The gaming industry is a constant source of technological innovation. During the past few decades, we’ve seen video games transform from being 2D at best to hyperreal, immersive epics. Each new generation of the gaming console has brought with it a raft of exciting new gaming experiences, and we’ve even started to see the rollout of sci-fi concepts like Virtual Reality technology and the Metaverse.
Gaming is now one of the leading entertainment industries in the world. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), over 70% of the US population alone engages with digital games for at least one hour a day, whether across console, PC, or mobile. Several statistics even suggest that around thirty-eight percent of the world’s population plays games on a regular basis.
As well as being an entertainment behemoth — and a professional vocation, if we take professional gaming and eSports into account — gaming has also started to have a marked impact on several other industries. The corporate world is leaning increasingly towards gamification, while the tech developments pioneered in the gaming realm have broken through into the mainstream. The impact of gaming is far-reaching, which is why it makes sense to stay on top of the burgeoning trends in the industry as the decade continues to unfold.
With 2024 on the horizon, we can expect even greater levels of immersion and realism in digital gaming experiences, while the following core gaming trends will likely achieve dominance.
Classic Games Get a Digital Makeover
While gaming today is defined by bleeding-edge innovation, the roots of even the most complex digital game can be traced back to those leisure activities we humans have played for millennia. Traditional games have been and always will be a central part of the gaming industry since their appeal is far-reaching, and, for many gamers, they deliver a sense of nostalgia. Casino games, for instance, have made the successful transition to the digital world, with online slots games even being more popular than their brick-and-mortar counterparts in some territories. In 2024, it’s looking likely that board games will be having their moment.
Social media is a key driver of what’s hot and what’s not, and we can thank TikTok for bringing online board games into the spotlight. Due to their rising popularity with the “switched-on” generation, the digital board games sector has grown by as much as 29% since Q4 2020.
Generative AI and Extreme Immersion
Gaming certainly isn’t without its contradictions, and this next trend takes things from one end of the spectrum to another. Modern gamers can’t get enough of immersive online experiences, and with advances being made in both gaming hardware and programming software, we’ll likely see a big focus on the production of even more immersive content from the big development studios.
Artificial Intelligence is currently leading the way when it comes to stretching the limits of just what’s capable in game development. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that this advanced technology is here to stay, and gaming studios are embracing it wholeheartedly. Generative AI is a tool now being used to create everything from vast gaming environments to dynamic storylines, which feature conversational NPCs and believable narratives.
Hardware power will support the continued progression of extended reality enhancements, with the latest generation of gaming PCs, monitors, and peripherals being primed to unleash techniques like Ray-Tracing in real-time.
Gaming On Demand
When gaming first made the transition to the digital realm, subscription models seemed like a groundbreaking innovation. Nowadays, they’re pretty much par for the course, with players able to get their hands on subscription services regardless of the device they’re using to play — as well as PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live for the major consoles, subscription models like Nintendo Switch Online are soaring in popularity. What’s next for the gaming on-demand sector, then?
Well, it may have already started to emerge over the past few years, but cloud gaming looks set to go mainstream in 2024. Companies are learning from the failure of Google Stadia, which was nevertheless backed by first-rate tech, and have tailored gaming-on-demand offerings to meet the specific needs of the modern gamer. Netflix has jumped feet first into the market by providing downloadable gaming content, while NVIDIA has ramped up the accessibility of the average player’s existing gaming library with its GeForce Now service. As a central character in the blossoming cross-platform play concept, cloud gaming is all set to usher in a new age of gaming.