It was a rollercoaster ride, with companies like Blizzard having gone through a lot of controversy, Anthem unfortunately being a complete flop, and Google Stadia being met with a shaky reception upon release. Nevertheless, 2019 was still a great year for gaming, with technological advancements introducing some major changes. The year also saw a good number of exciting new titles as well as emerging products like new graphics cards and CPUs from AMD.
As 2020 begins, technological advancements are expected to continue rapidly changing the industry. The year is expected to have gaming trends of its own, and mistakes are also expected to happen, mostly as part of growing pains with some big releases people are looking forward to.
As early as now, the new year is already proving to be huge for the gaming industry. There has been a wave of new games to welcome 2020, with related technologies also having been put forward. Let’s take a closer look at the gaming trends that are worth keeping an eye out for this year.
Mobile and Handheld Gaming to Continue Rising
They may not be as immersive or detailed as other types of games, but mobile games hold the advantage of convenience, which is why they are expected to keep growing in popularity. Convenient gaming has become a trend seen all over the world and across online gambling operators. Online casinos have even begun to either create mobile versions of their sites or make their existing websites mobile-friendly. This has made mobile gaming a lot more entertaining, which made it even more popular.
In the United Kingdom, it has been found that the mobile gaming sector has become so popular that it accounted for 39% of the gross gambling yield of the industry in 2019. Gambling statistics have shown that online gambling in general is gradually taking over land-based gambling, and the best mobile casinos now account for a significant margin of the UK gambling industry.
The move to online gaming and mobile platforms has been amazingly successful for the gambling industry. Among other things, it gave rise to affiliate sites like LadyLucks, which are meant to cater to players who are constantly seeking information about online casinos and games in general. And just as online gambling has increasingly made a move towards on-the-gp gaming, the more traditional video gaming sector has also began going mobile.
From $151.9 billion in 2019, the mobile gaming sector is expected to grow in revenue to $165.9 billion in 2020. By 2021, it is expected to completely dominate the market with a 59% share in revenue. The continued growth of mobile gaming has also proved helpful to handheld consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite. Nintendo’s share price hit a 16-month high, with people looking forward to the release of the Switch Lite console. Handheld gaming will definitely become a major trend--if not THE top trend--in 2020.
More 3D Games
3D technology has now become mainstream in the world of gaming. Everyone loves to explore 3D objects in the virtual world. When you look at the current trend, however, you will see that there are actually only a few games using 3D technology and these few games have their limitations. However, this limited number of games and the limitations they have do not necessarily mean there is no future for 3D in the gaming world. In fact, game developers have already started using 3D technology to offer players an enhanced gaming experience.
Right now, 3D-compatible glasses are a necessity for people who want to explore the world in the realm of 3D games. More games are set to be developed using 3D technology in the coming years, and game developers are expected to create a more realistic environment as an integral part of the gameplay. Some game developers are even working on creating a 3D gaming environment on a big screen. If they succeed in doing so, the gameplay will be more realistic than ever.
Emphasis on Streaming Games
Although Google Stadia was met with mixed reviews, its release effectively forced PlayStation to reduce the price of a service they offer called PlayStation NOW. Unfortunately for Google, not everyone appreciated the way PlayStation reacted to the release of Stadia, and the reception to that release also went against such things as the Xbox Game Pass. The good news for players is that with Google challenging the big names in the streaming sector, streaming products are now expected to improve exponentially based on competition alone.
There have been lots of movement in the streaming world recently. For one thing, streamers were not too happy with Twitch, as the platform was seen to have highly inconsistent rules. Corinna Kopf has, in fact, jumped ship to Facebook Gaming, and other streamers have begun looking into several other options. Another significant development in the streaming sector is the fact that Mixer has recently picked up streamers like Shroud and Ninja. In the coming months, more streamers are expected to receive offers for similar deals.
Artificial intelligence has been used by video gamers since 1951 when game developers first created programs for the game of Chess. However, the technology did not really catch on, and only became popular in 1997 when IBM’s Deep Blue program defeated world champion Gary Kasparov in a widely advertised chess match.
Today, AI and machine learning are so much more accessible to almost everyone. Some game developers have even started training AI to play games, and there is excellent potential for bringing these skills into the real world. What this means is that developers are using artificial intelligence currently found in video games to train more AI.
