Games are no longer just entertainment. Today it is a rapidly developing industry in which, according to Statista, almost a third of the world’s population is involved. People of all ages regularly play on mobile devices, consoles, and PCs. Esports tournaments with huge budgets are held all over the world. And virtual worlds have transformed from a gaming space into a place where you can meet with friends.

There is no doubt that the gaming industry will grow. But in which direction? To find out, we’ve collected the latest gaming trends in this article.

Source: Global Web IndexPreviously, gamers’ experience was limited by two factors: the device and its technical capabilities. Companies created games for specific platforms. And the quality directly depended on the characteristics of the console, smartphone, or PC. Today, the number of exclusives has decreased. Of course, unique games remain, both for consoles and PCs. But you can play a game of any genre on anything. And cloud technologies allow you to run resource-intensive applications on any hardware.

It is beneficial not only for the players but also for the developers. Cloud technologies will help remove technical limits and reach a wider audience. Users won’t have to buy high-quality gaming PCs or consoles to play. There will be no need to download or install games.

The key to the successful development of this area is the fast Internet. Today, image quality suffers when transferring data. But with the improvement of technology, this problem will disappear. Just imagine: you will have an opportunity to play AAA games from even the simplest devices! And that brings us to the next trend.

2: Mobile game development

Source: StatistaMobile games today differ from projects for consoles or PCs, but the boundaries are rapidly blurring. Video game design companies adapt popular titles for smartphones and develop new mobile projects that are becoming no less popular.

About 2.2 billion people all over the world play games on smartphones. And there is no difference between gender. According to MMA Global, 51% of mobile players are women, and 49% are men. Unlike PCs or consoles, this type of gaming is popular with people of all ages and 14% of active players are from 16 to 24 years old, while  24% are from 35 to 44 and 20% – from 45 to 54. So mobile games are not entertainment just for teenagers. Everyone plays them.

Your smartphone is always at hand, so you can play everywhere: on the way to work, at home, or when you are waiting in the queue. The capabilities of smartphones are improving every year, so games for mobile devices are becoming more challenging and fun. And fast data and new communication standards will open up endless possibilities for gaming. So mobile games will be actively improved and developed in the future.

3: Multiplayer games

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were looking for other ways to communicate. And multiplayer online games have played an important role in socialization. Unable to meet friends in a park or cafe, people began to spend more time playing games. They began competing against each other in Fortnite, getting together as a team in Call of Duty or DOTA 2, or spending time in numerous MMORPGs.

The latest genre is especially interesting from the point of view of the development of the industry. Unlike battles – solo or team – in MMORPGs, you can spend long hours rather than short sessions. These are separate worlds that you can explore, contacting other players. Previously, such games were relevant only for the PC. But with the development of technology, it became possible to play them on smartphones.

However, Battle Royale games are not losing ground either. The genre began to gain popularity in 2017, and the number of fans of this format continues to grow. In games like this, everyone fights against everyone until there is only one winner left. Battles take place on colorful maps with resources, and each new game starts from scratch.

One of the most popular games in the genre is PUBG. Only on Steam, this game had over 444 thousand concurrent players in August 2021. And that’s not counting the players on consoles and the mobile version, where indicators are much higher. More than 50 million people played the PUBG mobile daily in Q3 2020. Another 70 million have played the Chinese version of Game for Peace, which accounts for over 50% of PUBG Mobile’s revenues. This game is free-to-play, and according to the latest data, 730 million users have installed it, and the number of daily active players is 30 million.

Fortnite is another popular Battle Royale game. It differs from PUBG in its cartoonish graphics and the ability to create objects right on the battlefield. In September 2021, up to 4 million people played Fortnite simultaneously on all platforms every day.

The ability to compete not with NPCs, but with other people has always attracted players. Cooperative modes and the ability to share the game with friends appeared long before modern online battles. And if we consider that today most of life flows online, the direction of multiplayer games will develop actively.

4: Gambling and e-Sports

Esports has played a huge role in the interest in online multiplayer games. Why did we make it a separate trend? Because to compete, games must have special mechanics. And if you want to create a new Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, or DOTA2, you need to think about the possibilities for battle at the idea stage.

After numerous lockdowns, people who were unable to attend their favorite matches switched to eSports. If in 2019 the audience of people who watched cybersport events at least once a month was about 440 million, then by the end of 2021 this number may increase to 550 million.

International DOTA2 Championship

Major game championships are held annually, and the prize pools are amazing. For example, The International 2021 tournament, which took place from October 7 to 17 in Bucharest, had a prize pool of $40 million. Thanks to such high-profile events, gaming tournaments have long ceased to be something underground. Today, a DOTA2 match can easily compete with a football or basketball championship in views.

