Gaming Industry Trends We Expect to See in 2023
It is difficult to deny that the international gaming sector is undergoing some seriously exciting changes at the moment, encouraged and enabled by a variety of cultural, social, and technological developments. And the UK has been at the forefront of much of that change.
The last half-decade has seen a growth of more than 10% in the gaming industry in the UK. When this is combined with the UK’s long-standing historical reputation as a center for games development, it seems the ingredients are in place for this growth trend to continue for a long time to come.
The UK might have ceased to be a member of the European Union (EU), but it actually generates the highest revenue from digital games of any European country.
However, it’s one thing to reflect on how fast-moving recent change has been in the gaming industry, and quite another thing to consider what trends are likely to take hold in this sector in the year to come.
So, what are some of the trends that those engaged in the gaming industry are likely to encounter over the course of 2023?
Games developers and publishers need to be especially alert to change in 2023
You might understandably think, there are new trends in the gaming industry every year – so what makes the situation in 2023 so special?
Well, for evidence of that, you only need to look at how 2022 went in the world of games. We saw such trends as game developers and publishers increasingly tapping into the potential of the metaverse, and traditional boundaries becoming blurred – such as between gaming and other forms of entertainment, and between sports and esports.
So, 2023 promises to be not “just another year” in gaming; it instead serves up the prospect of upending what we even consider games to be, look, and feel like.
So, let’s delve into what we expect to be some of the defining gaming-industry trends in the months ahead.
Innovation will continue apace in virtual reality and augmented reality games
To affirm what we said above about games becoming nigh-on unrecognisable compared to how they might have once been, we’re leaving behind the era when it might have been presumed that games would always be played on a computer or device screen.
We are, of course, referring to the staggering rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games, which present so many ways in which players can immerse themselves in alternate worlds.
With AR and VR games able to be used across mobile and wearable devices alike, they allow the player to experience first-person perspectives that they might not have previously thought possible.
An AR game, for instance, allows the player to feel like they are literally part of the depicted environment, instead of having to depend to such an extent on their suspension of disbelief. It enables them to feel to a much greater degree like their real-life world and the gaming environment are “one and the same”, with sounds and objectives from the game being projected into their real-life setting.
In 2023, we might not know exactly how game developers will keep on innovating with AR and VR gaming formats, but we can be sure that they will innovate.
Multiplayer games will remain in strong demand
At the height of the COVID-19-pandemic lockdowns, many people were left highly susceptible to loneliness during times of being restricted to their homes.
Multiplayer gaming, however, provided a means by which people could stave off some of that loneliness, and play directly with family and friends across a virtual space, without the need for everyone to be in the same room or building.
Lockdowns, of course, may now be a thing of the past, but by now, a lot of players have gained a taste for virtual multiplayer gaming. They have come to see it as part of their standard gaming mix, and a particular game’s multiplayer options have become a factor in many gamers’ decisions on buying games or in-app purchases.
Don’t, in other words, expect virtual multiplayer gaming to fade much in relevance – if at all – during 2023.
Players across all segments of society will keep on enjoying fitness games
While we’re on the subject of pandemic effects, did those lockdowns also leave you feeling bereft without access to your usual brick-and-mortar gym or other “real-life” fitness facility? If so, you might well have turned to dedicated fitness games in order to help you keep up your good lifestyle habits.
Fitness games are also sometimes referred to as “active video games”, and they have become a firmly mainstream part of the broader gaming landscape. Almost anyone of any age or background can enjoy the likes of dance games, yoga titles, and Nintendo Switch Sports, with interesting options available across the various gaming platforms.
So, fitness games have already shown that they aren’t merely for “gym bunnies”, or even a “pandemic fix”; they can be enjoyed by nearly every segment of society, including those who may have other reasons for their inability to get to a traditional gym or leisure centre.
This combination of factors looks set to make fitness games a continuing strong force during 2023.
Non-player-character (NPC) chatbots will become more prominent
As Techopedia has explained, NPC stands for “non-player characters”, with these being computer-controlled bot characters within a game.
But what about the rise of NPC chatbots, which can engage the human player in conversion in a game? This could help create a more natural-sounding dialogue between human players and the “artificial intelligence” (in other words, “bot”) characters in a given game, thereby greatly assisting in making the game a more realistic experience.
It’s not exactly a secret that generative language models have attracted a lot of attention lately, and NPC chatbots are just one potential application of them. A game that feels more realistic in this regard, could be one that feels more immersive for the player, who will consequently have more interesting choices to make when progressing through the game.
It is thought that role-playing games (RPGs) and open-world games could especially benefit from NPC chatbot technology as it gains sophistication. It is one more form of tech that could help make games more rewarding to play – even if it’s true that right now, there is still a lot of scope for that technology to further develop.
Gaming will continue to become a more mainstream topic of discussion
One of the most interesting things about the continued evolution of the gaming industry is how gaming is gradually beginning to be discussed to a greater extent in mainstream circles.
Whereas there was once a time, for example, when a video game would be based on an existing big media franchise such as James Bond, in recent years, we have seen various examples of the reverse phenomenon, of games inspiring movies or TV series.
Five Nights at Freddy’s, for instance, was a simple game that has captured the hearts of many players over the last few years. This has slowly evolved into a movie courtesy of Blumhouse Productions and is set for release in October 2023. There are also TV series, like The Last of Us, that were originally games.
It is a trend that shows increasing acceptance by mainstream media of the gaming industry in recent years. Observers across a wide range of outlets and channels are coming to appreciate the unique plots and storylines of many games.
And of course, the lucrative potential of expanding an existing media franchise can’t be overlooked, either. Related merchandise, for instance – such as clothing and toys – could further help make games a more mainstream topic of conversation through 2023 and beyond.
Are you ready to join or make a greater impact in the gaming industry?
Whether you’re a game designer looking to make a new title, or you are interested in learning more about mobile game growth solutions from SuperScale, there could barely be a better moment than now to get involved in the gaming industry.
There is an abundance of games to try out and use as inspiration for your own creations. So, don’t be afraid to look into different innovative projects and see what you could apply to your own titles.
You should also look at different genres and gaming platforms. That way, you can be more confident in creating the most impactful and relevant games possible, perhaps incorporating one or more of the trends we have covered above. Good luck!