The video gaming industry is no longer intended just for the casual gamer, as was the case in the past. Sure, a lot of people still enjoy playing games for fun, but there are those who approach this concept far more competitively. Some people have ambitions to turn gaming into a profession, either as top-tier competitors (in e-sports tournaments and competitions) or in entertainment (as streamers). Indie games are becoming a bigger and bigger part of the industry but all of this is just the tip of the iceberg of trends and changes that are yet to come. So, here’s a brief recap of the situation in the gaming industry in 2021.
1. More platforms than ever
The first thing worth mentioning is the fact that there are currently more gaming platforms than ever before. Sure, consoles like Xbox and PS have always been huge in this industry, right alongside PC. However, nowadays, mobile games are getting more and more serious and consoles like Switch are also not to be taken lightly. The variety of choices is always a good thing, seeing as how each of these gaming platforms has something new and unique to offer to the industry. Not to mention the VR support that is expected to become huge in the following years. In terms of numbers alone, mobile gaming is just huge.
2. Indie games
Thanks to platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon, promising indie developers are getting enough funding to release higher-quality games. The best thing about this is the fact that the gaming community has much more direct involvement in video game development than it otherwise would. They participate in polls; some even get selected to act as beta testers for these games. Most importantly, it allows the real talent to shine. In the industry that is getting more corporate and disconnected from its target audience, this could turn out to be a major revolution.
3. E-sports are getting ridiculously big
E-sports have started out as quite an underestimated trend, yet, now these games are getting a ridiculous amount of attention as of recently. This has resulted in the celebrity status of e-sports stars, which are now starting to act like traditional athletes.
Instead of logging in to play from their homes after school, these are full-time gamers that we’re talking about, living in team houses and having regular training sessions on a daily basis. They also tend to look after their physical condition (in order for it not to slow down their cognitive abilities) and even pay attention to their nutrition. Proper meals and energizing gamer drinks are now a huge part of the daily routine of any successful gamer.
Pro gamers are also people with a huge following on social media and streaming platforms, which makes them more interesting for sponsors and interviewers alike. These young men and women are an inspiration to younger generations, more and more of which dream of following in their footsteps.
4. The problem with unfinished games
If you ask any gamer to single out the single biggest plight of the gaming industry in 2021, they are most likely to go for – unfinished game releases. Cyberpunk 2077 turned out to be a bitter disappointment for a lot of gamers. Even though the game wasn’t as bad as some reviewers made it out to be, it was still missing a lot of features that were promised in early announcements and trailer (even gameplay trailer) releases.
Paradox’s latest Europa Universalis IV release – Leviathan DLC, was also quite disappointing (to put it mildly). Reasons for these occurrences are still a matter of speculation. Some believe that there is a massive gap between the management and the people actually developing games. This makes release dates unrealistic, which means that games are getting released underdeveloped and undertested. All in all, these two games are sadly just two drops in the ocean of unreleased games by major studios.
5. Games that just won’t die
If there’s one thing that cult classic RTS Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, has taught us, it’s the fact that a game with an active community can never really die. This was a game that was played competitively with no active support or updates by the developers. All of this turned several years ago with the unexpected announcement of expansion (14 years after the release of the original game). Since then, there were several released expansions with updates and patches every few months.
This is hardly a surprise, seeing as how we live in an era of video game revamps. Classics like Mass Effect Trilogy (we still like to pretend Andromeda never really happened), Diablo II, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and more are getting their own remastered versions. In other words, for the first time in a long while, the developers have heard the cries of the gaming community.
Overall, the video gaming industry is bigger than it ever was in the past. Due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people rediscovered their passion for gaming, some of which will keep up with this hobby long after the pandemic is no more. The diversity of the industry is greater than ever, as well. Therefore, even though the industry itself has some flaws and problems, things are definitely looking up.