What AI technology does is develop the behaviour that controls the actions of characters in the video games that use the technology. You can see the AI technology at work when you choose a non-playable character in a game, and the character’s supporters suddenly become alert and anxious. The technology can even identify your location on the game’s map. In 2020, game developers are expected to start using this revolutionary technology even more to create new AI-based systems and gadgets.
At present, game developers are researching various techniques for combining artificial intelligence with facial recognition, so they can create games that progress based on gamers’ facial expressions. More advanced game development technologies that incorporate AI are expected to be researched and developed in the near future.
The technology behind Augmented Reality (AR) integrates a game’s audio and visual content with a player’s environment in real-time. This technology is lauded for bridging the gap that separates gamers from game developers. There was a time when AR was all about face filters, but the technology has grown so much over the years and is now widely adopted by various organisations that aim to provide their customers with the ultimate gaming experience.
The rapid growth of Augmented Reality is a big help to companies that want to develop more engaging games. The technology also has a huge contribution to the growth of the gaming market as a whole. With every wave of technological advancements, AR has proven worthy, exceeding expectations and beating estimates given by industry experts. And every time, the technology has contributed something exceptional to the gaming world. It has repeatedly brought something creative and innovative to the market whenever it was integrated into programs.
Pokemon Go, for one, was able to provide players with a truly enhanced gaming experience. And it was this experience that won the hearts of millions of players all over the world. Industry experts now estimated that the Augmented Reality gaming market will increase in value to $284.93 billion by the end of the year 2023. The technology is rapidly changing the world of gaming, and it is expected to continue doing so in the future.
Virtual reality (VR) has been in existence for decades, but it hasn’t really made its mark in the gaming industry, even when big-name companies dipped their toes into the VR world. Over the years, many people have said that VR technology is dying because nothing much ever came of VR projects or products, and now no one is really doing much with the technology other than indie game titles or big titles coming out to less-than-impressive reception.
Towards the end of 2019, however, Valve, which is one of the world’s most well-known game developers, announced that they are currently working on a new addition to their Half-Life series, and this addition will be completely VR. The company is taking a huge risk with this project, but many of those involved in the gaming industry are hoping for the success of the project. Additionally, they are hoping that the success of this Valve project will revive the popularity of VR and push companies to finally leverage the potential that the technology had in the first place.
Besides Valve, companies like Facebook, HTC, and Sony also haven’t completely given up on VR technology. Not that many developers are currently working on VR-based games, and the technology isn’t really that accessible to the masses because of the high cost it entails. From what we see right now, however, it seems like Sony is still working on the next generation of PlayStation VR games. If that pushes through, it could work very well with the PlayStation 5, provided that there are enough games to go with it. One of the titles the PSVR system is expected to offer is Marvel’s Iron Man.
Nintendo is also joining the VR push with the Nintendo Labo, which is said to offer a more creative gateway into virtual reality. While this is just the early stages of the VR boom everyone is looking forward to, the promise of top-class games, as well as better and more affordable VR equipment, certainly points towards virtual reality being all set to trend in 2020.
A Return to Single-Player Games
Many game developers have only ever released game titles without single-player campaigns over the years. The fact that there were only multiplayer games forced gamers to purchase microtransactions such as loot boxes in order to win over other gamers. In 2020, however, it looks like game developers are ready to take a different approach to gaming. A number of big single-player games are set to be introduced to the world soon, with one example being a remake of the popular Final Fantasy VII game.
Industry movers are hoping for other game developers to realise that players are seriously in need of a break from facing each other and that people generally need an opportunity to play on their own from time to time. As soon as developers realise this fact, they can start taking advantage of this need by creating more single-player games.
And while we’re on the topic of the gaming industry returning to single-player games in 2020, it is also worth noting the huge possibility of Battle Royale games trend finally dying down. Players have had their fair share of Battle Royale games and many gamers have had enough of PUBG on PC. It is also entirely possible that Fortnite and Apex Legends have worn out their popularity. This makes the overall gaming landscape even more ideal for the rebirth of single-player games.
Gaming is a huge market, and it is expected to get even bigger in 2020. As the industry grew, the trends have always been continually shifting. Gaming has gone from arcade to console to PC, and now to tablets and smartphones. The field of game development is constantly changing, which is why the trends are always changing as well. As technologies advance, gaming studios experiment with the different ways in which they can take advantage of the latest in technology.
Independent gamers, along with the big studios, will be sure to check out multiple technologies and test various tools as they continue experimenting with game development. The specific outcomes of this experimentation should become apparent in time, but one thing is for sure: The future of gaming is collaborative, high-tech, and hyper-realistic.