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3D, cloud-based gaming and motion sensing control

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By this time next year, gaming will have made the mainstream shift to motion controlled technology started years ago by Nintendo’s Wii. Microsoft’s Kinect (formerly Natal) and the PlayStation Move will not only be making games more immersive by having players swing, jump and shoot their way through levels, but opening up gaming to a wider audience by making it less intimidating and the control system (read: arm waving) more natural and open to gaming novices.

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We’ll also see the next step in how we buy or rent the games we play. Services like OnLive and Gaikai are signing deals with mainstream publishers left and right to stream top titles direct to customers’ PCs and TVs. But these aren’t just Steam-like download services – the games run on the company’s computers and stream the results, meaning gamers won’t even have to buy a computer or a console to play the top new releases. Download services will continue to take ground from traditional games-on-disc, with handhelds like the PSP Go and premium gaming laptops like the Alienware M11x downloading all their games from the web.

But it’s not all over for the console. The PlayStation 3’s recent 3D upgrade will be embraced by more and more game developers, taking the immersion to another level. Imagine a co-op 3D game played with the PlayStation Move controller. It’s not quite a holodeck, but it’s getting pretty darn close.

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