The Future of Walmart
The Future of Games
with Dean Takahashi
The Future of Games
with Dean Takahashi
Co-hosts Brett King and Robert Tercek interview journalist Dean Takahashi, who has been covering innovation in the game industry for three decades. Dean gives The Futurists a post-CES roundup of new trends and genres that span a dizzying array of evolving technologies.
Games have expanded beyond a niche category of entertainment to dominate mainstream media. Games now foster new story franchises that attract tens of millions of fans daily. Dean explains how game tech is blurring the boundaries between the classic game industry and other media, such as motion pictures and television series. He tells us why game developers are most likely to lead the way into the metaverse. And he anticipates interoperable game economies where any player can also be a creator of generative worlds that are photorealistic. Topics include: core gamers, casual games, free-to-play, cloud gaming, blockchain games, VR and AR, Roblox, Fortnite, PUBG, digital twins and game communities.
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foreign [Music] this week on The futurists Dean Takahashi no the metaverse hasn’t been tried yet it’s it’s one of those things where if you cross over certain technology thresholds then it becomes possible and so what I would look forward to is having the equivalent of the Star Trek Holodeck where you could instantly just like that you know change from one world to another or have a world generated that to me looks like reality
[Music] welcome back to the futurists the show where we talk to the people who are inventing discovering and writing about the future and this week we’re going to look into the future of games with a good friend a long time friend and colleague of mine but before we do that Brett welcome to the show good to see you you’re hey man where are you coming from this yeah I’m on the road I’m in Budapest Hungary sitting on the Danube River right now so that’s pretty cool that sounds pretty nice and uh I would imagine it’s pretty chilly there at this time of year yeah it so it’s freezing as like uh in in U.S terms like 30 to 33 degrees but um you know one degree Celsius so I had to go out and buy myself a jacket because coming from Bangkok I wasn’t wasn’t really prepared not ready for the cold weather uh it’s a shock to the system when you come from a place that’s typically 85 Degrees well we should probably start off with some news uh you got a couple news items for us this week ready for the news from the future [Music] so two that I picked up on is first there’s a report that came out on January 23rd um so it’s just last week um you know in as per time of the recording um from itif which is the information technology and Innovation foundation and it’s got a really controversial title this report wake up America China is overtaking the United States in Innovation uh capacity and you know we hear it often um you know Americans talking about that that China just copies the us but the type of innovation that is is happening in in China is it in some rest some respect sort of infrastructure Innovation and and so forth not necessarily new products to Market but core Innovation and economy level so by 2020 China’s Innovation and advanced industry capabilities increased to roughly 75 percent of the us but they are set to overtake the U.S over the next couple of years and as we’ve talked about um you know particularly in respect to things like patents and other things um you know they’ve made um a substantial progress but in terms of innovation indicators um or innovation capacity um this report clearly shows that uh um you know China is going to surpass the us and this comes back to the conversation we’ve had on the show numerous times the other piece of news is um from Professor of genetics and a co-director of the Paul F Glenn Center of biology and aging research at the Harvard Medical School this is a 13-year study that has been conducted at Harvard uh Harvard Medical School by Dr David Sinclair and his colleagues and after the 13 years they’ve really discovered a key factor in aging you know we had uh of course Aubry degree on the show a couple of weeks ago talking about cell senescence and you know uh you know the zombie cells and all those things but it turns out um it’s the loss of epigenetic information um passing from you know cell cells to new cells that really creates this deterioration in all of these areas of Aging that we’ve talked about such as telomere lengths and soul reproduction errors and the zombie cells and so forth and that by improving that transmission of DNA epigenetic information from one cell to the other we can reverse aging so they’ve been able to dial up and dial down um you know cellular aging it’s a really it’s a massive um uh you know piece of advanced research in in respect to overall aging that’s gonna it’s taking us in a in a particular direction in terms of reversing aging so um Aubrey gray was talking about 2036 as a sort of escape velocity but it may be that you know this this is uh represent a real Milestone only than that well that’s pretty good progress it makes good sense right as cells copy each other we know that there is their defects right and the telomeres break and wear on and so forth uh so the idea that you can make a better copy more accurate copy should suggest exactly probably extend lifespan although that sounds easy the way I stand I’m sure it’s quite a challenge I’ve got one piece for you today one news item that I showed my eye this week which I thought was kind of an interesting and funny story it’s um it’s about food it’s about the future of food it follows some of the conversations we’ve recently had um but this time it’s about making food from Air so it turns out that there’s a a um a fungal microbe that was discovered by nasa-funded scientists in Yellowstone Park it was found in an acidic hot spring in Yellowstone and um this particular fungus can process air to yield a protein uh that might not sound particularly appealing but apparently there are a couple companies nature is fine and another firm in Finland called solar foods and they’re they’ve harnessed this particular fungus to generate protein and it comes in the form of a cream cheese get that a fungal cream cheese that some people compare to mascarpone so it’s like oh that sounds delicious maybe um or a hazelnut praline mousse