In celebration of Polygon’s 10th anniversary, we invited some of our favorite people in games and entertainment to predict where we’ll be in 10 years. But before I drop the mic, I’d like to make the most of my role as MC of the festivities and share some personal predictions.
These particular predictions are my best guesses for where pop culture will be in 10 years. They hint at the problems we artists will address, the stories Polygon will pursue, and the world we will share. Best case scenario, I’m there and Future Chris gets a raise. At worst, I miss a lot and we all forget that it ever happened.
Either way, you’ll learn the trail that Polygon will be treading for the next decade ahead.
A popular Twitch streamer will run for Congress and win
It’s easy. We will do it unquestionably see former Twitch streamers stepping up to public office – leveraging their fame and years of practice to excite the crowds. I look forward to the first debate featuring a Gen Z politician who has years of experience in political debate gasping for air, while reading the chat, playing Fortnite, hooking up with mattress companies online, and learning about Pericles from YouTubers making the most of their Ivy League degrees. I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the stage.
Your favorite things will be unknown to 99% of the world
The internet and smartphones have already made it easier than ever to create, share and find art. Over the next 10 years, we will witness an unprecedented accumulation of Things, to the point that entire subcultures will be invisible to us. A million people could be obsessed with Vtubers teaching future Vtubers how to program or a heavy metal drummer who dresses and sings like Toad, and yet the rest of the world will be completely oblivious to this subculture never being plucked from the heap by their algorithm.
Anime Will Push Superheroes From The Top Of Pop Culture Mountain
Why not? Video games and comics have been treated as pariahs of pop culture, only for this perception to fuel a generation of artists and fans seeking validation and pushing mediums through evolution at the speed of light.
Game consoles won’t be dead, but everyone will have a video game streaming subscription
At the time of Polygon’s launch, tech publicists were bombarding our team with announcements guaranteeing that the age of the video game console would be over any minute, usurped by the cloud age. Streaming video games turned out to be infinitely more difficult than anyone guessed. Even Google couldn’t make it work, despite investing a lot of money and talent into the problem. Microsoft has made significant progress, granting streaming access to subscribers of its most expensive Game Pass tier, but even the Xbox team has scrapped plans for a streaming-only gaming device. We will continue to see game streaming spread as an app on phones, streaming sticks, and smart TVs. But with high-end gaming hardware continuing to find new audiences — from the Steam Deck to the thousand-dollar graphics cards that power ray tracing — we won’t see hardware disappear this decade. Or maybe even this century.
Your go-to streaming app will be ultra-niche – and save us endless scrolling
Entertainment companies will continue to consolidate, and yet they will face exponentially greater competition from, well, literally everything. Our phones have made it easier to access once-hard-to-reach pockets of media, like reading translated manga the same day it was published in Japan. Titans like Netflix and Twitter will face fewer goliaths but battle for relevance against hundreds, if not thousands, of boutique services that are intentionally smaller, more creatively nimble, and better able to target their audiences. more and more micro-interests. Shudder, Crunchyroll, and Criterion Channel are just the start.
Polygon will be more relevant than ever
A bit of positive thinking on my part, but hey, I think our record warrants a healthy dose of optimism in a media landscape not known for such rosy predictions.
Ten years ago, we followed the push of gaming through the Gamergate gauntlet, followed by the medium’s rise into mainstream pop culture. As more voices were heard, our expertise expanded across youth culture. In the late 2010s, we warned of entertainment companies bundling into a Disney-dedicated Katamari. We’ve invested in streaming curation beyond the industrial agricultural realm of Netflix and into the fertile ground of anime, horror, and international film. We also fiercely advocated for inclusivity, passion, and thoughtfulness in fandoms that had a low track record for tolerance and new ideas.
Every day, we help our audience learn, grow, and get the most out of what brings them joy. And we try to do the same for ourselves. If we systematically do both, I have no doubt that we will still be here in 2032. What will Polygon be? Now, it’s impossible for me to guess. We launched a video game site and look at us now. We evolve with the culture, otherwise we fall into insignificance. And 10 years, my friends, is plenty of time for us to change. And change. And change again.
Surely you have your own predictions for the next decade. I’d love to hear them in the comments and on Twitter, TikTok and wherever you find us. Not sure where to start thinking about the future? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Here’s a tip I lean on whenever I’m anxious and unsure of what’s next. It will seem comically simple, but the results are indisputable.
If you really want to make a likely prediction about pop culture in 2032, or any topic, start with two guarantees and build from there. First, people will always exist and they will demand to be seen. Democracy could be on the brink. Our ribs will almost certainly have grown a few inches. But society will continue to kick that giant boulder through a generation that will make the most of the mess entrusted to it. Second, some people will do things, some will admire things, and most will do a bit of both.
Ask yourself, where do these two ideas meet? Where are people fighting to be heard? To create change? Fill the world with ideas, provocations and beauty? This is where you will find the future of our culture.
We survive. We find pleasure and grace where we can. The next generation picks up where we left off or tears down and builds with the rubble. The cycle has been stable for millennia and will persist until the ice caps melt or a comet thrusts us into the sun.
Until then, you should keep visiting Polygon.com. We will be there for you.