The video game industry is growing more than ever – thanks to the software developers who are dedicating their time and energy to create good games and the hardware manufacturers who are pushing their systems to the limit. Since the introduction of the first video game – Pong – in the late 1950s, programmers have been going out of their comfort zones and trying out new things that would make better games. The improvement of computer systems decades after the introduction of Pong allowed software developers to create realistic graphics, making the video games of the present more engaging. In 2021, new video game trends are expected to change the industry for the better. Here are some of the most popular trends in the video gaming industry that you should not miss.
In 2016, The Pokemon Company launched a mobile application called Pokemon Go, and it was a massive hit. Pokemon Go used the technology known as augmented reality, in which it combines the real world with the virtual world. As of 2019, Pokemon Go has been downloaded one billion times – which means that one-seventh of the entire global population is busy catching their favorite Pokemon through AR. Experts agree that the popularity of the Pokemon franchise and the gimmick through AR made the app successful. With the success of Pokemon Go, thousands of video game developers are now trying out new games that can be enjoyed through AR technology.
Virtual reality enables the player to be transported in a virtual world with the use of VR hardware. Many game developers are making their products VR-friendly because the demand for these games is increasing. Oculus Rift and PSVR are some of the most popular hardware that enables the player to be in virtual reality. Experts agree that VR has the largest potential of becoming a massive hit in the future, as more companies are now developing hardware units that can support VR gaming. VR uses the sight and hearing senses of an individual to render a realistic environment, making the games more exciting and engaging.
Inclusivity refers to the diversity seen in games for the last few years. It is still a growing trend, and game developers try to put more diverse characters in their storylines. The Sims 4 can be considered as one of the most inclusive games in the industry today because it gives the players the freedom to create their own avatar with varying skin colors and other features. Mainline games are also providing the players with an option to customize their characters, and it appeals so much to the community. The trend of inclusivity will still continue as the world becomes more accepting of different cultures and preferences.
Incremental console upgrades
Another trend in the video game industry is to release incremental console upgrades every year or two. In the past, when a console is sold, players would no longer expect further upgrades. These units can last for up to ten years on the market without any changes. However, everything changed in the present when hardware manufacturers, like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, released incremental console upgrades for their products. Every year or two, a brand new version of the current game system is released, with features such as longer battery life becoming a major reason why people are buying the upgraded versions of consoles.
According to a recent study, more than 2.5 billion people have smartphones. This huge market prompted software developers to focus on the development of applications that are mobile-friendly. This led to a brand new genre of gaming – mobile gaming. One of the most popular trends in the creation of a mobile-friendly version of a game and making it popular across the world through downloads and promotions. More games are being developed for smartphones, and developers are seeing it as an opportunity for them to earn money. At present, almost half of all video games are developed for smartphones, and the mobile gaming industry has an estimated value of $60 billion.
Leveling up the hype for upcoming games is becoming more common these days. Trailers for new games are being shown at E3 and other related gaming conventions. Announcements are being uploaded through online channels like Nintendo Direct. A lot of websites are publishing information about the new games, and YouTubers are increasing the hype by sharing theories about the upcoming games. Increasing the hype for an upcoming game is making the players more excited, and when it goes viral, the company behind the games has a huge chance of promoting it to new players, increasing their target market. Expect more hype building in the future as developers see it as an effective way of promoting their games.
Independent developers under the limelight
Indie games, or games that were published by independent studios, are becoming more popular these days. Indie game developers are partnering with the larger names in the industry to give their creations a chance. It is a great way of promoting the artistry of all the people involved in the project, and the interest from the public is increasing every time. Indie games are fun, and they offer new formulas on how people can enjoy video games. Without the indie game developers, we will be stuck with the same old formula. The good thing with the Indie game developers is that they are not afraid to take risks, and they love to experiment with new things.
Apple is trying to enter the video game industry by introducing Apple TV. The tech giant is working with indie game developers to put their games into their platform. While Apple TV is still small compared to the industry mainstreams like the PlayStation, XBOX, and Nintendo Switch, the tech giant is dedicated to improving the quality of the hardware they produce to entice more people in playing games through Apple TV. This is one of the trends that people should be watching out for because no one knows if Apple’s plan would succeed or not. However, they have a lot of tricks under their sleeve, and we are unsure if they have a back-up plan.
Game streaming is another trend that is shaking the video game industry. Video game streaming allows players who have a device connected to the internet to browse for games that can be played remotely. With streaming, there is a data center somewhere that renders the game for the players. This would make gaming more portable than ever, and many video game companies believe that it is the future of gaming; that’s why the likes of Nvidia, Microsoft, and Sony are now investing in this trend and see how the public would accept it.
Feeling First Design
This is a brand new trend in the gaming industry, but game developers are quickly picking up their mechanics. With the feeling first design, game developers would use design elements that invoke a certain emotion. It could mean correct color combinations or another approach that would make the game more engaging and enjoyable.
The current statistics of the video game industry
After learning about the latest trends in the video game industry, you might be wondering about the current statistics of the video game industry. Here are some of the most important facts about the industry in 2021:
Video game revenues keep on increasing every year, and the countries that contributed to the majority of video game revenues are the following: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Japan. People from these countries spent the largest when it comes to video games, and it is a viable market for those who would like to open up a video game business. In the United States alone, the industry is expected to grow further, with an estimated worth of $90 billion. 80% of all revenues made in the American video game industry came from software sales.
The number of people who play video games rose to 2.5 billion, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and the development of new mobile games.
Tencent generated the highest amount of revenue in the industry. They beat other developers like Riot, Blizzard, and Activision. Tencent is a Chinese tech giant, and in 2017, Asia-Pacific became the largest gaming market in the world. The region generated $51.2 billion worth of revenue. This is an impressive feat, and that is the reason why many game developers are targeting Asian players because of the opportunity that it can give them.
When it comes to the platforms used, the majority of gamers are still using a personal computer or a laptop, at 47%. The next in line are mobile phone users, garnering 34% of the industry. By the year 2021, it is expected that mobile gaming will become bigger, representing more than half of the revenues generated by the video game industry.
The rising number of mobile phone gamers has also affected the percentage of developers who are working on other platforms. As of 2019, around 53% of all developers were focusing on a game that will be launched on a personal computer. On the other hand, 38% of all developers are saying that they are developing games intended for portable devices, like smartphones and tablets. Nintendo Switch represented only 3% of the data, with developers stating that Nintendo has a stricter policy when it comes to software development.
With these figures, experts agree that one thing is certain – mobile gaming will take over the industry in the years to come, and video game giants must think of ways on how they can keep their performance on track without sacrificing the quality of their hardware units or software programs.
The video game industry is changing rapidly as newer technological advances are being introduced annually. The industry is growing exponentially, and household brands like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are benefiting from the rising number of people who are developing an interest in gaming. However, they should also try out new ways how they can evolve as the mobile gaming industry is lurking behind the corner, growing rapidly.
The video game industry has come a long way, thanks to the developers who are working harder to achieve these new feats.