that sounds like it could be a good dessert wow and many other forms of course so it’s a protein you can do it why that’s important for the future is uh that about half of Earth’s arable land is already cultivated and I was surprised to learn that about a third of human human-caused uh greenhouse gases are coming from the agricultural sector maybe think about uh raising animals and so forth for for food uh there’s a that’s a big source of greenhouse cow fats basically yeah that’s really it so we’re uh we’re gonna switch at some point to fungal produced food generated from air and that’ll spare us the cow farts great on that note let’s get into the show this week we should get someone to talk about the future of mushrooms you know the mycelial oh we should get into that we should do this but but I stopped you yeah yeah let’s let’s not up cut the introduction of our guests here uh it’s a great pleasure to bring on our guests old friend of mine Dean Takahashi and Dean is the principal writer for gamesbeat which is part of venture beat and he’s also the organizer of the gamesbeat uh conferences and events and he’s been covering the game sector for sheesh I don’t know 30 years Dean what a great pleasure to have you on the futurist thanks for joining us yeah thank you yeah I appreciate it we’re excited to have you here uh you know I’ve been wanting to have a show on the future of games for a heck of a long time and I can’t think of a better person to talk about that since you’ve got such a long track record uh you and I crashed into each other I think back in the days early days of mobile games uh when people would say to me games on phones suck and I’d be like yeah you know that’s actually kind of true and it was for a mighty long time but now games is the biggest platform yeah worldwide it’s much bigger than uh PlayStations or PCS so it’s a uh the world of games evolves rapidly uh tell us tell us a little bit about the state of the game industry today well you’re right that mobile games is the biggest segments uh within gaming now it’s it’s more than half of the the market uh PC and console games are still going strong but they don’t engage nearly as many people and people on on the run really um uh have have time for mobile gaming and so uh it’s exploded the the business model of free to play uh really helped uh that happened and um yeah I think that uh if there is any sort of a Slowdown in in gaming now um it has to do a bit with um you know whether uh people playing those mobile games are really dedicated players or not and the people who are spending time on PC games and console games um they are extremely dedicated and they’re they’re plain um uh this form of entertainment uh you know far more than any the other kind of of diversion but but mobile Gamers um you know they they’re a bit more sensitive to to the times and so like a recessionary environment uh they may not play as much um they may sort of go off and do other things uh especially as uh sort of we’re in a post-pandemic phase I think um yeah for the benefit of our audience let me clarify a couple things because you mentioned two things that I want to make sure people understand the first one is the distinction between core Gamers and casual gamers and that’s the distinction you’re talking about we talk about people playing on a phone anybody who’s serious about playing games is probably going to have a gaming rig at home that’s set up with the proper chair and so forth like my friend Brett who went back when he’s a home base and he’s a dedicated game I’m a serious gamer dude I’ve got like a a 8 000 gaming PC massive widescreen yeah I’m I’m looking like a drink you know I’ve been a gamer since PC based gamer since and then there’s the casual gamers and that’s the folks who play on on their phones and they’re not necessarily going to buy dedicated equipment but they play on the device they happen to have and these days mobile phones are pretty good you know the power of that phone keeps improving so it’s basically a super computer in your pocket and it’s connected to a fairly fast Network so the things that might have previously been a bottleneck that made mobile games pretty terrible back in the day those problems have been solved and so now we have a pretty decent game machine in our pocket that’s a field that’s been absolutely booming with downloadable apps for the last 10 years and there’s a lot of innovation there one of the Innovations you mentioned is free to play free to play is where you get the game for free and you decide when to pay that’s a kind of a novel concept when I start in the games industry we sold shrink wrap boxes with shiny discs inside of them and there we charge you a stiff 45 bucks up front if you didn’t like the game it was just like a movie theater like Tough Luck Charlie you bought the Box you bought the bought the game you open the box you can’t bring it back um these days players get to download the game and play as much as they like and it is kind of nuts you can play 55 levels of Candy Crush before you pay but woe to you if you pay because the minute you pay that game changes tell us a little bit about free to play because I know it’s controversial some game designers dislike it intensely yeah uh the the the notion of free to play more like more than a decade ago ago and you know it started with Nexon um uh trying to figure out a way to get around the problem of uh piracy in the game industry everybody was especially in Asia you know they’re they’re just really copying games and and never paying for them um but they they did figure out that uh if if you’re delivering value for people let them try it out for free they get uh they get addicted to it and then they just uh say hey I’m gonna I’m gonna uh pay for something in this game that I’m enjoying so much and you know it might be five bucks but it might be a thousand bucks as well there was no cap on how much could be paid and so the people who who spent this money and played a whole lot they became what were called whales and uh uh you know maybe even just two percent of the players were were doing this deciding to pay uh but they they could basically find chance you know the the rest of the community getting the game for free because they there was no there’s no cap on how much uh these people could could pay uh so definitely uh you know uh created a new alternative uh point of entry into games and then once you once