Interactive Stories. I'm not talking sandboxes where the only story is, "Guild X captured the fort! Corporation Y built a ship!" I'm talking about having player impact on the direction of a story AND still having powerful narrative that feels as good as "authored".
- 5 Years: We get a fantastic digital version of pen-and-paper campaigns for small groups. Player Impact + Good Story. Imagine going on an adventure with your friends, where you literally never know what will happen next, because it's being written as you go.
- 10 Years: AI advances to the point where it can take the role of a "Game Master". Imagine a small, living, breathing world where you can jump in an adventure in a persistent world, never know what's happening next. A small MMO with infinite story. The AI makes it up as you go, keeping things interesting, catering to your personal style, weaving your story into the world and with other people's stories. Join up with friends and have meaningful adventures with real consequences.
Games are great as... games, but they kind of fail when it comes to story. Games are still pretty young -- they're still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. Stories + Player Impact is kind of where I see the natural evolution.