The world of online gaming has been in a whirlwind of self improvement and development ever since the first online game was created a million years ago. That may be an exaggeration, however, the main point remains the same. Online games have been around for a quite a long time, and while people often expect the online gaming universe to hit a slump, it constantly proves them wrong.
Online game developers are regularly exploring new horizons whether it be by introducing new game genres, or new playing methods within those genres, or new ways to enhance a player’s gaming experience. So far, the world has been responding well to these developments which encourages more and more developers to get into the game.
Fortunately, technological advancement is always there to pave the way for the online games. First when the internet was launched, and until now as several establishments are pushing the limits for virtual reality; which we will be talking about at a later point in the article. Conquer online, Silkroad online, WolfTeam, and Crossfire; all these were games that we grew up with. They made way for the all the games we know and love now like, League of Legends, Dota 2, and the newest releases, fortnite and PUBG.
In other words, the online gaming universe is connected; each development in a game leads to another in a different game whether it be through an update or a new release. If we actually take the time to study those developments, we would be able to develop several connections and trends. This can help a lot of you who want to get into the game development business, and this is why we will be tracing the most recent online gaming trends coming our way.
Before we begin, you may have noticed that no one developer has a monopoly on online gaming; unlike video games where the market is usually divided among two or three studios. This diversity, in addition to constant technological advancements, are two of the main reasons why online game trends are quite hard to predict since the production game is a free for all (yes, the reference is intended).
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Also known as MOBA, this genre of online games, according to Steam statistics is the genre that generates the most revenue when compared to all the other genres. Once again, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre reigns king over the most popular online gaming genres.
Within the genre, a couple of widely famous games are League of Legends, known among hardcore fans and wannabe gamers as LoL, and its fiercest competitor Dota 2. Between those two there is a huge rivalry with LoL more often than not, taking the lead. What’s more, this rivalry extends to the players, as well.
Other than the fact that LoL’s developers Riot Games declared having around a 100 million active players per month, within the gaming community itself, there are two clans (three if you count the divide among Dota fans themselves). The community is split between LoL supporters and Dota 2 supporters. There is also a faction which prefers Dota to Dota 2 but, that is a topic for another day.
One more proof that MOBA is, in fact, dominating the online gaming market; the most played PC of the year 2017 was LoL. Which, as you can see, is an indicator of how well people are responding to MOBA.
According to the rules of demand and supply, the more people want from something, the more suppliers will provide. So, it looks like MOBA are here to stay for a while. After all, if the formula works, why change it? Developers might as well drain the well completely then, move on.
Despite being second to MOBA, the genre should have been placed on top of the list since, in the foreseeable future, shooters might be taking over the industry.
The shooters genre is a dangerous up and comer. It is rapidly dominating the market, demolishing every other genre in its way. In fact, day in, day out, the game is proving to be a tough number one contender for the title currently held by MOBA. Shooters are expected to dethrone MOBA sooner than later.
After Twitch showed most popular esport game being Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a trend is gradually becoming clearer. LoL has held that title for a decent amount of time, it held up a streak until CS: GO put an end to it.
An incident such as this, despite being a minor victory, is considered by some to predict the future of the online gaming world. In addition to that, the recent release of Bluehole Studios PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, known all around the world as PUBG, is a reason we are starting to believe in these predictions.
In less than a year, PUBG became the 6th most popular game on PC. It held, and still holds, several position among the top played games in Japan, China, the United States and other countries with a large gaming population.
To sum up, games like, PUBG, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive seem to be on the rise. Soon enough they will come face to face with MOBA and we will be there to witness their great showdown.
Massive Multiplayer Online Games and Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing games
MMO and MMORPG for short, the genre seems to be facing a difficulty when it comes to adapting to the current market. Players nowadays are more attracted to fast-paced games, and rapidly flowing events; they are on the hunt for excitement which is not really provided by MMOs.
Although they are not yet on the decline, with the latest statistics, it appears that the genre is close to reaching its peak performance. While World of Warcraft is still popular among gamers and non-gamers, other MMORPGs like, Final Fantasy XIV, Runescape and Guild Wars 2 are not that well-known; you have to be involved with the gaming community somehow to know them.