you go through that sort of uh that Looking Glass you’re never going back and so then your your gaming habits just uh just keep on growing at that point the business model attracted new players for sure but it also changed the way we designed games because it it caused game designers to design very hooky sticky games yeah and so the nature of the games themselves began to change in some respects they became more like slot machines you know like it felt like free gambling yeah until you put money in in which case then I felt very much like real gambling except you don’t get a cash prize back you just spend the money it’s like it’s like the world’s worst casino yeah definitely veered off into things like loot boxes and that became a sort of the dark side of the game industry and uh tell us about a lot of it generates a lot of money uh and loot boxes you know you you pay for something but you don’t know what’s inside and you’re trying to get you know like a super special sword or something like that but uh it almost does become like a slot machine as far as your chances of getting that or like a scratch off lottery ticket you know where you you purchase the thing and then you open it to find out what’s inside and in fact in some countries uh those those loot boxes have been deemed a kind of Lottery right they’ve been banned in Japan and I think some place in Europe as well yeah yeah illegal like uh Belgium for example yeah it’s definitely considered illegal gambling sometimes so the point is there that we tend to think of games as being kind of constant or we one tends to think of games as um being persistent and it’s certainly true you know games like chess have been around for centuries and haven’t evolved and they’re still very appealing um but in the world of uh of video games there’s just tremendous amounts of change I’d say of all the media types games is the one that changes the most it’s the most uh influenced by the technology it’s the most influenced by the network because Gamers require you know really milliseconds uh response times in order for the game to be plausible it’s also where the developers uh the people who create the games are willing to test out technology I wouldn’t say that that’s true of other kinds of entertainment uh you know one could say musicians use technology and they do they experiment with it uh the motion picture businesses tends to be technology resistant until there’s like a proven breakthrough that’ll give them an advantage but in the game industry you’ve got coders that are testing systems that often aren’t even documented you know they’re at the very Cutting Edge of the technology I consider them to be I consider game developers like the test pilots for new technology that’s one of the reasons why it’s such an interesting subject so yeah definitely uh there’s you know different uh branches of innovation in games right now that are pushing into things like cloud gaming and cloud cloud technology and uh there’s VR of course and uh blockchain uh games uh and I want to ask about all those you know you know everybody says that cloud gaming is the next big thing although it’s not so clear to me that that’s the case and certainly Google proof that it’s easy to screw up uh and and kind of retreat with your town between your legs apparently Microsoft is making a go of it and they’re doing well tell us a little bit about cloud gaming so cloud gaming basically uh will uh put the computing power and the graphics uh processing into a data center in the cloud and you access that via the Internet uh for your game device and you can basically you know enhance uh the processing power that you have available to you enormously uh just just through the form of video that you download into a device and you upload download and it feels like all of the interaction is happening right there on your device when in fact um you know a lot of the processing is happening in a data center that’s far away so does that mean you could play a game like a really high powered game on a like a basic Android Android tablet is that the idea you’re streaming the game down from a data center yeah yeah so then it doesn’t matter how powerful your own particular devices and you can play a very high-end game uh like say Red Dead Redemption 2 you can play it on a laptop that basically has very little Graphics power or a smartphone um the market of Gamers is that what’s happening is it are new people who don’t have like an Nvidia laptops are they signing up well there’s there’s innovations that go along with this and for example um a company called holoride is now enabling you to do virtual reality Games on a headset in the car and uh and you know they’re they would access uh technology like uh the data in the car that tells you that the car is turning and you know you know turn the simulation that you’re seeing in the direction that the car is turning so you don’t get as seasick as you normally might with that kind of um uh promotion experience right so I do think you know the whole Edge Computing and 5G stuff is sort of taking us this way as well is you know if we can have if we can have GPU storage and obviously very low latency video as a result of sort of 5G it is a game changer now um you know there’s questions about um you know standards around 5G of course the U.S standard differing from um you know a lot of the rest of the world but you know we are increasingly reliant on cloud and clearly as we go for more compute power um you know the other angle with the cloud you know is going to be Energy Management you know a sustainable compute power is going to be a feature of of the cloud stuff that you don’t get from sort of the large on-prem but um you know I I like you know look at some of the gaming systems that we’ve already got like Roblox and Minecraft and stuff like this these These are essentially Cloud native platforms right exactly and Roblox is enormously um popular now it’s uh it’s acrossed uh well into nearly 60 million people playing it daily uh yeah that’s astounding yeah and that’s astounding yeah
