Recent advances in motion controller technology as exhibited by Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft's Project Natal reveal a future where newer generations of gamers could play things like sports or in places like "outside."
"These technologies show that we're not far off from more active children," said futurologist Ben Carlson. "The evolution has been rapid. First controllers vibrated, then the Wiimote simulated bowling, and now Project Natal has us jumping around the living room. At this pace kids could be playing outside by 2015."
Game companies have remained quiet about any future technologies that might have kids playing outside, but one Sony engineer did hint that "things were happening." And from Microsoft, the company behind motion capture controller Project Natal, images have been circulating the Internet showing a teenager throwing a football though its authenticity has not been verified.
Carlson said a future of kids playing looks imminent, but by no means is assured. "The Earth could be destroyed by a planet-smashing asteroid, or a zombie plague could wipe out 98% of the population. I don't think we'd have to worry about kids going outside under those scenarios," he said.
Vicki Wilson of the Parents for Safety First organization said the group his worried about the impact this future technology might have on children. "It's bad enough these new contraptions have kids moving around the living room instead of sitting safely on the couch, but to actually have them moving around outside? We work tirelessly to stop the plague of skinned knees and bruised elbows, only to have something like this come around."
Wilson suspects that companies like Band-Aid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson might be helping fund research into these products. "Who else has more to gain from seeing our kids bleed?" she said.
Representatives from Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony or Burger King did not return our calls.