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A year in review and the future of the Meta - 2013-14

2013 has been a year of technological advancement with the push towards the social interaction between devices users and each other being the forefront of many of this year’s releases, be they gaming consoles that allow users to watch each other play, to cameras that have on-line share functions and chat. The push towards social progression is one that is getting deeper and will push the Meta scene in brave new directions. It is ironic somewhat that the meaning of Meta or μετά is after when the push towards the previous is still as evident. Technology that does not build off the principles of the past cannot realistically have a future; we are at a point where mobile phones core functions that of enabling long scale communications has changed with an increasing number of users purchasing these devices for other means. An increasing number using them for on-line communicative channels, the message is the same if what blurred. 

This year was the first time I have experienced a cross device communicative experience (i.e. one that uses a mobile device alongside a larger device to enhance the experience, without the need for wires or reliance on each other) and I found it a unique event, one that has made me think about the scope of technology as a tool to engage users and find it one full of potential. The idea of transmedia is not a new one but is one that has until recent years been harder to obtain, nowadays with the skill of users increasing and the number of devices available it is rapidly becoming a field anyone with some fore thought can enter. However, it is the use of Meta communication i.e. that which pushes past boundaries of technology whereby the two seem indistinguishable that is difficult to successfully pull off. 

An example of a Meta experience in this case a game is that of the Assassins Creed franchise, the game has spread past that of a game to a series of books, on-line experiences and now even a film in the works with its latest incarnation placing you the player as the titular hero in the real world setting. It even pokes fun at itself and the industry it’s in by having the player work at what is essentially a large metaphor for Ubisoft the publishers themselves in a game development experience company. It is important I feel that games, movies and even books take this as an example of successful meta lure, by parodying itself and real world situations it makes the story more inviting, by giving the user something to do be it an on-line treasure hunt as it were makes them feel part of something greater and rewards them via their dedication to their cause. 2013 I feel was a bold step forwards for the Meta and transmedia fields and one that will only grow throughout the coming years. It is up to us be it as developers, consumers or creative’s as a whole to push this field forwards and show how by connecting with each other and pushing past the boundaries something special can occur. 

Things to remember / aim towards in the New Year:

  • Consider the demographic audiences and don’t reward just those with the biggest incomes
  • To include is not to exclude!
  • A good narrative / story does not = a successful campaign
  • Big budgets do not mean better experiences rather explore and continue down the social paths as word of mouth beats word of wallet.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and have some views on the matter, 2014 will be a big year for me one where the need to get a job will over-ride nearly everything else. 2013 has been a year of reflection but one of changes for me and if it was not for the love of my friends, family and girlfriend doting on me would be one that I may not have pushed past. Do not forget if you ever want to discuss any ideas, talk about anything technical or design related I am available. 

Hope you all had a fantastic 2013 and here is to a brilliant, superb 2014. Go get them creative’s!

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