my kids get their their allowance on Roblox well the two youngest do the ten and the third and y’all that’s that’s that’s how they’ve chosen to get their allowance they’re also uh it’s trying to be a bit like Disney and and be multi-generational right and they’re trying to age up the content so that uh more than just kids will be uh spending their time inside Roblox yeah it’s like a it’s like a very similar strategy to Disney right well in in the in the second half of the show we’ll talk a little bit about the direction that games like Roblox and fortnite and Minecraft might be going in the future um but first we have to take a break and so what we always do before we take a break is that my friend Brett is gonna fire up some uh rapid questions for you and your job is to give quick answers to them so this is a chance for audience to get to know you a little bit more okay to know uh how you got started how you got interested in this stuff over to you Brett okay this is the quick file lightning round
what was the first game you remember playing pong I played it in a tennis uh Court Lounge in the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas when I was on vacation was it an arcade-based game uh it was one of those tabletop uh uh games yeah okay cool um what do you what do you think is the game that has most changed the gaming industry uh who would point to either fortnite or Roblox uh you know fortnite it became very interesting because it forced the industry to embrace cross play uh and uh and so like a person on a Sony device uh could play with someone with Nintendo could play with someone on a mobile phone uh so that was important but Roblox also really pioneered um user gender generated content and that seems like a very viable path into into the future uh now um this could go either way but you know uh can you give me the name of a futurist an entrepreneur or a game developer that has uh influenced you personally and why I would say uh Tim Sweeney uh I used to interview Tim Sweeney uh quite often in the days when the Xbox was launching more than you know 20 years ago and he’s still the CEO of epic games and uh pioneering uh you know uh 3D Graphics in in a very big way and his company is uh is the maker of fortnite uh and um he was the one who just um probably five years ago started talking a lot about the metaverse and uh I was uh interviewing him and I said well how you know how how soon do you think we can do the metaverse because I I don’t believe we’re ever gonna get there to something like the Star Trek Holodeck and uh and he said I think it’d be just a few years and uh and it sort of woke me up and you know it it reminded me of the Neil Stevenson book from 1992 snow exactly you know and I I thought these things were not going to come to pass uh very soon uh because of just you know the the the idea that you can be so immersed in a space that it feels like it’s a reality it just didn’t seem like we had that that kind of computing power but uh you know here’s Tim Sweeney one of the world’s you know greatest uh Graphics gurus uh saying that this is going to be possible and I I think maybe you know the the sort of Secret of that is really what kind of metaverse are we going to get and how soon is that right so well that was sort of my next question is is there someone that you think has predicted the future of gaming accurately well uh I mean Tim is is one for example uh but I I think also Jensen Huang the CEO of Nvidia has also been very inspiring as well he keeps saying that uh science fiction is becoming reality and uh uh that uh the notion that we could make a breakthrough in one area uh could Cascade a number of breakthroughs in other areas and and that started with deep learning neural networks and AI uh actually working for the first time you know 10 years or so and uh when you get breakthroughs like that then they do uh uh affect almost every kind of industry like AI has pretty much proliferated through the tech industry and I saw that at the recent CES 2023 show all right well let’s talk about that after the break I’m a bit of a Gabe Newell fan myself but that’s because I was heavily influenced by you know Half-Life as a as a first person shooter but um all right well listen this were you listening to the futurists we have uh uh Dean Takahashi is our guest this week we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors provoked media is proud to sponsor produce and support the futurist podcast provoke.fm is a global podcast Network and content creation company with the world’s leading fintech podcast and radio show Breaking Banks and of course it’s spin-off podcast breaking Banks Europe breaking Banks Asia Pacific and the fintech 5. but we also produce the official phenovate podcast Tech on reg emerge everywhere the podcast of the Financial Health Network and NextGen Banker from about all our podcasts go to provoke.fm or check out breaking Banks the world’s number one fintech podcast and radio show
okay we’re back it’s the second half of the show it is the futurists with my friend Brett King me right here and our guest Dean Takahashi of games beat Hey Dean we’re just getting into the good stuff now uh so of course there’s all these topics we want to jump into things about the metaverse the use of artificial intelligence the idea of persistent world games that might start to extend into the world through things like augmented reality or mixed reality so um let’s take these Concepts one by one and break them down uh there’s a lot of hype at CES this year about gear and in particular there were a couple new devices that showed up uh new uh head mounted displays for augmented reality or for virtual reality and the whole world seems to be breathlessly waiting for this Apple announcement that keeps getting pushed further further down into the future uh talk about the futurists that is a topic that keeps coming up on this show can you give us a little perspective about what you learned at CES this year the consumer Electronics Show that gigantic Showcase of electronic gizmos yeah there was interesting developments with the virtual reality for sure HTC showed up a new headset they’re charging eleven hundred dollars for it but it’s oriented towards uh consumer enthusiasts who uh really love VR environments and learning the PlayStation VR too uh also made its debut uh at uh at CES and it’s going to be shipping in February as well and um you know it’s it’s it is targeted uh for much more serious Gamers um and it is priced at 550 right so half the price of the of the HTC Vive and meta of course came out with uh their metaquest Pro for for Enterprises that uh costs about fifteen hundred dollars then you have a other players uh that were at CES as well like magic leap which is selling a 3 300 mixed reality