As the year closes in on the end of the second financial quarter, predictions for the future of gaming are becoming clearer.
Many things in the gaming industry are changing including all kinds of fluctuations with what seems like a new device or preferred process every month. But some things stay the same. In this article we’re going to look at a few important trends for the coming year.
Here are our best guesses at the industries top trends for 2015.
Free-to-Play Mobile Games
Remember the winding snake game on your old Nokia cell phone, circa 1999?
That game, despite its simplicity and mind-numbing addictive powers, was a pre-cursor to today’s free game apps available on smartphones from the moment of purchase.
People are just as addicted as ever, and with the ease of discovery, ability to interact with friends, and no charge to play, the love just keeps growing.
With more and more of the top cell phone companies offering free smartphones with every new contract or renewal, these games are only going to expand in number and diversity. Plus, many of those same apps are available on tablets and mini-computers.
The tip would be to look to integrate a free game or a free, slimmed down version of your game into smartphones and smartphone software. This way you let the smartphone sellers and data plan providers do the selling for you.
This trend is just plain obvious — wearable technology is the next bold movement in gaming. Combining the physical world with gaming via devices for the body will continue to rise as people begin to embrace the concept.
Of course, Google Glass is one option, but another is a wristwatch style device. Both have their limitations, but kinks will get worked out along the way.
Initially only those who are risk takers and thought leaders will accept wearable devices, but if done well, it will catch on by everyone.
Virtual Reality Simulators
The Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus headsets are two examples of virtual reality simulators that are gaining popularity. Although it hasn’t reached its ceiling, simulators like these are expected to climb the ladder of fame and fortune. Games for these devices are currently being developed. “Words With Friends” co-creator, Paul Bettner, showcased a titled called “Lucky’s Tale” at the recent Los Angeles E3 convention.
Although the general public hasn’t yet embraced this technology, virtual simulators are expected and anticipated by gamers worldwide. Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus makes it poised to reach a huge social audience that will most likely embrace the next big thing.
Business owners and corporations are recognizing the potential to increase sales, encourage repeat customers, and improve reputation via online games added to their websites and mobile sites.
Gamification motivates consumers to remain on a particular website and thereby boosts the selling power of the associate enterprise.
Developers should be prepped for requests from businesses for personalized games suitable for average online users. These users may be less game-savvy than others, so unfussy interfaces and simple commands will dominate.
Emerging Global Markets
Emerging gaming markets in Brazil, Russia, India, and China – commonly referred to as BRIC – have the economic standing to back a budding interest in the gaming industry.
According to a recent Oxford Economics report, the BRIC markets have the capacity to support new industries because they are mostly debt-free and cash-rich. By 2018, China is forecasted to become the world’s largest economic stronghold as measured by purchasing power.
And in Brazil, the leader of the South American and Latin gaming movement, sales of digital games are expected to rise to $2.4 billion in 2015.
There’s no fortune telling magic or crystal balls here, but we do suspect to see the above trends grow for 2015.
More than that, the face of gaming is changing – old and young, educated and average, nerds and fashionistas will all likely encounter gaming in some way during 2015 and beyond.
What is your company doing to keep up?
Are you seeing any additional trends that we missed?
We want to hear from you in the comments!