Pascal Luban, the general manager of The Game design Studio is writing a series about "megatrends" in gaming. It's interesting to see how much Internet connectivity has brought to the world of gaming and how so much of the future is based on the need to be connected.
Megatrend I - The necessity of increasing the commercial life span of games
At the core of the capability to increase commercial lifespan is Internet connectivity. The ability to download new content or play against others online extends the lifespan and the potential audiences.
Megatrend II - The emergence of fast gaming, and games relying on micropayments
Fast gaming aligns with casual gaming wherein the player is making a minimal investment for immediate return. Think flash games or widgets.
Regarding micropayments, I'm not convinced anyone has entirely figured out how to deal with them. There is no PayPal for video games, and while some social applications have been successful with micropayments such as buying friends on Facebook, it's not clear that users want or need the function delivered in that manner.
Megatrend III - Increasingly believable universes
Luban points out several areas where we'll see innovation. I would suspect that the immediate limitations are on the consoles/PCs themselves at the moment. Though it's hard to say how much more graphic power will be available over the next few years.
Included will be real-time impact of atmospheric effects, automatic integration of character animation with the environment, and completely interactive environments.
Overall, there are some interesting trends emerging as video games continue to blur the online/offline world of game play and interaction.