uh glasses um and uh and they’re targeting that at Enterprises uh where you might want to you know uh use it to train uh an associate walking down a an aisle uh where they could see uh different descriptions of the things they’re looking at popping up in their their AR uh headsets for thirty three hundred dollars you think that that’s a good deal to train a new associate in a grocery store uh you know training costs uh for some reason are extremely high right and there aren’t enough people to do that training and so um uh this is one of the great use cases for the early technology that you know it comes out at a very high Price Enterprises can afford it because they’re actually saving tens of thousands of dollars a year uh at least that’s the argument that they’re using to sell it in CES that’s right hey it’s a shame that magically hasn’t done more you know um because you know obviously they have some pretty special Tech but I I think the Gap is closing on some uh some some of that Tech you know like it’s a really big problem with ar though the big problem they are that everyone keeps running into is that the sun is really bright yeah the displays aren’t and you can’t defeat the sun uh that was one of the major issues but there were a bunch at magically that was a company I mean the interesting Advance about the magic leap 2 headset is that you can use it Outdoors as well and so uh but it’s you know it is a challenge it’s a problem that just gets in the way of uh the technology moving really fast for sure yeah apple has denied the the AR launch right they’re launching their mixed reality headset this year but they’ve said they’re they’re putting off the augmented reality glasses for a while yeah it’s the same problem the other issue is that this is where you really need 5G you know when we think of 5G most people think of it as fast more bandwidth right or faster bandwidth and that’s true that’s actually the way we’ve implemented in the United States but as you mentioned in the beginning Brett there’s a lot of different approaches to how you roll out 5G because it’s a very complex technology and it enables the network operator to allocate bandwidth in many different ways one of the ways to do it is to create a low latency Network which means that you could deliver Refresh on a screen in the form of military really important for gaming yeah it’s essential for AR because if as you turn your head you have to redraw the screen dozens of times to make sure that it matches if there’s any lag any delay whatsoever it completely destroys the illusion and therefore it makes AR impossible to launch as a valuable product so that’s one of the brick walls that the headset manufacturers have run into is that we simply don’t have a network today in the US that would support it that may be different elsewhere in the world where they’re implementing uh they’re implementing 5G networks with much higher tele density and therefore possibly much more much lower latency on a different Spectrum right uh well that’s another factor in it but but let’s before we Veer off into the land of uh of telecommunications standards let’s get back to CES and so what else did you see at CES that tickled your fancy but it definitely was a lot of influence from generative AI um which uh has sort of you know taken the the whole uh Tech World by by storm even Google is worried about uh the effect this might have on uh people using search right you’re talking about things like generative pre-trained Transformers what we known as gpt3 or now chat GPT yeah and uh I wrote about a startup today that came out of the CES announcements uh they’re they’re getting their um their app onto uh LG TVs uh because LG wants to position itself as a metaverse leader as well and uh what what this does is it uh it lets you just engage with an app um it’s coming in via the cloud uh into the TV and then you just uh type in a text prompt and then it generates a rural a world using what you typed in like if you I want a game I want a multiplayer game with chickens fighting each other it’ll generate that is it any good does it look good or is it terrible yeah it could be terrible for sure and it could be disposable right uh but the the thing that the company oximan and uh it’s oxu world uh app um they’re hoping for is that uh is that the the the ability for users to create their own games using their own imagination is going to be the hook right and that um that’s a big factor uh and I think when we talk about metaverse we should we should bear in mind that everybody will be a Creator in the metaverse everybody will create some kind of art so that’s where these uh automated systems these AI generative systems can be quite powerful yeah and you know what they what they do is they enable people who are lay people really ordinary people who don’t know how to code to happened to something like generative AI to you know create vast amounts of content that they could never otherwise create and so um that’s that’s something that could really sort of um kick start uh user generated content yeah we’re gonna be we’re going to be dealing with a flood of user generated AI generated content uh in the very near future you know everything from newsletters and social media posts to really bad art some people make great stuff with it it’s super impressive to see the people who’ve got the skills in prompt craft generating really really good looking art a really interesting new uh writing but a lot of it is frankly average you know that’s the whole point that it generates kind of the mean mediocre content so so Dean um you know I want to I want to talk to you about sort of General Trends here you know you do have things like fortnite which is more Community Based but you know if we look at the big ticket games the Call of Duties and and things like this these games that are you know basically produced like Hollywood Blockbusters and sort of you know in terms of budgets and in terms of Revenue that’s produced by them you know tend to be very similar even you know they they’re you know higher returns than than uh you know Hollywood movies they tend to be much more story driven you know use you know you’re immersed in the storytelling experiences so um you know it do you think that that’s the the sort of world is going to be split between these action you know engagement models versus storytelling um you know and where does that put us in terms of the