What are gamers up to 2017? – Gaming Industry Trends

Top Ten Gaming Trends 2017

The game industry is growing at an exceptional rate in all kinds of areas. This is going to be a major year in gaming where developing trends, such as eSport and streaming are going to effect how games are designed and played.  Here is a breakdown of the major trends in gaming to look out for.

1). Virtual Reality

The VR revival started in 2016 and looks set to continue into 2017. Adoption rate of VR was fairly slow in 2016 because of the cost of both the headset that where available and the computers that can run them.  A lot of the experiences were not that great either with one notable exception. The success of Resident Evil Seven has gone a long way to showcase just what VR is capable of, and with a few more successful entries like this the adoption rates could increase. However, it does little to mitigate the costs factor.

Due to this many analyst predict that VR in the consumer game industry will receive little to no love for game developers, and they will not sell enough units to cover the cost. VR is currently too expensive for mainstream gaming.

Developers may move away from consumer VR in gaming to other areas such as training sims.

2.) Streaming

Next Generation console, more powerful PCs, and Twitch has made streaming game extremely easy. There is going to be a raise in the number of games that have eSport following due to the easy accessibility of stream, and there are going to be more channels dedicated to it.

The main trend in streaming is going to focus on Participatory streaming.  Updates to the streaming model will allow greater interaction between the streamers and their audience changing the way games are played and watched.  This update will provide streamers with real-time stat over-lays, gameplay pools to give audience control, and wagers through loyalty points.  So, streams will become more interactive for the audience.

3). eSports.

Viewership of e-sports as risen drastically from 204 million to 292 million 43% increase over two years.  eSports are getting more popular, and as such there is greater investment in this area.  To an extent this has already been seen as Counter-Strike, Over-Watch and Street Fighter V matches have been broadcasted on television. Broadcasting rights for league of legends sold to major league baseball streamer for $300 million.  And projection suggest that the industry will double its value to $1 billion with a viewership of 500 million fans.

The most interesting trend in eSports over the next year may be made by Blizzard who are shaking up that way eSports are organised with their Overwatch league.  Blizzard envision local teams playing for major cities much like traditional sports and already have potential owners of teams bidding millions to get on board as league founders.

This new model may cause classic eSports games like League of Legend to redesign their systems.

Expect eSports to become a great influence on the design of games in the near future.

4). Downloads Numbers Rising.

Profits from downloading media are were increasing in 2016.  Downloading media will continue to raise, although physical media should remain king.

5). A focus on PVP Mobile Gaming

eSports is going to have a huge effect on the mobile gaming industry too.  There are an increasing number of games on the mobile platform that support streaming technology are gaining a following such as Vainglory and Hearthstone.

As streaming and eSports become more popular game designers are going to focus on increasing the appeal of their game to spectators. This may signal a move away from the asynchronous models were competition is done through a leader-board like Candy-Crush and Opponents are controlled by computer AI’s Like Marvel Puzzle Quest.   To appeal to the masses and create a watching audience games will need to be fast paced and interactive.  This will mean a slow move away from match 3 games and slow world builders.

There will be a bigger focus around branding in mobile games too.

Increasing game will built with this in mind.

6). Blend single and multiplayer experience

There will be an increasing trend to blend single player games with a multi-player experience.  Games are increasing less seen as one off novel experiences, and are now being marketed as a ongoing service provided by the developer as it increases DLC sales. This will mean a move away from franchise like Nathan Drake where there is a rich one player setting only.

Games like Mass Effect Andromeda showcase how developers are trying to integrate the multiplayer aspect into game to prolong their life and increase their revenue streams.

7.) Expect Bigger Names in Mobile Gaming

Nintendo’s success with Pokemon Go has demonstrated that big developers and franchises not only have a role to play in mobile gaming but can expect a healthy profit from doing so.  Pokemon Go caused a massive 33% spike in Nintendo’s share price.

Nintendo seem set on bringing over its favorite 1st party titles to the mobile gaming base, releasing Fire Emblem Heroes earlier this year.

This move will attract other big names to the mobile market, and if Nintendo’s influence is anything to go by these new developers will create new ways and means to the F2P model that leave the standard models of games showing old and obvious prompts to spend that can be ignored.

8). Harassment

One of the biggest issues in the gaming community is that of player harassment, especially as games become more socially driven.  The idea that harassment is just part of gaming culture has slowed down moves to create strong prevention methods.

I can see how the issue is hard to judge myself.  I was in a general chat of a mobile game yesterday, when some started making rape jokes in the room.  The room was divide over whether it was his right under freedom of to make the rape joke or if victims of rape had the right to exist in a space where they are free of any reminder of the abuser/event/threat.

With cyber-bullying and online attacks becoming a more prominent trend in the media expect gaming to start coming down hard on player harassment.

9). Attack of the AR clones

With the Success of Pokemon’s go Augmented reality expect a lot of unsuccessful clones later this year that will try and emulate Nintendo’s success with the model.

10). The death of 4 year console cycle.

With the release of Project Scorpion by Microsoft a lot of people are saying the 4 year cycle of new console release is dead, and an updated version of the same console with better technology will be the norm going forward.

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