PC: 2009

3D is ready

The problem with our monitors is that there’s no depth. No matter how good images look on screen, they’re always flat. Now nVidia and other manufacturers of 3D cards have perfected a driver trick that allows games to deliver true three-dimensional gaming. You’ll need a special monitor and silly glasses, along with a high-spec graphics card (the technology has to draw the frame twice to produce the 3D effect). But that’s it, and it’s compatible with 100% of PC games without the need for re-coding. The 3D revolution will be here sooner than you realise. Expect your rich mate to buy into the technology by the end of the year. It’ll be mainstream by the end of 2009.

Is that a PC in your pocket?

PCs are getting smaller and faster, with mobile phone-sized PCs capable of excellent 3D performance scarily soon. nVidia were showing off a mobile phone that had a GeForce 6 level card built in alongside a fast processor and gigabytes of flash memory storage. The result is a phone capable of playing Quake III and encoding high-definition video. Why would I want to play Quake III on a phone, you ask? You probably don’t, and won’t ever, but it shows the potential for reducing the size of your games-capable PC. Expect laptops the size of teabags by 2010.

Games are for everyone

We’re used to PC gamers producing better games than developers - just look at the mod communities. More than ever, the industry is pushing game design and development tools at ordinary people. EA has launched their SimsCarnivalsite, a suite of simple design tools that let players create quizzes, simple shoot-’em-ups and more complicated text adventures.

It sits alongside the likes ofKongregateandNewgroundsas a place where anyone can create a game and earn a cut of the cash made from adverts. Desktop Tower Defense, the cute strategy game hosted on Kongregate, has been the talk of the internet. The thousands of dollars it’s earning its creator Paul Preece (it was his debut) has inspired him to start his own games development company. If he can do it, why can’t we?