metaverse do we sort of see you know playable movies coming in the future that you know um that you can play a character there like think of what that what’s happened with The Last of Us recently you know amazing new TV series um you know the lines are blurring between games and and storytelling in in that way where do you think this is taking us I I think we’re going to have some very strong genres uh within gaming that are going in very different directions like user generated content is only going to get stronger and the storytelling really isn’t there but it’s it’s your story and that’s what’s appealing to uh so many people uh whereas the really high-end movie like uh storytelling like you see in the last of us um uh you know we’ve gotten to an interesting stage where video games can do that and uh they can be the lead uh storytelling um uh concept that can go across a lot of different media uh and you know you you can have a lot of games now sort of be mined as the sources for um the biggest movies coming out of Hollywood and so like the last of us uh HBO series is really a great example of that and what’s interesting now is that these are becoming the same ecosystem like you know game engines are being used uh to make games but also to be you know to make movies and TV shows like the Mandalorian uh was made with the Unreal Engine for example right and so they’re becoming one ecosystem and and what that means is then that is it’s so much easier for them to Traverse back and forth and that that means that people like the directors of these shows they’re Gamers now right and they they know how to respectfully treat the source material so they don’t offend The Gamers with search for the craziest kind of movie Antics right uh so uh I think um that’s that’s definitely a trend that’s only gonna get stronger and it’s going to strengthen gaming culture uh in the mainstream right it’s going to mean that everybody’s going to know uh what the popular games are because they they embrace the popular shows and so people who aren’t Gamers they’re become aware of things like League of Legends and Arcane uh because of a great Netflix television show yeah the success of those shows is clearly going to turn the motion the the motion picture industry is going to start to look at games as uh the place where the concepts are developed you know to make a successful film and even a streaming series now you need to have a built-in audience that’s why we see so much franchise work and so many things that are derived from famous old Science Fiction and Fantasy stories uh that have been around for years and years but we’ve kind of mined that out that vein has been mined out and so now they’re looking for new franchises and the gaming industry does that apparently it’s because persistent games games like fortnite and Roblox and Minecraft games that are always there you know they’re always available you can play them as long as you you can play until you drop and they’ll still be players out there continuing to play on after you go to bed uh those game worlds now attract tens of millions of people uh worldwide and so they’re well understood as a brand but weirdly they’re still sort of in this uh game industry Zone which is considered Niche by mainstream media I find that really weird that that persists that the perception games is kind of like a niche Pursuit when yeah and those communities yeah now and those communities are so super tight you know I play this game called rust I don’t know if you know it Dean but um you know it’s a it’s a generated generated world that you play against the community um you know and the the community is so involved in the stuff you know they eat and live breathe their stuff so you’ve got very passionate um audiences as well Behind these games yeah that’s that’s actually the key to Microsoft’s strategy so you know one of the big things that’s happened in the business of games is that game companies are getting rolled up game studios are getting acquired by Mega game companies uh notably 10 cents the Chinese company is the biggest game company in the world right now in response to that Microsoft’s been buying up game companies and their approach to me is quite interesting I’d be happy to hear your perspective on it Dean what I’m interested in is that Microsoft is buying game franchises that have really deep-rooted communities to the point that Brett was just making so games like Elder Scrolls that have been around for a zillion years but they have this community of passionate fans and some people speculate that that’s Microsoft’s approach to the metaverse that they’re going to build a metaverse one franchise at a time starting with communities they’re not focusing on Tech they’re not focusing on any kind of like gimmick or play technique or something what they’re focused on is where the people who are going to contribute to building these worlds and sustaining these franchises I think that’s quite a unique unique approach what’s your take on that what’s your take on Microsoft as a game uh industry Roll-Up but I think I think a lot of these big companies uh definitely want to uh control the future right and the the um still say that they support openness right and uh and so they’re going to push for as much for priority uh technology leadership as as they can but they can also Embrace a more open uh path and an example is Microsoft is in the process of buying Activision Blizzard uh the biggest Standalone video video game company in the US and um you know they’re getting Call of Duty and what they could do uh once they get so many of these franchises is set up something like Disneyland as a Walled Garden right there’s there is a wall around Disneyland right and uh you can have Call of Duty land where players could go and just spend all their time and just do nothing but that and you could have Halo land you could have Starfield land all these different franchises um make up this Disney landing and you can get in for one low price right and um that’s going to be very competitive against anybody who’s trying to sell you a standalone game and uh I I think um you know the game companies uh they they have the engagement like once you get into something like a metaverse you’re going to want to do things there and uh the most engaging thing to do is is to play games and I think um you know Jason Rubin from meta he he had a great quote that um you know if you’re going