Cinema is dead. Long live the game. Bioshock: Infinite and the rapid evolution of gaming.

Bioshock - Revenge of the JediI’ve just completed Irrational Games’ Bioshock:Infinite, the third instalment in the Bioshock franchise. It’s not obvious at first how this title connects with the previous incarnations, but stick with it to the end and all will become clearer. Well, maybe not.

This isn’t a review as I don’t want to give any spoilers away, I just wanted to write that the state of current gaming is such that the best games, this sitting right up there with the best, are now almost as good as the best Hollywood productions on a technical and narrative front, but with the added dimension of the viewer being able to take part.

Where cinema has been attempting to draw the viewer closer to the action with pseudo-3D, games on the other hand are able to give the gamer an actual part in the action. That said, for the most part these are still linear experiences, but this is changing.

With the advent of next generation consoles coupled with ultra-fast broadband access to streaming content, the next five years of gaming will, in my opinion, eclipse the best of cinema.

Purists (and don’t get me wrong I love cinema), will argue that the experience of being in a dark room with a large screen – effectively shutting off all but the senses of sight and sound, is incredibly immersive and can’t be bettered by a small screen. However, hyper-sensory technologies are shortly to arrive such as a system for the XBox that will project scenery from a game around the room fooling your peripheral vision into believing that you are deeper in the game environment.

Mass produced 4k resolution TV is also about to go mainstream. Apple are rumoured to have a set in the wings and those who have experienced the quality say that it is so real that the effect is even better than 3D (which really just feels like flat plains layered over each other in space in any case).

Picture then your gaming self in 2015. A large 80″ 4K screen with peripheral projection in a darkened room. A high quality multi-speaker sound system, a next-gen gaming console and a $200m budget game with limitless levels streamed via 100mb broadband and a full-time staff of producers and writers adding to the ‘script’ on a regular basis.

I predict, like the decline of theatre in the wake of cinema over the last 100 years, Hollywood will move its focus toward gaming. Multiplex cinema chains will close and the medium will most likely become the niche domain of art house productions and historical re-runs.


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