Gaming Trends 2015

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 New year, new opportunities. This goes for the gaming world as well. What exactly happens no one knows but we can make an educated guess. So we scoured the internet for every bit of information and what might happen in the gaming world in the next twelve months.

clash of clans Screenshot

Clash of Clans is still the most successful mobile game of our time.

Mobile Games

Games on smartphones and tablets will continue to to grow, just like the years before. There are still people flocking to those platforms to get their gaming fix and this will only see an uptick in the coming twelve months. The most important aspect about this is perhaps the power of mobile games to pull in non-gamers as well. All this is possible because those games still follow a very strict design principle: simple is best. So the games coming out for phones and tablets are more time wasters than intricate games on consoles or PC. This still works wonders for the industries with steadily rising revenue streams. With the ever improving hardware more complex games are possible. So it might be only a matter of time until we see more games with compelling stories and complex gameplay mechanics that actually last for a few hours. Maybe 2015 is the year we witness the rise of the AAA mobile game.

Oculus Rift Development Version

This is the prototype that started it all – the Oculus Rift.

Virtual Reality

Meanwhile the PC is making big strides into unknown territory, mainly in form of a new peripheral. The Oculus Rift made them a thing and now headmounted displays promise a bright future in a virtual reality. With the company gobbled up by Facebook last year, the people behind the Oculus Rift now have the financial power to actually make that happen. They are not alone in this though. Competitors sprung up and are now presenting their own version of the data headset. While hardware limitations always put a stop to our dreams about engaging virtual worlds, this year might be the time we finally see this being changed. The only thing missing is a truly unique way to experience this whole new thing. While the hardware makes big strides forward, we hardly saw anything dedicated specifically to those headsets and virtual reality when it comes to software.

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GTA V is a prime example of an AAA title that delivered what it promised.

AAA vs Indie

Many people saw them failing over the last few years and when they do it usually hurts someone’s wallet. According to a lot of predictions floating around the internet, AAA titles aren’t the moneymakers they used to be. While their production costs skyrocketed in the last decade, their “guaranteed” success sometimes just wasn’t there. Slowly the Indies are taking over. “Minecraft” is probably the best example. A small game developed by an independent team turned into a huge hit over night. Programs like Steam Greenlight help small studios to bring their games to the masses without going through a publisher as a middle man. While AAA titles gulp up huge sums, they have to be successful. Indies on the other hand don’t have these kinds of problems. Financing them became easier as well with the rise of crowdfunding platforms.

Steam Interface Screenshot

Steam is the go-to platform for digital distribution on the PC.

Digital is king!

Steam is a good hook to start talking about digital distribution. When it comes to PC games, downloading them seems to be the normal thing now. With convenient platforms like steam, games can be downloaded from anywhere anytime, given you can access your account. Especially indie developers use this method to get their games into the (digital) hands of willing gamers. Even consoles are going this way already with the different stores and online options introduced with the last console generation. Yet the PC is still the leading platform in this and with ever accelerating internet speeds this is a trend that is very likely to become commonplace.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 is the current leader in the battle of the consoles.

Consoles come to a halt

Home consoles enjoyed glorious years in the sun since the turn of the millennium. They brought gaming in so many households and made it a force to reckoned with. Now their popularity seems to come to a halt, unless their makers think of something quite different. The console market is supposedly stagnant and 2015 might see hardly any increase in hardware sales. Why is that? Well, probably the entertainment landscape changed dramatically. The focus is not on the TV anymore but on streamed content and the internet. With more and more people browsing on mobile devices, this content can be accessed from anywhere. A stationary gaming system seems to be counterintuitive in comparison. So console manufacturers need to think of a way to make this kind of gaming format to be relevant again.

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Daniel

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