to build the metaverse it’s going to have a ton of 3D content and you’re gonna need a game engine to build that and the people who know how to use game engines are game developers and so it follows that game developers are going to lead the way into a metaverse and and yet I I see very interesting things happening across um all of Industry um with the Technologies like uh AI game development tools are spreading uh the ability to create 3D Graphics uh into every industry and you have Nvidia pushing the Omniverse tools and you can use those to create digital assets and reuse them across different um uh projects and uh you know that kind of tool is really necessary to create an interoperable set of worlds are interoperable games where you can use one thing in a game maybe technology right but use one thing in game and then take it to another game because you’ve already bought and you own it and and that ownership can be verified through blockchain and so once these things um all uh proliferate then you can undertake some very interesting gigantic projects like Nvidia wants to use Omniverse to create a digital twin of the earth and have it be accurate on a meter level scale so that they can use all the super computers in the world which use Nvidia Graphics right um to to actually do an analysis on that digital twin and predict climate change for decades to come like if you can do that wow you’ve basically built a digital twin of the earth and you get the metaverse for free right so you built that thing everybody else can reuse it in their own ways there’s a there’s a Creator out there that’s named Brendan green who’s kind of chomping at the bit to get hold of this technology he’s the creator of playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Pub G the first really successful Battle Royale game in gaming and uh pubg had sold more than 90 million units right and um this made Brendan uh quite wealthy and able to finance a new sort of long-term project and what he wants to do is basically create a world right like a digital twin of the earth and this set players loose in it and let them create their own games with it and he would welcome other visitors from other worlds into this uh into this game world uh but you know at the entrance to the world he’s basically going to use um AI or generative AI to convert whatever they I have into what they can use inside his world right and so you wouldn’t have a fantasy player showing up as a knight in shining armor into a Call of Duty World right so it’s like an avatar translator but that was you know that’s a bit of the concept behind Oasis you know Ready Player one is that you do you could build these uh persistent characters that could cross between worlds and you know you could you could have your you know it’s it’s your ability to have your really own flavor in in terms of building your persona in the game world or the metaverse world I think that’s that’s part of um you know the personalization of the game experience for individuals is is being able to craft that that stuff out you know and and look you know a lot of these games the fortnite’s the you know rust um you know Minecraft and so forth you know you’re often um buying um skins or you’re buying um you know tool sets to give you advancements so um most like the Old Dungeons and Dragons days in terms of you’re buying stuff that stays in that game inside of that world so it’s like a closed economy and uh yeah it is close but if you could make that transferable and you could have that yeah that that’s that’s sort of the Holy Grail and when people talk about interoperability that’s what they’re referring to it’s a conky word it’s not a great word but the notion is that if I buy you know something that’s useful or cool in one world a one game world I should be able to bring that stuff with me because I’m the one who bought it it belongs to me a lot of people also think that you know blockchain technology is is going to be a key here and that you can sort of certify your digital ownership of something I’m a huge skeptic because I mean the point being that it can also let you get around the platform walls the walls yeah you know I get the vision I totally get the vision but uh anybody who’s designed a game before and I’ve designed a bunch will know that every every Implement like the that every item that’s useful or stylish in the world has a certain point value inside of an RPG system that’s pertinent to that particular game you can’t just rip that element out you always hear this from people who don’t know what they’re talking about they’ll say oh you can buy us a magic sword in one game and use it in another no you can’t there’s no such thing there’s no there’s no way to transfer that across we have something we never had before we have generative AI yeah yeah so the idea that you’re proposing is that now games like the one that Brendan Green’s thinking about building this sort of planetary game uh would have some sort of AI translator so something like a mid-journey at the entrance against you bring all your inventory and it says okay in this world there’s a there’s an equivalent it’s almost like you know the the the place used to go to do a money exchange when you went from one European country to another you Tran you change your Deutsche marks into Franks or rubles or whatever this will change your your elements from one game into useful items in another game that makes sense to me I could see that I don’t know if people would agree with the average tree uh the the the the switching price there but nevertheless that that makes sense you can like trade in your gear uh because right now people are doing it illegally right they create our exchanges outside of the games where they can transfer characters and so forth I mean even with uh even worse for gamers you know when when these games uh run out of steam and they shut down then their investment of 10 years into a character or something just disappears it’s gone that’s right that’s a total waste uh well that was a pretty sweeping answer you gave us a minute ago you managed to cover things like VR augmented reality artificial intelligence and the metaverse and you did it all in about five minutes wow yeah that’s correct it’s fantastic so let’s let’s get real sci-fi then to finish out the show Dean so um I want you to put on your your gamer hat and I want you to um go at 20 or 30 years and and you know tell us