Top 7 Trends of Video Game Development

Top 7 Trends of Video Game Development
Top 7 Trends of Video Game Development

This post was most recently updated on August 1st, 2022

Gaming is on the rise these days. What used to be a pastime almost exclusive to young rich white males is now a universal hobby for people of all genders, colors, ages, and incomes to partake in. As per Statista, in 2021, about 3.24 billion people across the globe were playing some kind of video games. That’s almost 42% of the current global population!

With the gaming industry becoming bigger and more diverse each year, to find success here, one needs to closely follow the trends in video game development.

New technology is released regularly, and the video game development industry clings to it like a vine, making use of everything that’s new and exciting. This is no surprise: gamers are quite often the most passionate geeks. One might even say religiously passionate.

So what are the current trends in video game development? What shall a game development company keep an eye on this year to make the most out of the industry? Let’s take a look.

1.   Increased diversity

Since we’ve already mentioned the diversification of gamers, let’s also touch upon the effect it has on game development as well.

Popular media always depicts its target audience. It’s been like that throughout history, and it will continue being so in the future. This is basic psychology: to become popular, the thing — a book, a movie, a video game — needs to be relatable. That’s why, as media consumers become more diverse, so must the content.

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These days, we see more and more protagonists of color, female protagonists, characters from all over the rainbow spectrum and of all ages. This is especially true for indie games, but AAA titles aren’t lagging behind either. Titles like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Half-Life 2, Watch Dogs 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation won over many a gamer by having non-white-male protagonists. It’s a great trend to follow.

2.   Cloud gaming

Games are becoming more and more demanding in terms of device power and storage, and the selection is getting richer each year. Downloading and installing games is a boorish endeavor, and allocating space for everything we play is sometimes downright impossible. It’s of little surprise, then, that cloud gaming became a trend in the gaming community and, consequently, in game development.

Putting their game in the cloud allows gaming companies to cater to more users, including those with no opportunity or desire to allocate sometimes considerable space on their devices for a new obsession.

3.   AR/VR

Augmented and virtual reality have taken the gaming world by storm, and world-famous franchises were quick to jump in. Half-Life, Resident Evil, The Elder Scrolls, and even Minecraft have VR games in their series. Hell, there’s even Tetris VR there! Who would have imagined.

As for AR, everyone probably remembers the craze over Pokémon Go. Since its launch in 2016, we’ve seen more games for AR-enabled mobile devices: Ingress, Wizards Unite, The Walking Dead: Our World, DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition are just the most popular examples.

AR and VR game development add a completely new level of immersion to games, and game development companies that have mastered AR and VR implementation expand their user pool greatly.

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4.   Esports

Between 2017 and 2021, the global Esports market revenue doubled; according to Statista, it is projected to reach $1.87 billion by 2025. Esports competitions had 474 million viewers in 2021. Total prize money in Esports competitions in 2022 has reached a whooping $79,065,174.56 across 1795 tournaments.

The range of genres in Esports has also widened greatly in recent years: from League of Legends to CS:GO, Dota 2 to Call of Duty: Warzone. Hearthstone has its own Esports tournaments, as does Overwatch. Moreover, Esports titles are so popular they get animated series these days, like Arcane: League of Legends, and Dota: Dragon’s Blood.

5.   The rise of indie games

Thanks to the availability of affordable game design services, many indie game development companies got a chance to shine. The success of titles like Stardew Valley, Disco Elysium, Among Us brought to the forefront of the game development revolutionary ideas, pushing the game industry forward.

Small and medium-sized game development companies attract the attention of users and big gaming companies alike: the former for games with often innovative and experimental game experience, the latter for possible acquisition or partnerships (for example, porting services). The forecasts for indie game development are looking bright.

6.   Mobile gaming

Did you know that mobile gamers spend more in-game than PC and console gamers? The revenue of mobile games is said to overshadow PC and console revenue combined. Partially, it’s because there’s just so many mobile games, partially thanks to their monetization models of ads and freemium (free playing + seemingly cheap in-app purchases).

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Furthermore, mobile is the fastest-growing segment in the gaming industry now.

The fast-paced evolution of mobile devices allows mobile game developers to create more immersive games, with sophisticated graphics and a wide range of mechanics. Mobile games can stand at the same level as PC and console titles.

All this places mobile games proudly on the lists of video game development industry trends.

7.   Immersive experience

The last but not the least important on our list of video game development trends is the immersive experience. What is it?

Immersive experience in gaming is when the game developers create a world so great that players are wrapped in it wholly. Worlds that are intrinsically logical and well-structured that players believe that somewhere in an alternate universe, this might as well be real.

The immersive experience makes players unwilling to drop the game, so engrossed they become in the fictional world.

People have praised the immersion levels of The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect 2, Assassin’s Creed, Horizon, and The Witcher. This author, for example, spends hours digging into the lore of Genshin Impact. The world of Legend of Zelda became the legend itself.

Immersion often comes hand-in-hand with diversity, as the latter complements the former. Top-shelf imagery is another feature that adds a lot to immersion in games. But most of all, it’s the work of game designers behind the game story plot and characters, creators treating the world like a baby they need to raise. That’s what makes a game immersive. And this is something that will always be on the list of video game development industry trends.


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