Shh, don’t tell: The video game industry has come a long way since the early days of blocky pixels, bleeps, bloops, arcade classics and simple 8-bit adventures. Today, top interactive entertainment picks offer immersive experiences, cutting-edge graphics, and engaging narratives that rival those offered by traditional media alternatives. Being frequent industry consultants and keynote speakers, as we often remind clients, the future of video games promises to bring even more innovation and excitement to players around the world. But what kinds of entertainment will the future deliver? Here are a few interesting hypotheticals to contemplate.

To kick things off, it’s clear that the advent of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies has opened up new possibilities for immersive gaming experiences. While VR places players in a fully digital environment, AR overlays digital elements onto the real world using digital pop-ups, creating a seamless blend of both. As extended reality (XR) devices – which support these technologies – become more affordable and accessible, we can expect these technologies to become a growingly commonplace part of the gaming experience, offering unparalleled levels of immersion and interactivity.

In case you hadn’t heard either, cloud gaming, also known as game streaming, allows players to access video games on-demand without the need for a dedicated console or high-powered gaming PC. By leveraging the power of remote data centers, cloud gaming services like NVIDIA GeForce Now and Xbox’s cloud gaming technologies, users can stream games directly to their devices, with all processing done in the cloud. This technology has the potential to make gaming more accessible than ever before, allowing players to enjoy high-quality experiences on a wide range of devices – including lower-powered devices that wouldn’t normally be able to run advanced game titles supported by cloud offerings.

eSports, or competitive gaming, has also exploded in popularity over the past decade, transforming video games from a casual pastime into a professional sport with millions of fans and lucrative prize pools. As the industry continues to grow, we you’ll see more investment in infrastructure, such as dedicated eSports arenas and training facilities, as well as increased media coverage and mainstream acceptance. The future of video games will likely see the lines between traditional sports and eSports blur even further, as competitive gaming continues to gain legitimacy and cultural significance.

On another front, cross-platform play allows gamers to play together regardless of the device they are using, breaking down the barriers between different gaming ecosystems. As it becomes more commonplace, developers will continue to push social integration and community-driven experiences as top selling points. For example, future video games may increasingly offer shared game worlds, collaborative storytelling, and integrated social media platforms that allow players to connect and engage with one another like never before.