what you think the gaming um you know a gaming experience or gaming will be like uh you know in 20 or 30 years well I uh I would give a lot of credit to Matthew ball for writing the metaverse book and I think that he gets a lot of things right about like what should a metaverse be and uh I I kind of laugh when a lot of people say that hey we’ve already tried the metaverse right it’s uh It came it went it didn’t work and it was second life right and uh uh second second life didn’t have the graphics Fidelity or the um Speedy interaction or the real-time nature of of uh movement uh to it uh that you would expect to see and so when when I hear people say that I say no the metaverse hasn’t been tried yet it’s it’s one of those things where if you cross over certain uh technology thresholds uh then you then it becomes possible and so what I would look forward to is having the equivalent of the Star Trek Holodeck where you could instantly just like that you know change from one world to another or have a world generated that to me looks like reality right I mean I can’t tell it apart from a simulation and uh or tell it apart from The Real World really and um it feels like then then we’re in a a world that could be described as a real metaverse right fantastic yeah um I I mean as a as a gamer that has spent the the vast majority of my life in gaming um you know I I do you do look at these Technologies and and you’re you know as a futurist I’m hungry for this Tech you know I’m I’m looking forward for this Tech to be able to enhance these uh gaming experiences you know um just even uh seeing things like you know as I’ve mentioned um you know Gabe Newell but the half-life uh Alex adaption adaptation into um you know the the VR space it was pretty decent you know pretty decent effort there it just it showed some real potential for for the VR space in terms of gaming that I’m I’m hugely excited about but it it it’s also um compute power capabilities you know what computers can do in terms of rendering graphics and stuff like that um you know if you look at the new Unreal stuff as you mentioned it’s been used in uh production for series like the Mandalorian and others I mean it’s get you know this stuff is getting indistinguishable from The Real World you know in terms of Graphics capability abilities it’s it’s a pretty exciting time to be alive if you’re a gamer frankly exactly yeah I agree yeah a little heartedly yeah so so what what gay what games do you play Dean in your spare time oh uh I I play a lot of shooter games I’ve played Call of Duty war zone uh and war zone two uh I uh got into uh playing that because uh it was the middle of the pandemic and there was nobody to talk to in real life uh you know and and yet I could get on and uh get into a a quad group with uh a few friends and you know we could chat with each other while we were hunting down other other teams and in war zone too in Warzone so uh so I think I spent a lot of time doing that I play each weekend with my son he lives in Australia you know and I’m either in the states or in Thailand and that’s how we hang out on the weekends together we we play in Roblox mostly um and yeah it’s uh it it keeps our relationship really strong actually so gaming is an important part of uh our our uh our family Dynamic actually yeah that’s wonderful well that’s a touching note let’s uh let’s it’s probably time for us to bring the show to an end uh Dean I want to thank you very much for joining us on the show you’ve given us a more interesting and frankly more fun view of the metaverse than several of the other guests um people talk about metaverse for productivity and work and it just doesn’t sound as much fun as the kind of game focused metaverse that you’re talking about makes that seem more plausible to me as well um how can people find you on the web where’s the best way to to find out more about what you’re writing and what games you’re playing I’m a Dean tech on Twitter and uh gamespeat.com is where a lot of my stories are as well as venturebeat.com for for Tech stories um and uh and yeah that’s uh that’s what I read for it we also uh do our uh gamesbeat Summit events in person uh every few months uh we’ve got another one coming up uh May 22nd and 23rd in Los Angeles right on all right well Dean Takashi thank you very kindly for joining us on the futurist this week I want to thank my business partner and colleague Brett King who always manages to join no matter where in the world he’s globetrotting to next our producer Kevin hershon and Elizabeth Severance and the rest of the crew at provoke media these are the folks that make the show possible we thank you very much and of course I want to thank the listeners and subscribers to the program who’ve been listening and building arts and building support for the show I’ve been getting some great feedback recently from people who’ve been listening surprising I’m getting news from people who are listening closely and they they find some of the comments contentious and they love to get into it and that’s really fun to hear about so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on socials we’d be very happy to hear from you there uh and for everyone who’s listening uh if you do enjoy the show please don’t forget to help other people find it the audience has been growing quickly and that’s really gratifying and it’s because people like you are sharing it with their friends they’re sharing it they’re reposting it they’re they’re giving us five star reviews on all the podcasting platforms and that really AIDS Discovery and makes it possible for new people to find the show we appreciate that very very much and of course every week we’ll be back with another person who’s exploring inventing defining Reinventing the future in their own terms this is the most fun project and I’m thrilled to share it with you and Brett thanks a lot for joining us and making it possible to do this show Dean it’s always a pleasure to see you thank you very much Rob thanks Fred and we will see you in the in the future
[Music] well that’s it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don’t forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the show and you can ping us anytime on Instagram and Twitter at futurist podcast for the folks that you’d like to see on the show or the questions that you’d like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we’ll see you in the future [Music]