The AR thing - Back in the 1980s, there was a rather famous book (paperback, linear) that contained clues about a hidden treasure. You would then go to real-life locations to find more clues, etc. That sort of thing could easily translate to AR.
Likewise, that “Blob” game from the early internet could be ported to AR precisely because you could play it anywhere and wouldn’t require digging up people’s gardens, etc.
Crypto/NFTs - While (almost) everyone in the “West” is against these for ideological reasons, everyone I know in Africa (particularly Kenya, for interesting reasons that I think relate to MPesa) and Asia is quite enthusiastic about 'em.
If an IF game were made today on the 'chain, it would be what they called P2E (Play to Earn). There’s already a “dungeon crawler” game (more RPG than IF) where you grind and then sell off loot or higher XP characters in NFT format. Be pretty easy to convert that to a more text-based IF format.
However, that being said, I think IF’s “breakthrough” in NFTs will probably be something a bit more literary in style/tone. Of course, I’m probably wrong
On a general note, I think the future will be more about watching celebrities playing games. As big as the “gaming” business is, I think there’s an audience of watchers but not participants that’s even larger (the way more people watch than play it).
I’m actually shocked there ISN’T already a TV show about celebrities (or their kids, trophy wives, etc.) trying to get out of escape rooms, which is a kind of live-action roleplaying (LARPing) of an IF structured game.
“Escape rooms” (even for regular folks) aren’t generally thought of as IF, but I can think of a dozen or more parser games that are, at their heart, just escape room type games, especially the ones known as “one-room” games. And escape rooms (real life) always include some kind of reading and textual clues to solve.
Oh, one more thing I completely forgot - I’m also shocked that there isn’t already an SMS (text msg) IF game out there. With Twilio, it’s certainly possible to do one right this minute in certain markets (like the USA).
Heck, if I had a bit more free time and money to spare, I’d design it myself!