Advances in technology bring constant change to the world of video games.
Whether it’s a new game, new technology, or even an entirely new genre, there’s always something new and exciting to look forward to.
From online poker to NFT-filled video games, there’s certainly no shortage of trends to look out for. With that in mind, we’ve put together six of the biggest, most influential trends in gaming. Based on impact, innovation, and level of obscurity, all of these trends are changing the face of gaming as we know it.
Augmented reality (AR) is making headlines at the moment. With Metaverse on its way to the mass market and Microsoft creating an augmented universe of its own, it's safe to say that the next few years could very well redefine the nature of video games.
Though the novelty of games like Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards United has been relatively short-lived, the technological innovation behind such games is what led to the possibility of something like a Metaverse in the first place.
Currently, aside from AR's social media applications, a wealth of mobile and business-oriented companies are investing in AR technology. This will potentially lead to multiple developments in not only the gaming industry, but the vast majority of global industries.
After garnering worldwide attention, the controversy surrounding loot boxes and other exploitative forms of microtransactions has forced video game publishers to adopt new monetization tactics, with battle passes being the latest example of this change.
Essentially, a battle pass is a seasonal reward system consisting of daily bonuses and achievement milestones, enticing players to jump in on a daily basis lest they miss out on timed rewards or milestones related to playtime.
Battle passes can be seen as a compromise between profit-making and transparent business practices. Unlike the RNG rewards systems of the past, they provide players with a clear route of progress and offer purchase value based on merit rather than chance.
Console exclusives are becoming less common nowadays. Playstation is making PC games, Microsoft is embracing shared connectivity across all gaming platforms, and the Nintendo Switch is now home to many AAA PC games.
No matter where you look, gaming is becoming less about your platform of choice and more about optimal gaming experiences. Cross-play is a consumer-friendly change that provides greater accessibility to all that the world of gaming has to offer.
With cross-play, it makes no difference what your choice of console is. If you’re on PC and want to play with a friend who has a Switch, cross-play makes that possible. There are also benefits for single-player games, as progression can be shared across multiple devices.
Blockchain-based gaming and NFT rewards systems are quickly gaining traction as a fresh take on how we play video games. Instead of cosmetic microtransactions and battle passes, play-to-earn games allow gamers to earn multiple rewards through time investment.
Play-to-earn rewards include unique items such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are crypto-assets that store the ownership record of any digital item, such as images, video, and text.
Blockchain and crypto are fairly new in terms of game design mechanics, meaning that there’s still a wide variety of potential applications for them. Thanks to these technologies, the genre known as ‘play-to-earn’ is a rapidly growing segment of the gaming industry.
In terms of adoption rates, cloud gaming and streaming platforms have had a slow start compared to other innovative technologies. However, despite the failure of Google’s Stadia platform, services like Nvidia’s Geforce Now have steadily gained success.
These subscription-based services take most of the expenses associated with high-end gaming out of the equation. Why spend thousands of dollars on a gaming PC or console, when you can simply buy a TV, grab a cloud gaming service, and you’re good to go?
By offering a cost-effective solution for AAA gaming, streaming services save you from the need to invest in costly hardware. You can enjoy the latest games at up to 4K resolution, with 60FPS, all settings maxed out, with no performance drops or compatibility issues.
Virtual reality (VR) has exploded in recent years. Thanks to a combination of travel restrictions and lockdowns, the VR industry has experienced unprecedented growth in sales.
From the Oculus Quest 2 to PS5 VR, fidelity and accessibility have led to incredible progress for VR gaming, especially in terms of affordability and performance. The Quest 2, for example, is both cheaper and more powerful than its predecessor.
VR can completely transform a gaming experience, providing a unique form of interactivity that has captivated many gamers worldwide. With a growing library of games, less expensive hardware, and improvement on issues like motion sickness, VR is definitely heading in a positive direction.
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