Hundreds of game developers, publishers and analysts recently descended on Brighton for the annual Develop conference. There were controversial keynotes, there were talks about how to make money in a rapidly fragmenting marketplace, but there were also some interesting forward-looking sessions, concerned with where the games industry as a whole is heading – not so much in terms of game design, more in the way the sector will operate as a business.
Here, then, are 5 trends, all of which could completely change the way games are made – and played – in the near future.
1. 360 degrees of freedom
According to Nickelodeon’s research, 34% of children under 11 have a tablet, and they are now tending to get their first smartphones as they enter secondary school. “As a result, this ‘swipe generation’ seamlessly navigates between the digital and real world,” says York. “They expect 360 play, where each platform adds something to the experience.”
2. Blurred lines between games and social media
New generation of games is exploiting improvements in broadband connectivity and networking features to make more dynamic social experiences. Minecraft has become a popular venue for friends to meet and talk while working collaboratively, and titles like Destiny and The Crew have emphasised the sense of socialising, sharing and connectivity. Forthcoming co-op titles are likely to build on the idea of multiplayer titles as social rather than just gaming experiences.
3. The spectator experience
n the era of Twitch (120 million viewers a month) and celebrity YouTubers, it’s becoming increasingly important for developers to consider how their games will be viewed as well as played. “The statistics in terms of the hours people spend playing games and watching games, are beginning to tilt toward the latter very quickly,” said industry veteran Ian Baverstock, founder of small publisher Chilled Mouse. “It’s like the MTV moment for the music industry – suddenly you have to have something that is enjoyable to watch.
4. Players as creators
Gamers won’t just be watching development taking place in the future, they’ll be contributing too. A rising number of Kickstarter campaigns are offering backers creative roles in the project, whether that’s appearing as voice actors or helping to compose the music.
5. Mainstream games become services and platforms
Smartphone developers like Rovio, Zynga and SuperCell have turned their games into platforms by reacting to metrics data, tweaking difficulty accordingly, and then adding downloadable additions to their big brands – rather than bringing out regular sequels. This sensibility is now feeding into mainstream console and PC development.
s: The Guardian