June 25, 2016
Video gaming is big business. It’s reach spans various demographics. It has established pop culture ties, and has become a way for people to relate to and interact with one another. It is also an industry where things are continually changing. Here are some trends that are defining the future of video gaming.
Parents Are Less Resistant to Gaming Than Ever
“I don’t understand these weird games with all of the sounds and effects! I wish my kids would go play baseball like we did!” If you were raised by a boomer, you probably heard that sentiment more than once about video games. Things are changing though. Many millennials and members of the subsequent generation grew up with parents who were and are avid gamers. As a result, kids are likely to be introduced to gaming at a younger age, and are likely to be able to understand interfaces more easily. On the other hand, they are likely to be more discriminating when it comes to quality of user experience.
Gamers Are Becoming More Involved in Design
Games like Minecraft, Animal Crossing, SIMS, Super Mario Maker, and others are becoming more and more popular because gamers are given the opportunity to take part in designing their own experiences. They create their own mods, develop their own characters, and in some cases are given open source access to create and then share those creations with others.
Indie Games Are Going Mainstream
Once upon a time, if you wanted your game to get mass play, you had to be associated with a big development house and served up to the public by one of the big 3 console developers. This is changing rapidly. Now, there are gaming platforms such as Zynga and Steam that are giving independent game developers a way to get their product out to the public. The recent gamers are becoming more involved in the development process as video game schools and online courses are getting more widespread and affordable. Some successful examples of hot indie games include, UnderTale, Diner Dash, Team Fortress, Civilization, and Fallout 4.
Older Generations Are Embracing Gaming
While they may have grumbled about the gaming habits of their kids, many Baby Boomers are now embracing gaming via social media. Many gaming platforms are now offering up games that the older generation are familiar with such as Scrabble, Yahtzee, and other low intensity games that don’t require dealing with complicated interfaces. In addition to this, these games often include a chat feature that gives ‘silver gamers’ the chance to interact with one another while playing. This creates opportunities for socialization that members of the older generation might be missing.
AR VR and Other Technologies Take Gaming Off of the Screen and Into Real Life
The release of Oculus Rift is a sign of big changes in the gaming industry. Although, Oculus Rift isn’t the only player, Google Cardboard and a variety of other technologies are making augmented and virtual reality accessible to the general public. One example of this, that is getting gamers excited worldwide is Pokemon Go.
Trolling Is Becoming Less and Less Acceptable
The sad truth is that until very recently, multi-player, online gaming was a haven for trolls. Players could unload a wide variety of racist, sexist, or threatening epithets often with little to no repercussions. Much of this was because of the perception that most online gamers were teenage boys and young men, and the behavior was accepted as ‘boys will be boys’ or being tolerable as long as companies were making money. Today, because online gamers span a wide variety of demographics, companies are finally realizing that it behooves them to shut down this kind of activity.
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