There's a lot of speculation doing the rounds about the innards of next generation consoles, right now - much frothy talk of GPU manufacturers and memory thorough-put and parallel processing. But what of the broader commercial and technological trends that will kick in over the next few years? In today's bout of deeply questionable crystal-ball-gazing, I bring five to your attention.
Hollywood and the games industry will collaborate properly
The games industry has spent much of the past decade getting the hell away from Hollywood and "broad entertainment franchises" at large, and with good reason - early stabs at crossover between films and games have been marred by an eagerness to please on the part of publishers, and a failure on the part of movie-makers to grasp what exactly makes a videogame tick, beginning with the "interactive" part.
There have been flashes of promise, however, like Andy Serkis' long collaboration with Ninja Theory, Rocksteady's handling of the Batman license, Spielberg's buddying-up with EA to make Boom Blox, and the Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. As 28 Days Later writer Alex Garland observes, the two art forms have plenty in common - videogames have made a habit of borrowing directorial techniques, production values and subject matters from films, and latterly, films have begun to return the favour, as in the Scott Pilgrim flick and Sucker Punch.
You get the sense that it's just a matter of time. Where elderly producers and directors scratch their heads over the antics of those damn fool kids and their home format Space Invaders machines, today's rising film-makers were young when videogames were young, and understand their workings at an intimate level. Hence, for instance, the recently announced partnership between Star Trek reboot director JJ Abrams and Valve Corporation, which may result in a Portal or Half-Life film.
Meanwhile, a new generation of actors have cut their teeth on videogame projects - notaries include action hero everyman Nolan North and Dead Space's Gunner Wright. Inasmuch as its possible to pin any broad trend on the fortunes of individual franchises, Disney's Skylanders-inspired Infinity project could be crucial - it incorporates all the animation giant's licenses within a single game, tied to collectable figurines.