To be accurate, it is not that easy to acquire statistics when it comes to MMORPGs because most developers prefer not to share numbers of their active users. On the other hand, we know that the numbers go through a surge whenever new updates come along, bringing additional content. One of the major influences was that of the World of Warcraft movie that was released a couple of years ago; it resulted in an increase in players’ numbers.
If we were to plot the progress of the genre on a graph then, according to their revenue calculations, when the points are connected together, they would form an upwards curve that is close to reaching a point of stagnation.
VR is the newest technology in the gaming market these days. The biggest developers in the market are now exploring the possibilities of incorporating virtual reality technology into their games.
You may have seen movies; like, Gamer (2009) and Ready Player One (2018) that predicted this happening in a very distant future but, it turns out that this future may not be so distant after all. Despite still not yet dominating the gaming market, experts, as well as shareholders, believe that VR is on what is considered as a runway. As soon as it gains enough momentum, VR is predicted to become a huge success.
Confirming our expectations is Sony which is already pumping money into research and development project for VR technology. In addition, there are already some games which can be played using virtual reality technology such as; Second Life.
Finally, the trend has even reached casino game developers; Livemobile888.com and other online gambling platforms are also exploring the possibilities of adapting their games to virtual reality in order to bring their players the full poker experience.
We have noticed a huge development in the features offered by online casinos. It started off with the basics like, playing against AI opponents, and betting on virtual game tokens but, it has come a long way.
Then, it advanced to becoming all about the adrenaline, making players feel like there is an actual risk, and most of all, real life opponents. Nowadays, the change is much more radical. Developers keep introducing new games; from slots to roulette to dealer games, with new features, attractive plot lines, live dealers, and user interfaces that allow players to be in full control. Other than that, more and more gambling platforms are beginning to introduce the use of real money for bets rather than virtual game tokens.
Another one of the trends overtaking online casinos is skill based gambling. Some people like gambling but, do not particularly enjoy partaking in games that fully depend on luck (probably because they never had it), instead, they prefer games of a more intellectually stimulating nature.
Gambling games that depend on skill and strategy combine the intellectual stimulation with the added challenge of putting money on the line which provides a more appealing choice for people. Online casinos are adding to their game collections Solitaire based games like, Spider, Freecell and 7 Solitaire, as well as other skill-based games; such as, Diamonds, Hearts, Yatzy and Ludo.
Now as you know, some of these games do not require opponents; in these games, money is earned or lost based on certain challenges or tasks that players aim to fulfill within a set time limit, depending on the game. On the other hand, pun intended, games that require opponents are played normally with bets being won by the winner of each game.
The incorporation of gambling within games that depend on strategy proved to be a fruitful experiment. The introduction of skill based gambling games into online casinos is definitely guaranteed to keep attracting the gaming community’s attention for a long time to come. It basically caters to each consumer sector’s preferences; as long as people like it, developers will keep making more games, and the field will grow larger. In simpler terms, online skill based gambling is a trend on the rise.
In spite of the fact that they have been deemed illegal by the Belgian gambling authority, loot boxes are being heavily used in some of the most popular games. Overwatch, PUBG, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and even League of Legends, are using loot boxes which has been noticed to be a cause of conflict.
Players are split downright the middle; there are those who wholeheartedly support loot boxes and the wide selection of items they offer, often dubbing it as a bargain. While on the contrasting side, there are other players who believe loot boxes are too much of a gamble, and that it is an excuse for developers to give out worthless items.
New Payment Options
Lastly, of the trends that have been dominating the online gaming world, one is consistent in every game. Every game usually has some method of payment involved; it is their way of making revenue.
What is new these days is that payment methods have begun to shift from digital methods such as, credit cards, PayPal, and others. After going from physical cash to digital means of payment in the past, payment methods have hugely evolved. Recently, more online games and casinos are making the shift from using credit cards and such, to using Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Taking all what was mentioned above into consideration, it can easily be noted that players these days tend to lean towards action games; first and third person shooter games, to be specific. Modern gamers are mostly attracted to games which trigger a sense of excitement, as well as, risk. From the data we have, it appears that the spotlight in the online gaming world will be focusing on Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, shooter, and skill-based gambling games. As for virtual reality, it seems that it will be a few years until the technology catches on. It seems like we will be stuck with controllers and keyboards for a bit longer.