2017 predictions: the apps we’ll use and the games we’ll play

In the latest instalment of our week-long look at what Microsoft UK’s leaders believe will happen in 2017, we turn to apps and games.

Lee Schuneman, head of Lift London, focuses on digital reality technologies and how they can be used to help us push forward healthcare and education; while Harvey Eagle, at Xbox, explains why gaming will play an important role in the technology sector this year.

Expanding how we engage with our apps opens up new opportunities

Lee Schuneman, Studio Head, Lift London

Apps have traditionally been strong in a number of key areas, including organisation, retail, entertainment and social. Over the next year the trend of enabling more natural input – touch, pen and dial – will continue, not just in mobile form factors but also into desktop PC territory, and that will have a transformative impact on the types of apps that use them.

This breadth of input means growth in areas such as creative work, productivity and teamwork. This is interesting because it will unlock everyone’s potential to interact with computers in a universal way, no matter the experience, and at the same time pushes professional creatives to work faster and better. It’s this blurring of accessible creativity and productivity that offers up the most excitement.

Emerging digital reality technologies (virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality) will continue to have an impact on the consciousness of the computing sector. Over the coming year the release of more (and cheaper) hardware will open up opportunities for app developers to take advantage of the emerging technology. These new non-entertainment apps have the opportunity to transport us to another reality and augment the way we interact with products and services.

This could have real-world implications in any number of areas from education and medicine, to engineering and manufacturing: imagine the possibilities of being able to virtually interact with digitised cancer cells, or IoT-enabled electric vehicle components. These apps will take baby steps at first (and in some ways mimic the old interaction models), but then develop further new interaction models and purposes that will become the new standard.

Gamers will become the new superstars

Harvey Eagle, Xbox UK Marketing Director

An aspect of gaming that really boomed in 2016 was the continued explosion in eSports, with big mainstream media brands eager to become involved in the broadcasting of professional tournaments. Next year, expect to see the growth of grassroots eSports tournaments and leagues at a local level alongside the continued proliferation of professional tournaments. Similarly, the popularity of game streaming has exploded in the past few years, with the likes of Twitch, YouTube and Beam; Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Beam will provide more choice for how gamers can watch and interact with their favourite gaming streams.



4K gaming will continue to gain traction. With an expected three million 4K-enabled TVs in people’s homes by the end of 2016, new, more powerful games consoles such as Project Scorpio will arrive in 2017 to deliver true 4K gaming experiences.

Finally, we’ll see more young teens enter the PC gaming space, as some make the transition from playing games like Minecraft on a tablet while others are growing up watching their gaming heroes compete for huge prizes playing games like League of Legends and DotA 2.


Tomorrow, Stuart Aston, UK National Security Officer, looks at cyber-security