Esports have come into play in a variety of genres. For example, summoners war is neither a shooter nor a MOBA, but tournaments are held in this game. Competitions are also held on mobile platforms: PUBG Mobile, Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Garena Free Fire, etc.

So games with a lot of competitive potential are a promising niche. If you have ideas for such projects, you can always contact Stepico for full-cycle development.

5: Blurring the boundaries between games and movies

The graphics in games are becoming more realistic. If you’ve seen the trailer for the new Forza Horizon 5 or played one of the latest releases from top game design companies, then you probably understand what we are talking about. Unlike movies, game worlds are not limited by the laws of physics. You can choose any setting and create anything from an underwater laboratory or a lost space station to a medieval city inhabited by fantastic creatures.

Twenty years ago, it was difficult to imagine the level of realism that modern games have reached. Imagine what awaits us in another twenty years! Endless possibilities allow you to create whole open worlds that live by their laws. No matter how fascinating the universe of the film is, you cannot immerse yourself in it. And in games anything is possible.

But along with open worlds, there is another genre that blurs the lines between games and movies. It is a genre of interactive film where the player makes choices that influence the plot. Interestingly, both industries are developing in this direction. Interactive films and TV series appear, and gaming studios regularly release cinematic games.

For example, projects like Until Dawn, Detroit Become Human, and the entire series of Dark Pictures. These games are focused not on the process but the story. You need to make choices that will affect the fate of the characters and lead you to one of several endings. This synthesis of film and game provides deep immersion in the story. You don’t need special skills to play, and this is a great way to relax.

6: More Remakes, Reboots and Nostalgia

When so many new things appear, we feel a longing for the old. Some people miss pixel arcades, others remember the games they played in their childhood. It is not surprising that the industry responds quickly to such trends. Today, you can find modern platformers that create the illusion of games from the past, and once-popular titles are getting a new wave of popularity with remakes and remasters.

People are willing to pay to re-play their favorite games in an updated version: Mafia definitive edition, Demon Souls, GTA etc. Not only games with outdated graphics receive the update, but also those that look modern. For example, TES: Skyrim, released in 2011, or Witcher 3, a game that has long remained at the top of the ratings of the most realistic projects, will soon receive an improvement in graphics.

Also, the interest in the old games in their original form does not fade away. WoW made a classic version for players dissatisfied with modern game updates. On Xbox, thanks to backward compatibility, you can play Perfect Dark, Black, Morrowind, and other games. And the extended version of Nintendo Switch Online includes Nintendo 64 and Sega games from the 16-bit era.

7: VR and AR game development

From super realistic graphics, it’s easy to go full immersion. And virtual reality technology can provide a similar experience. It is available today, but it has not yet become something commonplace. Today VR is more entertainment than a full-fledged element of gameplay. But in the future, with the development of technology, the situation may change.

The demand for virtual reality has grown during the pandemic. People, unable to experience the familiar sensations in everyday life, began to pay more attention to the game worlds and new opportunities for immersion in them. 360-degree video content and high-quality graphics create a sense of presence and make the gameplay more vivid and immersive.

​​With VR, you can control an airplane in Microsoft Flight Simulator or fly on a spaceship in Star Wars: Squadrons. Or you can destroy enemies in Half-Life: Alyx and in the incredibly stylish SUPERHOT shooter. Many games get a VR version or update: for example, Resident Evil 4 or Dota 2.

Today people are more likely to go to VR clubs rather than buy these devices. But, if we look into the past, we will remember that the passion for games also began with arcade machines. So, VR may very soon become a part of our everyday reality.

What does the future of gaming hold for us?

Games have become an integral part of everyday life. We play on smartphones, consoles, and PCs, spend time with friends in exciting online battles and dive into game worlds that are increasingly difficult to distinguish from reality. And if you don’t want to play by yourself, you can watch the stream. Thanks to broadcasts on Twitch and videos on YouTube, even those who do not have the equipment to play will find out about great projects.

Source: Global Web Index

How will the industry develop further? We believe that in the future:

  • games will become even more realistic;
  • most multiplayer games will move to VR
  • there will be a great emphasis on personalization;
  • lots high-quality projects of the past will sooner or later receive an upgrade;
  • VR and AR technologies will become part of everyday user experience;
  • there will be more competitive games to watch;
  • the genre of interactive cinematic games will be actively developed;
  • retro style will become one of the most popular trends;
  • there will be more monetization opportunities – for example, blockchain technologies.

Our team is constantly exploring new possibilities for creating exciting game projects. We use modern technologies and improve standards and development processes to create impressive projects in our game design portfolio. If you want, you can learn more about our services.

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Andrii Titov - Chief Executive Officer
Specialties: Game development, mobile (Android/iOS development), customer communication, team management.
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