WHERE in the Future?

Where In The Future is a foresight project examining the future of location-based services in gaming. With the emergence of locative gamification players like Foursquare; and new locative strategies and tactics from social media titans like Twitter, Facebook, and Google; this space has seen tremendous  growth and evolution over the past few years. Understanding how this evolution might continue is of tremendous value to the designers of games built around location-based services.

OCAD University Graduate Researchers Trevor Haldenby and Gabe Sawhney have drawn methods from the disciplines of strategic foresight and scenario planning to provide a vision of the trends, drivers, and design patterns that could dominate the location-based gaming market in 5 years time. By understanding the ways in which their industry and audience might change, social game designers and developers can use the deliverables of this project to make decisions that support a diversity of possible outcomes. In doing so, designers can strengthen their competitive advantage, and invest in the development of smarter strategies.

The goal of Where In The Future is not to predict tomorrow's markets as much as it is to cast the net of possibility wide, illuminating possible futures that may spell opportunity or despair for the designers of location-based games. By pluralizing the future, we can better explore and consider options for future development in this exciting space.

 Scenarios, Strategy, and the Strategy Processwritten by Kees van der Heijden and published by the Global Business Network provides an excellent overview of foresight methodology

Foresight Project

Proceeding through three main stages - Horizon Scanning and Trend Extrapolation, Foresight Scenarios, and Implications - this project was intended to draw out observations and make future-facing strategic recommendations relevant to designers of location-based games like Toronto's Albedo Informatics.

  • TREND DECK - a library identifying and exploring the implications of significant changes related to location-based gaming, across the STEEP framework of Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Political factors.
  • FORESIGHT SCENARIOS - stories that emerge from taking two of the most critical uncertainties in location-based services and gaming, and contrasting them against each other. Out of this contrast come four written Scenarios - each one told from the perspective of an individual user, and set in a world of 2017 with a unique mix of social values and dominant locative technology platforms.
  • IMPLICATIONS FOR ACTION - strategic recommendations for today's location-based game developers that arise out of comparisons between the business models of today and the possible worlds of tomorrow.


Materials and publications reviewed over the course of this project have been collected in the library of a group on the academic social bookmarking service Mendeley. 100 papers, articles, and proceedings covering trending subject matter related to location-based information services, gaming, and experimental interfaces have been added to the FedDev Research with Albedo Informatics group.

Reflections on signals relevant to location-based system and gaming trends have been collected on Tumblr for easy access. Where In The Future's Tumblr blog is populated with links of interest and lengthier reflections on the design of compelling information interfaces.

Where in the future logo
Process of Where in the Future?
Monday, March 5, 2012 - 8:15pm