Are you into games? You might have noticed some shifting paradigms in the production and reception of new releases over the past few years. It’s true that the industry is undergoing a revolution, and it’s happening in some unexpected ways. New technology is giving way to some incredible innovations, and a rising level of consumer awareness and participation is beginning to even out the playing field. So, what are some of the trends we can expect in the coming year?
Indie Games are Redefining and Revolutionizing the Industry
Millions of people play games, and that number is expected to continue rising as accessibility reaches more and more avid gamers across the globe. It’s anticipated that the already astronomical revenue from video games will reach $123.5 billion in 2019. However, this industry is like any other wildly successful venture —to keep being wildly successful, it needs to adapt to consumer demand.
Today, that means anticipating consumer interests. And consumer interests are changing. That’s partly because of new tech as well as the vast field of potential that is waiting out there in the world of development is slowly beginning to come to a head. We want a shake-up. We want something that piques and holds our interest like the ability to make decisions. Indie developers are more likely to help us do that, with branched and non-linear storylines.
It’s more about the experience than anything else. It’s more than the mundane results of hundreds of well-funded developers collaborating on multimillion-dollar projects (here’s looking at you, a seemingly endless stream of new Call of Duty releases), consumers want a revamp of the gameplay itself. Big brands won’t put an end to the same old thing they’ve been doing because it’s brought in a high profit so far. But it won’t forever. We’ll soon see a shift in “who’s who” of production, with Indie developers gradually becoming more popular.
The Future of Graphics is Bright (and Hyper-Realistic)
The latest and greatest in graphics comes from NVIDIA, who will release their new ray-tracing graphics cards in late September. These graphics cards, which use ray-tracing technology and Turing architecture, provide the potential to hyper-realize the graphics on games in real time more than we’ve ever seen before.
Are you curious about what ray-tracing can do? Check out this video featuring ray-tracing in real time to familiarize yourself with the future.
That may not seem like much until you realize that it’s the biggest leap in graphics technology we’ve had in a long time. Developers will be snatching up these cards and using them to build worlds unlike any we’ve ever seen before. What does this mean for players? Incredible realism in a game could elicit a more intense physical and emotional response from gamers. It could also shift the focus on the kinds of games we like to play and provide the backdrop for a different type of storyline. It’s too early to tell for sure, but the potential for ray-tracing is massive and looming on the horizon.
Arcade Games are Coming Back Better Than Ever
Of course, not all developers will be hopping on the ray-tracing bandwagon. There are those who still prefer our pixelated past and for a good reason — arcade games are growing in popularity among gamers, especially those longing for the nostalgia of a different era. Don’t believe it? New releases like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate beg to differ. This classic won’t digress too much from the previous games in its series. It’s set to keep the basics the same. But as the sixth release, Smash Bros. Ultimate will keep players on its toes with new abilities, characters, and stages.
It isn’t only wistful video game developers longing for the early 80s who are hopping on the arcade bandwagon. Casino game developers have started to do it as well. Although this isn’t an entirely new thing, we’re beginning to see classically-styled games like Starburst Slots from Wink Bingo come back into fashion in a big way, with more players becoming interested in this throwback — and it does have its perks. Though Starburst offers a bit of the old school with a traditional space-themed slot game, they do this in a new way. Ultra-modern graphics are combined with two exciting bonus rounds as well as scatter and wild symbols, keeping players interested, activated and coming back for more.
Alternate Realities That Won’t Quit
Games that use the material world around as a platform are (let’s face it) genius, and potentially quite lucrative. We saw as much with Pokémon GO. But lately, it seems like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have quite literally fallen off the face of the Earth. That won’t last too long. The reason for this is not the goldmine that these games could end up being, though that may be the goal for developers.
As stated above, consumers are becoming more interested in the experience of gameplay, along with the storyline. Alternative realities offer that tenfold. Any experience that advertises immersion (such as VR) will prosper under these new standards. For example, there are VR haunted houses, vacations and casinos waiting to happen — let alone VR video gameplay, which will turn out to be one of the top trends of 2019. And with the change in platform, expect a change in the story. Instead of continuous, linear storylines, expect some creative license within your game of choice, both with alternate reality games and in traditional single and multiplayer.
Gaming Trends Going Out of Style Quick
For every new trend, a trend of the past must fade from existence. And there are several that we, along with gamers the world over, are more than happy to see fly out the window. The world will no longer cater to microtransactions and paid DLC. The reason is that consumers are gaining more control over the market — remember how EA got slaughtered in the press after the release of Star Wars Battlefront II? They lost $3.1 billion in shareholder value (it didn’t stop them from continuing the practice, however).
But people aren’t eagerly awaiting the release of any new EA games. They’ve spoken, and CD Projekt Red has heard them. CD’s upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated in history. They’ve learned from EA’s mistakes and been quite vocal about not including microtransactions, and this good publicity is part of what will make the game so successful. They’re ready to give consumers what they demand, be it personality or gameplay.
As players gain more control over the market, we can expect more organic and focus-driven games, with more complicated storylines that call for players to make decisions. The monolith development companies won’t disappear, but they’ll start to share the stage with innovative indie companies, and that’s how it should be. We’ll get more of what we want in 2019, and the market will continue to flourish because of it.