The gaming industry continues to evolve, and it seems that every year something new and groundbreaking happens within the industry. 2022 was definitely a banner year for video games, with several big blockbusters being released, most notably Game of the Year Award recipient and Platinum Worthy Elden Ring. This year is no different; there is plenty to look forward to, and a number of trends have already emerged. Let’s get into it.
The Revolutionary Effect of AI
If 2023 has become synonymous with anything, it is AI. This year has already seen huge advancements in AI, and it has been adopted by a number of industries, including gaming. It has been used by EA already to enhance animation. Other developers have used tools like ChatGPT to come up with ideas and inspiration. Truthfully, AI is still a ways off from being able to come up with and create a video game in its entirety, but it is starting to be used a little more.
Speaking AI, it has also been seen and is going to be seen more in the gameplay itself. A lot of games already rely on dialogue to move the story onward, and these NPCs are going to start to become equipped with AI capabilities which allow them to react in real-time. It can be difficult to tame these characters to ensure that they are modelling the right speech designs to turn them from unreliable to reliable narrators.
The Apocalypse is Inevitable
The apocalypse has been a pretty steady theme in pop culture for decades. Humans seem to be preoccupied with their own seemingly inevitable downfall. It makes sense then that the apocalypse continues to be a popular theme in videogames this year seen in:
- A Letter to the Future
- Meet Your Maker
- After Us
In addition to these new releases, there has also been a resurgence in the popularity of other games like The Last of Us, thanks in part to its transformation into an insanely popular television show. The apocalyptic theme falls within the horror – and often the sci-fi – genres. This year, the horror genre takes on a new lens of nostalgia, with a lot of games taking on an 80s or 90s feel. The games are a mix between reboots and the reintroduction of familiar faces and new games designed to appeal to that sense of nostalgia.
The Enduring Popularity of Gambling
Gambling is an age-old pastime; it has always been popular. However, in the last few years, online gambling has steamed ahead to take over in terms of popularity from traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. A lot of online casinos have had to find ways to appeal to consumers and differentiate themselves from their competitors using strategies like Jackpot’s bonuses without requirements. This year, online casinos will continue to dominate traditional casinos to grow their popularity further. It is also likely that live dealers will become more prevalent. Cryptocurrency is also going to find itself being adopted by more online casinos.
The Increase in Skill
For the last decade or so, developers have done their best to create video games that were pretty accessible in an effort to make their players feel more competent. The rough edges were sanded down- for lack of a better analogy. Everyone started to get into video games as a result, and their overall popularity increased. However, as time went on, these games began to feel as though they were pandering a little. Thus: the battle royale genre was born.
Suddenly, players were pitted against each other and forced to rely on their skills and quick decision-making to excel. This could’ve made players feel a bit put out; instead, the healthy competition spurred them on. This year, this is going to continue with a number of games tipped to provide players with a hard time, like Ninja Gaiden: Lies of P or Scars Above or Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
Who is the Storyteller?
The final trend of the year has two different approaches. Firstly, there are industry juggernauts releasing new projects that their -already huge – fanbases are bound to get behind, like Leslie Benzies’ ‘Everywhere’, Todd Howard’s ‘Starfield’ and Ken Levine’s ‘Judas’. These developers have been hugely influential within the industry and have really become known for their unique approaches to creating the stories and, actually, the entire experience of the game.
In contrast to this, there is another branch whereby the player becomes the storyteller. This year, there has been – and are likely to be more – games released which really rely on the player to tell the story. The way in which they are designed allows the player to move through the game, picking up pieces of the story randomly to create their own understanding, and this can vary from player to player.
2023 is shaping up to be another banner year for video games. From embracing AI, entering the apocalypse, the enduring allure of online gambling, ever-increasing skill and more autonomy in storytelling, this year has a lot in store for gamers, so sit back and enjoy!