The gaming industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and eager to integrate new technologies. Technologies like AR and VR became popular in gaming first even though it wasn’t their core application. There is now more money being pushed into the industry than ever, and studios are working day and night to outdo the competition. This means that gamers eventually win, and get to enjoy experiences that could once only be dreamed of. Let’s take a look at a few trends to look forward to in game design.
AR made a quick splash with Pokémon, but it surprisingly trickled out pretty fast and there hasn’t been an AR game worth mentioning since. What Pokémon Go did show, however, is that there’s a genuine market for these games. But hardware limitations prevented studios from offering games that were on a par with regular titles. Games either had bad graphics or didn’t run as smoothly as they should. With advances in mobile hardware and 5G, these games will be able to be more performant and offer a seamless experience.
Virtual Reality Goes Mainstream
Every year was supposed to be the year of VR pretty much since the Oculus Rift came out. But limited titles and prohibitive prices prevented it from reaching the level of popularity people expected. Now that Nintendo has shown that you can create a viable VR device with nothing but a mobile monitor and a cardboard headset, we can expect others to follow suit.
Again, advances in mobile hardware are what will ultimately push VR gaming development forward. Consumers are more likely to buy in knowing that they can play with nothing but a simple headset and their phone. This should push more developers to get into the genre as building games for mobiles is still much less resource-intensive than for devices many developers are still unfamiliar with, like the Rift.
Diversity is a word that is often being thrown around, but it has to be admitted that the gaming industry lacked diversity for many years. Fans are being more vocal about it, and studios are trying to include more diverse casts for their games. Games like Valorant did a great job at including characters from different backgrounds without making it feel like pandering. Studios are also hiring consultants to make sure that their games are culturally accurate to avoid backlash for misrepresentation.
More Live Play
The last two years have been great for the online gambling industry, and they’re also constantly trying to evolve to satisfy players and reach new ones. With many people being forced to transition to online play, we can expect more online casinos to focus on offering live options to players.
One example is Play Live casino. Play Live branded itself as the number one destination for players who enjoy a genuine casino experience from wherever they are. What separates them is their massive selection and dedication to offering a better live playing experience. They have over 1300 games in their selection, which is way above average for these types of casinos, and we can expect many more in the space to follow their model.
It seems like the 7-year rigid upgrade cycle that was common in the gaming industry is officially dead now. And it was to be expected with how fast mobiles and PCs are evolving. PC players have been laughing at console players for playing on outdated hardware for years, and many console gamers hated the fact that they couldn’t upgrade their consoles like PCs.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Microsoft led the way with the Xbox One S and the Scorpio, which both feature software upgrades. Sony also announced that it will release an upgrade for the PS4, and we can expect this to become the norm in the future.
Mobile and Hybrid Gaming
Mobile gaming is no longer on the fringes of the industry. Companies like Nintendo releasing mobile games like Super Mario One and Mario Kart Tour shows a turn in mobile gaming. Studios will be putting more money on online games which will attract more players, which will turn into more investments.
Games that integrate mobile devices and stationary consoles will also become more popular. Nintendo was again a frontrunner with the Switch, and like everything Nintendo does, we can expect others to try to find ways to make their version. Sony is working on a new mobile console and we can rest assured that it will be integrable with the PS4. These could be games that can be played on multiple devices seamlessly or games that would have features that require you to use your mobile phone or device.
Retro platformers are here to stay. These games are lightweight and appeal to both new and nostalgic players. These don’t require many resources, making them indie-friendly. The Switch has made its bread and butter from the genre, and it’s perfect for mobile players as they don’t require much commitment and can be played on virtually any device.
These are all trends that we can expect to see materialise over the next year in gaming. Some of these could completely change the idea of what gaming is.