8 Disruptive Game Industry Trends & Forecast

From mobile gaming, VR, and NFTs to the rise of gamer parents, here are the major trends that shaped the gaming landscape in 2023.
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2023 has been monumental for the game industry, with mobile gaming, VR, and even NFTs making significant headway. Add to that the unexpected rise of gamer parents, and it's evident why this year stands out.

According to the latest data from Statista, the video games market is on a trajectory to touch the staggering mark of $688.4 billion by 2027. Such figures affirm a simple truth: people's love for gaming isn't waning; it's flourishing. 

But what does the future hold beyond this? Which fresh waves are set to ripple through the game industry? Here’s a dive into the most promising game development trends that could redefine the gaming landscape in the forthcoming years.

Game Trend #1: Mobile & Cross-platform Development

Mobile gaming's surge is undeniable. Forecasts pin the global revenue for this segment to surge by an impressive $49 billion between 2023 and 2027, marking an increase of 28.22%.

A variety of factors propel this segment forward. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, their escalating performance capabilities, affordability, and portability are key. Add to that the imminent rollout of 5G networks, which promises even faster and more robust connections, and the future for mobile gaming looks luminous.

Moreover, 2023 is seeing a spike in cross-platform games. The appeal of playing a game across multiple devices—PCs, consoles, tablets, smartphones—is growing as multi-device ownership becomes the norm and game developers aim for broader reach.

Game Trend #2: VR (Virtual Reality) Gaming

The VR game segment is buzzing. Projections indicate that VR game installations could double by 2024's close, pushing the market revenues from $1.8 billion to a whopping $3.2 billion. The catalyst? More affordable VR headsets are entering the market, luring a broader base of gamers.

VR games offer a 3D environment, ensuring an immersive experience. Various virtual reality accessories—from headsets to VR rooms with wearables—enrich the gameplay, allowing interactions within the game environment.

Driving the virtual reality gaming market are:

  • Enhanced Immersion: Offering lifelike experiences that captivate players.
  • Budget-friendly VR Devices: A surge in varied headsets has made VR gaming accessible. In fact, by March 2019, Sony had already reported sales of 4.2 million PlayStation VR headsets.
  • Upgraded Gameplay and Graphics: Advancements in VR tech enhance the appeal.
  • Social Interaction: Players now can connect and dive deeper into their games.

Game Trend #3: XR (Extended Reality) Gaming

XR amalgamates the best of virtual, mixed, and augmented realities. Experts believe the XR market cap could touch $160 billion by 2023's end. Factors like the spread of 5G and affordable XR gear like VR helmets make this technology more accessible.

XR offers an experience that's not just immersive but almost tangible. This makes players feel like they're traversing digital terrains that seem extraordinarily real.

However, crafting a top-selling game is a blend of stunning graphics, compelling gameplay, and a captivating narrative.

Continuing the passion for games and ensuring gamers are engaged is a herculean task. That’s where UI/UX game designers come into play. Ariel Mallo, Principal UI Artist at Frontier Developments, offers insights through the 'UI/UX for Gaming' course. Having worked with renowned game studios such as Sumo Games and Warner Games, Ariel guides on portfolio building, optimising LinkedIn profiles, and interview tactics.

Game Trend #4: Mobile/PC Gaming Merges with Social Media

Modern consoles have seamlessly integrated social networking. Players can capture in-game moments and share them instantaneously. An example is the mobile game Alphabear, which lets users craft quirky phrases for immediate Twitter sharing.

Furthermore, there’s no shortage of gaming-specific chat rooms and online communities. Platforms like Reddit have become pivotal, allowing gamers to interact and share insights.

Game Trend #5: The Metaverse

The Metaverse enables games to effortlessly integrate with a vast virtual universe. This allows players to transition between games or experiences within the metaverse smoothly.

As the idea progresses, the demand for such games will surge. The metaverse offers a thrilling opportunity for developers. We can expect a wave of innovation in this arena as companies explore what resonates, what falls short, and how to leverage technology. More apps will offer uninterrupted gameplay and cross-platform development. Given the inclination of players to connect in a virtual domain, social engagement and teamwork will be crucial.

Key aspects of metaverse gaming include:

  • Social Interaction and Community: They focus on fostering connections, allowing players to communicate and collaborate.
  • Virtual Economy and Ownership: These games often include virtual trading and proprietary systems.
  • Integration with Reality: Real-world elements, like live data or events, might be infused in the metaverse.

Decentraland, a notable blockchain-based metaverse, lets users craft, navigate, and exchange digital assets. Users can earn MANA, its currency, by trading virtual real estate, designing content, or joining events and games. Major brands like Lego and Epic have ambitious plans in the metaverse, along with other compelling large-scale initiatives.

Game Trend #6: Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is the next big wave, with Newzoo analysts pegging the market's revenue at $8.2 billion by 2025. With over 30 million subscribers and counting, cloud gaming's potential is immense. It levels the playing field, allowing those with basic PCs to enjoy high-end games. This freedom from hardware limitations promises innovative gaming experiences and a shift towards in-game transactions and subscription-based models.

Game Trend #7: Cryptocurrency and NFTs

NFTs and blockchain might feel overhyped, but their appeal endures, captivating many. Their expanding influence has inevitably touched the game industry. Prominent gaming studios are significantly investing in NFTs, drawing commercial attention from peers.

How gaming firms are weaving crypto into game development:

  • Direct in-game purchases using crypto.
  • Introducing competitive elements, rewarding winners.
  • Earning tokens for in-game actions or time spent, akin to Axie Infinity.

Speaking of which, Axie Infinity is a delightful NFT game on Ethereum. Players battle, breed virtual Axies, trade, form teams, and compete. Each Axie is a distinct NFT that can be traded, staked, or used for game development decisions.

 

Game Trend #8: Parents as Gaming Advocates

A recent Nickelodeon UK survey revealed that 75% of parents now game with their kids. Children aged 10 or below mostly derive gaming suggestions from parents.

Families increasingly bond in common spaces. Current data suggests an average household possesses 8.4 gadgets. This proximity is spurring the development of games catering to both parents and kids. As more millennials step into parenthood, this co-op gaming trend might escalate.