The gaming industry has been revolutionized thanks to a handful of trends, some of which are not generally accepted by the gamers community, whilst others ended up being a great success for giving the player a real value.
With the new generation of video game consoles at hand, one can only think; what’s next?
Trends are naturally a result of progress, it’s the general direction in which something is changing or developing, and the video games industry is no strange to these trends.
Here are 5 trends that might dominate the gaming industry in the next 10 years!
1 More Free-To-Play Video Games
Free-to-play games are nothing new, this model originated back in the late 1990s with MMOs and Strategy Games. However, the most noticeable success for this model is without a doubt... you guessed it; Fortnite.
Fortnite, developed and published by Epic Games, took the world by storm thanks to its business model that relies heavily on cosmetic microtransactions and the battle-pass system.
It turned out that a lot of players have no problem spending real money on skins and outfits, again, nothing new. But the Free Battle Royale hit encouraged other big names to jump into the trend.
Sure, as of writing this post, most of the free games on consoles (at least) are battle royales, but we're likely to see different genres being available, co-op experiences like Dauntless, Genshin Impact, or competitive shooters like Rogue Company.
It's almost certain that we'll see much more polished free-to-play games within the next few years, be it on the console, PC, or Mobile.
Speaking of Mobile, this is clearly the most profitable platform for Free-To-Play games, with titles such as Candy Crush, Pokémon Go, and Brawl Stars each banking hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year.
This will continue to be the biggest business model for mobile game developers, and it will soon catch up with console games and publishers who can afford it.
2 Exclusives Are No Longer Exclusive
This one is controversial, as a lot of gamers choose to buy one platform over the other based on its real value: exclusive games.
Until recently, you couldn't play most of Quantic Dream modern titles, with these games being published by Sony, they were naturally exclusive on the PlayStation platform only.
Now, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human, are all available on PC. This is mainly due to the developer leaving Sony's umbrella, but that was only the beginning.
Sony, for the first time ever, actually started considering making some of their first titles available on other platforms, PC to be exact.
Horizon Zero Dawn and Hideo Kojima's futuristic bizarre game Death Stranding might be just the start of a new era where you don't necessarily need to own a PlayStation to get a chance to play these amazing games.
Microsoft on the other hand has been doing this for quite some time, as they're more open to the competition. It's likely that they'll keep doing this with selected titles and indie games.
Is it the end of exclusives, period? I don't believe so, this will continue to be a marketing tactic to bring more players into each platform, with Sony planning to sell more consoles and Xbox going for more subscription services... which brings us to the next trend.
3 Subscription And Streaming Services
The gaming industry welcomed the new generation of consoles, and both Sony and Microsoft confirmed that their services are going to be one of the main focuses.
Xbox's Game Pass is no longer just a library of nostalgic games, now you can actually get early access for certain games, without the need to buy them (as long as you have an active subscription).
With the acquisition of Bethesda, Xbox will now have a huge library of already popular titles like Wolfenstein, and their next installments. We believe it won't stop right there.
With Game Pass available on most Xbox consoles, PC, and Android (with an iOS release soon), this is going to be one of the biggest gaming subscription services available. Sony nor Nintendo won't be able to compete.
But, they don't have to compete directly, Nintendo with their Switch Online service is still lacking behind, but that's understandable considering it's only available for the Switch owners, but Sony still has a lot to offer.
PlayStation Now might not be in its best shape as of now, but with more games being added each month, it's on the right track. Will we see first-party games being released on it day one? Very possible.
with PlayStation Plus/Collection, there might be an integration between these services to offer more than just games but also exclusive content in the form of DLC, virtual currency, early beta access, etc.
I believe 2021 will shape our ideas better on how these services will become the anchor point for driving players in while staying very different from each other.
4 Games Offering Monthly Subscriptions
Subscriptions are definitely one of the most successful business models out there, it worked with movies, music, and now video games.
But a game offering a monthly subscription? This is screaming "hell no" all over it, right?
Well, with Fortnite launching its Fortnite Crew monthly subscription, it's about to become a case study for other publishers before jumping on the wagon.
An affordable valuable monthly subscription is not a bad idea, mainly for Free-to-Play games. A lot of games can benefit from this, especially ones that come with constant updates and a wide range of vanity items.
If it proves to be working with Fortnite, mark my words, it'll only be a matter of time before we start seeing Activision, Blizzard, and EA applying something similar to their multiplayer active titles.
Will it be beneficial for the player? It all depends on what it offers, but it certainly lowers the hassle of going through the in-game shop or dealing with all the battle-passes around.
One monthly subscription that grants you access to cosmetics, a fixed amount of virtual currency, and other selected content, all of which shouldn't impact the playstyle, only the visuals.
5 eSports Going Big With Audience
eSports is growing tremendously each year. Does that mean we'll just continue to see more eSports events in the future? Hell yes, but that's not all.
There's something happening right now, it could be because of the global pandemic, or just because of how entertaining eSports really are.. but spectators are overtaking the gamers!
What does that mean? Now that more people prefer to watch others play video games, this will slowly change how developers build their games (especially online multiplayer games).
Developers will not only have the gamers in mind but the audience as well. Ubisoft did something similar with their free-to-play Battle Royal; Hyperscape.
A partnership with Twitch allowed the viewers to engage in various activities to earn in-game rewards, making Hyperscape one of the social gaming experiences that goes beyond just playing with each other.
Sure, it will take time before we fully see the impact of it, and just how far the developers are willing to go with this, but with more games being made with eSports in mind, it is expected to see new ways of approaching this whole process.