEBOY OMEGA

  32. Well, now I have to play more Stardew Valley!

  33. I really love this haha

  34. I thoroughly enjoy Jenna

  35. I predict that every human alive now will die.

  36. Idk.. I can’t tell unreal engine 5 environments from reality

  37. Jenna, you're so funny and cuuuuute

  38. that esports bit was spot on, it's wild how that blew up so quick, and feels like it's just always been a part of the scene

  39. 0:41 i literally JUST got out of my intro to mythology final!!

  40. I would like to hear Jennas predictions for SV

  41. 1:12 I was laughing so hard I had to pause

  42. I love Jenna's videos so much

  43. Your ideas on Stardew Valley are intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  44. Indie games have a permanent place in my heart =)
    I've always seen it as a natural evolution of the experimental era of Flash/Shockwave browser games

  45. Sad that the transformative effect the Oculus Quest is having on VR at the end of the decade wasn't mentioned.

  46. 3:40 SteamLink doesn't stream games from the cloud. You still need full-down loads and a gaming PC. Come on Polygon :/

  47. Wait, come back, I want to hear more about Stardew valley!

  48. To people who don’t often play games like my mom, she thinks games look like o movie now. To me, I can always tell the difference

  49. Jenna, you've got good stardew valley taste. Elliott is kiss perfect

  50. Videogames are more profitable than ever??? Thanks microtransactions and surprise mechanics. It's a shame that so few good games are made.

  51. So, there's a mistake in this video; can't understand how they would release a version WITHOUT her stardew valley predictions, those are essential!

  52. I mean if stardew would allow for polyamory i would be Thrilled
    (not necessarily just everyone for everyone, though that sounds great too, but kind of like in dragon age where characters had preferences, solas would only be interested in a female elf, maybe some stardew characters wouldn't tolerate your relationship if it was with someone they despised, or some would romance you but not move in with you, or, or)

  53. My video is broken, it cuts off before the stardew valley future cast. ? I expected 30 more minutes of predictions!

  54. Biggest surprise for me?
    Alien: Isolation

    I never expected them to make a competent and foreboding game that recaptured the feel of the first movie so well.

  55. human reproduction loot boxes…

  56. Eww what happened to her hair, poor thing i hope she's ok

  57. Sick mythology joke

  58. On the topic of realistic visuals: While that hasn’t happened YET, during the game awards last night a game for the new XBox was shown off and if it’s actual game footage like they implied then holy hell games are gonna be getting realistic soon.

  59. Jenna is so delightful

  60. Oh come on, Peter Molyneaux is cheating. His entire career has been him spouting wildly over-ambitious bullshit.

  61. Lmao your Hot Coffee mod joke made this whole video next level.

  62. Stardew Valley finally reflects my personal romantic preferences by allowing me to be platonic roommates with a shadow monster! <3 Krobus

  63. I recently added up my time in Stardew Valley, and yeah, around 300 hours. So I started a new save. ?
    … Also this video was fascinating, thanks Jenna!

  64. Cassandra joke underappreciated.

  65. jenna, any thoughts on stardew valley update specifically where they change the dialog in penny's two heart event to "be more sensitive to george's situation" and then just make the ableism that much more apparent. i would ask on twitter but i never use it

  66. Yeah, back when people were talking about games being so realistic it is hard to tell from reality, I was just all, "you said the same thing about the PS1… that is graphics were super realistic and hard to tell from the real world–and a huge step up from the previous generation"

    No… part of what had all games going 3D for the last half of the 90s (and early 00s) and the Death of 2D games (2D Games, like all super heroes came back from the dead) was that whole, "soon games will be indistinguishable from reality–and that is how fun works–it being exactly like reality".

    Luckily Optical Media and Virtual Reality exist in a similar state as Uncle Ben, Martha Wayne and Thomas Wayne. Which leads to my prediction for 2029… Virtual Reality will have died a similar amount of times as Uncle Ben. I mean, it will never be able to die as often as Uncle Ben… but it will have rapidly approached his K/DM ratio.

  67. Okay, but what are the predictions for gaming in the upcoming 20s decade?

  68. Peter Molyneux: Says features of his games/projects
    Me: So that was a fucking lie.

  69. Remember when that guy predicted that the internet was overblown and would never go anywhere.

  70. THANKS FOR THAT GOOD GOOD POLY REP JENNA

  71. Weak. Ive got 600 stardew hours

  72. yo i just wanna say i didnt think polygon had any people more likable than BDG but jenna is pretty fuckin cool. good ass video, wish i liked stardew valley as much as you

  73. As someone desperate to be included in Robin and Demetrius' perfect relationship, I wholeheartedly support her plea for poly relationships in Stardew Valley

  74. Great video. Weird omission of Minecraft, which became a behemoth, got purchased by Microsoft, and then grew even larger, from the indie section.

  75. 300 hours in stardew valley?

    checks steam data

    I apparently have over 10,000 hours in Mechwarrior online.

  76. I don't know if pointing at the worst examples of games for the graphical advances we have made was the best idea. Maybe show some of the photorealistic tech demos that we have seen in real time or even just not a POS game like Mass Effect Andromeda…We have come so much farther than that and I would argue that it is possible to make images in Unreal that are indistinguishable from reality.

  77. Wait a second… This isn't Unraveled.

  78. Lmao the Google stadia shilling

  79. I actually sent the Stardew Valley gmail an email about implementing polyamory in 2016. They never responded. My prediction: sorry, Jenna.

  80. Jenna has grown on me. I find her funny and honest. I think that it would be great if she had a gameplay series of some sorts, I can honestly imagine myself having fun watching something like 10-15 minutes of her playing indie games alone or with her friends and talking about how it felt like to play.

  81. she's funny. I like this

  82. Oh my god that Cassandra joke I’m dying

  83. Stardew Valley hot coffee mod it isn't, but 1.4 did add espresso that you can make with 3 coffees for extra time being the same amount of faster. What a game.

  84. jenna how dare you disrespect my wives penny and abigail like this

  85. wtf is this video's icon

  86. Jenna polyamorous??? [eyes emoji]

  87. There is literally no chance that I will ever stop buying physical games.

    Also, yes, please let me marry multiple people in Stardew Valley, I'm in love with half the girls in the game.

  88. On one hand, it's not fair to dunk on people for not being able to see the future because nobody can.
    On the other hand, they were making predictions as if they were able to see the future so… I think it's game

  89. let JENNA SPEAK ON SDV

  90. The part of gamification that is badges and stuff has actually put me off things like Duolingo. I find they create a pressure and cause me to feel stressed instead of happy. I want to learn a language bc I like languages, it shouldn't be turned into a competition.

  91. finally someone who shares my life-consuming obsession over stardew valley.

  92. "As online stores diversify"

    Epic logo onscreen

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