Was it just a blink ago when the pollyanna part of the entertainment industry looked to video games and envisioned a klieg-lit bright future with Hollywood oh-so profitably working with gamers? Well, the brutal recession and other realities (the absence of hot new consoles, the rise of mobile gaming and more) have led to net profits declining again this year from 2011 in gaming, with consumers (click here for video gaming statistics) still spending $989 million total on games in August alone. But look beneath the surface: continuous technological change not only has altered expectations, it also is sowing seeds of potential for tomorrow, with some industry pundits focusing on interactive video gaming with its diverse group of players and ample elements of escapism. Augmented reality, in particular, is in the target sights of those who see an entertainment future. And so why is this guy in a recent New York Times piece wearing those funny goggles?

What’s AR?

What are the potential uses of augmented reality technology? Think of: the “holo-deck,” as imagined in the Star Trek television show and movies; military training simulations; and, of course, adult entertainment and other new features that could bring new life to Hollywood characters. This field is sure to provide many new issues for entertainment lawyers to exploit, resolve and litigate. (Click here to see a little on some of these legal issues.)

Augmented reality, of course, is based on adding dimensions of information atop a real environment. Such as? Well, look no further than depictions in pro football of the exact location of the first-down line — a graphic layered on the actual field.

Worth a look

Valve Corp., a gaming company of 300 or so, is, according to some reports, leading the way with Google in wearable computing. Launched by former Microsoft folks, Valve  has attracted financing as it makes its anti-authoritarian case for goggles and other worn gear as game-changers, boosting the creation of virtual worlds.

Google, of course, has garnered maximal attention for its push to merge the real and virtual world with devices like its glasses, which will provide information as smartphones now do, (weather reports, traffic updates, news bulletins etc. ) but in a cool new way so consumers might experience something like this.)

For gamers, the possibilities in text, graphics and color displays providing a whole new perspective has particular application in role-playing games, in which a loosely scripted plot guides you as you pretend to be your character. You, ultimately, choose from options as to how this entertainment proceeds. (Click here to learn more about role-play game  history, including the pre-video blockbuster “Dungeons & Dragons.”)