The gaming world is in a constant state of flux. Player tastes change as quickly as fashion, with each new season bringing with it new titles and big updates to grab their attention. Technology also plays a big role in the constant development of gaming hardware and software, leading to entirely new gaming genres and exciting new ways to play them.
All this change means that there are always new gaming trends on the horizon. In the early 1990s, the biggest trend in gaming was the introduction of 3D graphics that led to the creation of genres like the first-person shooter and inspired the rethinking of the traditional platform game.
In the 2000s, open-ended gameplay and online functionality were all the rage, while the late 2010s were dominated by the rise of battle royale titles.
With the 2020s now well underway, here are the gaming trends to look out for in the coming years.
Free-to-play games are not entirely new. Zynga began experimenting with this format back in the 2000s with its Mafia Wars and Farmville titles.
Unlike more traditional video games, titles that use the free-to-play model let players download, install, and begin to play the game without having to hand over a single penny. In most cases, they can continue to play it for an unlimited length of time while remaining under no obligation to put their hands in their pockets.
However, they are offered (and sometimes pushed) to pay for in-game content through microtransactions. These are often small amounts, but some players spend hundreds or even thousands on these digital items.
The model has proved incredibly popular among players as the majority of the most-played games today are free-to-play and the biggest publishers on the market are also generating more and more of their revenue through microtransactions.
The Growth of Online Casinos
Casino games themselves have a long history. Slots have been around since the end of the 19th century, roulette is a few hundred years old, and blackjack has been around even longer.
However, over the years, the way we enjoy these games has changed. The most recent development has been in online and mobile casinos with allow people to play their favorite titles from the comfort of their own homes, or just about anywhere else with an internet connection.
In Europe and some other parts of the world, the iGaming market is quite mature, having had around two decades to grow. However, in the United States and several other regions, online casinos remain relatively new.
Despite having been around for just a few years, online casinos have exploded in popularity. Some US states are ahead of others though, for example, New Jersey has more online casinos than anywhere else in the country. As a result of that, there is a lot of competition through free bets and other promotions as operators try to gain market share from their rivals.
Where NJ has gone, other states will follow, and we’re going to see a rapid expansion of the iGaming sector right across North America in the coming years.
VR gaming has begun to come into its own in recent years as companies like Oculus have created headsets that have become lighter, faster, and easier to use.
VR gaming is still a relatively niche concept, but it’s growing as headsets become cheaper and the network effect helps to spread interest through word of mouth.
Companies like Meta and Sony are investing billions in developing virtual reality gaming even further, so few would bet against them with resources like that behind them.
Virtual reality titles are becoming more complex and diverse as developers get a feel for what works well and what doesn’t, with early successes being titles like Beat Saber, The Thrill of the Fight, and Job Simulator.
These factors will all contribute to the strong growth of VR gaming over the next decade.