Sure, there are still a few weeks left of gaming to enjoy here in 2023, but we’re already thinking ahead to what’s in store for the industry in 2023. Gaming is now the world’s most popular form of at-home entertainment and is even making strides into live entertainment – thanks to the huge success of Fornite et al s virtual concerts – and competitive sports. With the industry expecting to pull in $159.3 billion in revenues this year, you could be forgiven for thinking that gaming has reached its peak in popularity and innovation.
Well, if the key trends lining up to steer the industry in 2023 are anything to go by, you’d be dead wrong. Gaming has established itself as a dominant tech sector, and it’s not going away any time soon, regardless of how many unfortunate fads the industry does, on occasion, sprout. 2023 will be another big year for gamers and gaming, and here are four of the top trends we expect to see having the most significant impact.
1. Premium Titles will Dominate Video Gaming
There’s been a growing trend amongst games development studios to push back release dates on their major titles to ensure extra development time. While this has been something of an inconvenience, nevertheless, players worldwide have been glad to know that, when they do get their hands on a big new release, it’ll be the top-quality version.
Additionally, the delays experienced throughout 2023 mean that 2023 is set to bring a tsunami of premium releases. In particular, the year is going to be a big one for RPGs, with the likes of Baldur’s Gate 3, Final Fantasy 16, Diablo 4 and Starfield scheduled to hit our consoles and PCs during the coming 12 months.
So far, a total of seventeen titles have been given confirmed release dates from publishers, including AAA games like EA’s Wild Hearts, Star Trek: Resurgence and the remake of Resident Evil 4 – set to hit our small screens on March 24th. But that’s not all! We’re still waiting on release dates for over thirty new games, several of which carry the premium banner, including Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Minecraft Legends, Assasin’s Creed: Mirage and the highly-anticipated Street Fighter 6.
2. iGaming Pushes Ahead with Ongoing Development
The iGaming sector may currently be an established market in the global gaming industry, but real money casino, poker and sports betting gaming are set for even further growth and development in 2023.
Firstly, the sector will likely expand even further across US states. The past few years have seen several online gaming platforms launch in Pennsylvania, Michigan and north of the border in Ontario, Canada. Respected gaming operator PokerStars Casino, for instance, has expanded its portfolio to encompass the UK, Europe and several states in North America.
In terms of innovation in iGaming, we can expect to see advanced technologies playing an increasingly significant role during the next 12 months if the exhibits at the 2023 SiGMA conference were anything to go by. Global operators presented next-generation games running on augmented reality alongside fully customisable platforms supporting self-service channels.
3. The Evolution of Crypto Gaming
Speaking of innovation, we will see the newest phase of crypto and blockchain gaming kick in during the first few months of the year and then expand throughout the rest of 2023. Looking at the current state of crypto gaming, there’s a big focus on P2E and NFT gaming – which is no surprise, given that NFTs are surging in popularity across several industries and sectors. However, the outlook for 2023 seems to point to crypto gaming becoming more like traditional digital gaming in that players will be logging on to play for fun rather than to play to earn.
This is a sentiment boosted by major developments in the sector. Epic Games, one of the most prominent video game developers and publishers in the world right now, has officially launched the blockchain-enabled Blankos Block Party on the Epic Games Store.
While created by third-party developers Mythical Games, nevertheless, the presence of Blankos alongside Epic’s mega-hit Fornite is a clear indication of where NFT and crypto gaming will be heading in the months to come.
Epic isn’t the only mainstream gaming company to get involved with gaming on the blockchain, however. Rockstar Games, the publisher behind monster franchises Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, has made a third-round funding investment into Revolving Games’ newest blockchain venture.
Moving forward, blockchain gaming will prioritise easy adoption, ensuring that even non-crypto users can access and play gaming content while investing more resources into high-quality, engaging graphics and audio – two attributes that are somewhat lacking in the current crop of crypto games.
4. Mobile Gaming Reaches a New Level
If you know anything about gaming, you’ll know that mobile is the most popular gaming industry segment. Since 2018, mobile has consistently generated more revenue than PC and console gaming combined and currently accounts for over 52% of the market share. And no wonder, given that mobile is one of the easiest and most cost-effective gaming platforms to engage with.
Like the gaming industry as a whole, the mobile segment doesn’t stand still and continually embraces growth and innovation. In many cases, mobile can progress at a faster rate than other segments – given the lightweight nature of mobile app development, for instance, and the rapid pace at which new technologies impact the segment.
The next level for the mobile gaming sector lies in the direction of premium games development and mobile multiplayer/eSports. The capabilities of mobile devices as gaming platforms have improved substantially in recent years, and smartphones and tablets now have the facility to compete on the same level as consoles and PCs for graphics and gameplay. As such, both developers and publishing companies are striving to create console-quality games for on-the-go.
Premium quality doesn’t just apply to the look and feel of the game; it also extends to what players can do within gaming worlds. Naturally, this will encompass a shift towards more multiplayer mobile games and eSports titles being released in the coming months.