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Game Dev Trends

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Game Dev Trends

AR/VR are the most significant changes in game development even though it’s still early in their development lifecycles.

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To gather insights on the current and future state of Game Development, we talked to eight executives involved in game development in some form or another. Here’s who we spoke to:

Here's what they told us when we asked, "What are the most significant changes to game development in the last year or two?"

AR/VR

  • VR and mixed reality are changing the pace of the market. There is great potential in saving resources with VR versus projection domes (180-degree curved wall with as many as 12 projectors) versus a VR headset that runs from $600 to $10,000 and the prices are coming down. A mixed reality where you have a physical cockpit without a dome out the window seeing a virtual world instead.
  • More powerful tools enable developers to create more immersive experiences. AR and VR provide more tools and opportunities. The rise of niche games and independent game producers who are able to self-publish. Seeing more artsy and political games. Apple releasing AR on the new iPhone is making it easy for game developers to hack away at cool apps and games. VR has broken through in the art community and now has its own category.
  • Technology. The technology along with evolving user experience is constantly pushing forward and ever-changing, but in the last year or two, I would say the big things that are starting to impact Game Dev are AR and VR. Not only is it a new medium for games, but the technology is being used on the development side to change how the games are designed and built. Unreal Engine VR mode and Unity EditorVR are examples of this.
  • It’s a constantly evolving market. Mobile games are a different market. Different segments of the industry are seeing different trends. A couple of trends are the rise of physical and digital games and augmented reality.
  • VR is probably the single biggest, it is becoming an aspect of just about every project. After that would be streaming, it has been around for a while but now we have to think about it in the earliest stages of planning. How will players show our games to other players? Streaming is great because it gets whole new audiences and players into the game.

Interactivity

  • More interactivity among gamers – especially in poker, first-person shooter games, and role-playing games. You must be able to see facial expressions when playing poker. Up to now, there were device limitations. Now we have more powerful devices with little to no latency.

Other

  • I don't think I am qualified to speak to the actual game development methodology or software, but from the design aspect, we continue to see rapid growth in what I describe as emergent storytelling games. While not new, there's a massive industry-wide focus on creating a sandbox in which the players can set their own narratives. Be that in a survival game or just a game of exploration. We've seen a big schism between these and narrative heavy games. On that flip side, narrative-heavy games are really seeing growth as well. We're talking about games that are nearly all narrative in nature, from visual novels to RPGs, we've seen real and sustained growth from genres that are more about storytelling. Though it's been a long time, I feel this was kicked off by The Stanley Parable and reinforced by the rising popularity of Visual Novels in western culture. On cRPGs, we saw a big kick-off by games like Divinity: Original Sin and the (in my opinion, lackluster) rebirth of Wasteland 2 and has been sustained by games like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity. These cRPG opuses were once all but extinct and show that there's plenty of gamers out there who want to be told a story, easily just as many as those who want to create their own as above.

  • Microtransactions, like loot boxes, for PC, mobile, and AAA console games. The trade-off of trust for wealth building. “Slot machine” economics for standard gameplay is an important fork in the road. Physical digital is arising for game development. ESports is significant. It’s still early for AR/VR.
  • It’s constantly evolving. There’s more focus on mobile. There are more offline capabilities for playing while on a plane or in a subway.
  • Certainly, the rise of mobile and the change in the gaming ecosystem that comes with it has been the single most influential shift in the games industry in recent years. With the controlling environment the app stores present, there is really only two or three places where a game can be promoted, which is an enormous shift for an industry that is used to having thousands of places to promote a game. If you can make it to the top of the app store, you can make hundreds of millions of dollars, but if you’re ranked in the thousands, you’re making nothing. It’s a shift the industry as a whole is still grappling with. That said, as a developer of web-based games with a backend platform built in a Flash-based code, the demise of Flash has impacted FlowPlay more than any other single change. Flash has finally reached the point that it is no longer well supported inside browsers, so for the last two years, we have been in an exercise to move away from Flash.

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Topics:
game development ,web dev ,augmented reality ,virtual reality

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