2022’s Biggest Gaming Trends
Each year, major developers, studios, and investment groups study the latest gaming fads to predict the industry’s future. Ten years ago, VR forecasts flooded tech-gaming publications, but have since slowed down. Today, speculation has shifted more toward blockchain titles, the metaverse, and mobile-first games.
Forbes estimates the global gaming industry is worth around $90 billion in 2022. The growth in video gaming sectors has been bolstered in recent years by the rollout of 5G mobile networks and cloud-based networking.
Looking ahead, gaming will focus on high-speed connectivity via wireless networks. In fact, the bulk of 2022’s biggest gaming trends and releases focus on both mobile devices and cloud streaming. While the metaverse has reinvigorated interest in VR, one of the latest drives in gaming revolves around minimizing hardware—bulky headsets included.
With multiple competing sectors and an ever-revolving release of the latest consoles and devices, gaming trends never quite pan out how the experts predict. Let’s take a closer look at what gamers can expect to see this year, from major players like Microsoft, Sony, Google, and more.
Trend: Virtual Slots
In recent years, slots have gained popularity because they’re more visually dynamic than their predecessors. They include more ways to win with bonus rounds and ‘wild’ symbols. Many players also enjoy vibrant graphics and storytelling elements, which are considered important aspects of the best slots games from top developers.
For example, The Last Empress introduces gamers to a fantasy world that unlocks new levels and symbols as they play. The idea is that slots are now infused with more of a narrative, just like RPG games like Final Fantasy and battle arenas like League of Legends. This creates more dynamism around spinning the wheel.
Trend: Mobile Games
In 2021, Newzoo published a study on the mobile market, which has seen meteoric growth in areas like Southeast Asia in the last five years. The report found that mobile developers had raked in over $90 billion in the late quarter of 2021 (separate from Forbes’ revenue forecast for video games in 2022).
Most of this revenue came from the iOS store, while the rest was split between the Google Play store and third-party Android app stores. This hints that the future of games will be focused on mobile titles for Android devices. It’s also noteworthy that mobile games are slightly different from their video game counterparts, as non-competitive titles.
In other words, ‘casual’ puzzle games like Dots and Threes are going to see more activity, along with simulators like BitLife – Life Simulator and Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector.
Trend: Cloud Gaming
Aside from upgrades to virtual slots and added emphasis on Android mobile games, another trend gamers should keep an eye out for is cloud-based gaming. Typically, gamers have to replace Xbox and PlayStation consoles every five years, then also purchase the latest releases from Microsoft and Sony.
That’s set to change with the rollout of cloud-based gaming, which allows people to stream a title instead of downloading it. This would be possible from a simple smart TV with a web browser like Chromecast. In this case, the spread of 5G will help introduce high-speed connectivity to more homes, which makes cloud gaming possible.
New Title: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
One of the earliest smash hit crossovers in gaming came with Kingdom Hearts, which combined the RPG adventure elements of Final Fantasy with Disney’s long list of lovable characters. The unexpected mashup was mega-successful—and 2022 is about to see another unforgettable crossover.
In early April, TT Games released Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. As implied by the title, the game combines the excitement and storytelling of the Star Wars franchise with the style of the Lego movies. The story covers the original Star Wars heroes but also lets players choose from hundreds of other characters.
There are iconic settings and adventures, which players can opt for at any point in their journey. Though some critics consider the storylines a bit too rushed, the game is being hailed as one of the best Star Wars titles ever released.
New Title: VALORANT Mobile
Above, we covered the emphasis on mobile games and a shift toward casual and non-competitive games. However, it’s important to note that one of the biggest trends in mobile releases is eSports adaptations. VALORANT is one of the most popular eSports played worldwide.
The FPS comes from Riot Games, released in 2019 amid the eSports craze. Since then, the game has notched around 12 million active monthly users, according to Active Player—and it’s now coming to mobile devices.
Riot Games hasn’t yet released a date for the mobile adaptation, though some publications think VALORANT Mobile could be available as soon as this summer. Others maintain the app will be released before the year’s end, or possibly in early 2023.
New Title: Guild of Guardians
Blockchain, though covered less by tech-gaming media, is one of the biggest trends in gaming investment. Game developers interested in blockchain technology are now looking to build titles that incorporate NFTs. The idea is to find a way to insert tokens into a gaming setting—but few projects have managed to make the collectibles fun in a traditional gaming setup.
Guild of Guardians, from StepicoGame, will run on the blockchain platform Immutable X, which handles certain Ethereum transactions. The fantasy game, which includes settings and characters like dungeons and orcs, requires players to collect resources, which are presented as NFTs.
Already, over 200,000 players have registered on a waiting list as the game enters its first stage of limited release. Though NFTs and blockchain are typically restrictive for gamers who don’t have an interest in crypto or an understanding of the technology behind it, Guild of Guardians is free-to-play and rewards players for skill and strategy over prohibitive microtransactions.
The StepicoGame leverages multiple aspects of gaming trends with this project, as it is a cloud-based game that runs on a blockchain device. Though the early players are some of the first gamers to interact with a multi-layer blockchain release, they might very well be on the latest and most enduring frontier in digital gaming.
By Kyle Sepra
Bio: Kyle is a traveler, foodie, and football enthusiast. #footie4life