Talking Point: What Will be the Next Big Craze in the Video Game Industry?

by Gabriel Cavalcanti
Published: Last Updated on

Talking Point is a weekly series that posits a question concerning the gaming industry. We encourage readers, as well as our writers, to offer their thoughts on the topic. Hence the name: Talking Point. Feel free to join in below.

Trends come and go, be they clothing, music, books, films, or even video games. The video game industry, like any other, tends to shift the focus of its products to meet the demand of consumers, which often results in a saturated market. Not long ago first person shooters were all the rage. Then came God of War (2005) and all its clones. In recent years we had interactive adventure games (with Telltale Games leading the front), retro-looking indie games, and open world titles filling the shelves of retailers or cluttering Steam’s storefront.

The open world craze is still fresh. Triple-A publishers seem to favor this gameplay approach in order to meet the demand for a title that justifies its premium price tag. While most of these games present stellar graphics and smooth mechanics, the public has started to notice they follow safe patterns to guarantee over 30 or 50 hours of content. Such patterns include a massive open world in the likes of Grand Theft Auto or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a multitude of repetitive optional objectives that hardly add to the game’s story, and contained exploration—meaning there’s little to no incentive to stray too far from the main course.

Video game industry

Image provided by Oliver Rebbeck.

As much as I enjoy the freedom provided by open worlds, I have to agree with anyone who says there’s just too many of them out there. It seems like every other big release is an open world game and at this point, we already know what to expect from those. The formula is stale and the public is starting to ask for something else, preferably linear. At this rate, it’s difficult not to wonder what the next big thing will be, yet just as difficult to accurately pin it down.

Considering the cries of hardcore gamers and critics, could we start seeing more linear games such as Resident Evil 7? Or perhaps a bigger focus on branching storylines, an approach the industry has been leaning towards for some time now? Can virtual reality finally take off or will we see platformers making a huge splash once again? eSports (be it MOBAs or team-based shooters) became a powerful genre over the past few years, so could it dominate the industry in the near future? Have your say and let us know what you think.

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Ricky D March 24, 2017 - 10:49 pm

I don’t have time to play many massive open worlds games but The Witcher 3 and BOTW are among my favourite games of this decade. That said, I think the market is over-saturated at the moment and I wonder how long before studios stop spending so much on games that take forever to make and are incredibly expensive to produce? How many open world triple titles can companies release and still relatively make a good profit on?

I think one of the reasons why indie games are so popular at the moment is because they are cheap and don’t eat away at too much of your time as a player. For example, I don’t mind spending an extra ten dollars on an indie game that I can play in between my long sessions of Breath of the Wild. But I’m at a point where I no longer want a backlog of games that I spend money on that just sit there and collect dust because there just isn’t enough time in the day anymore to play them all. I honestly think the video game industry makes more money on impulse buying and on games that people don’t play. I mean how many people do you know say they have a backlog of about 50 games they haven’t had time for. It is as if everyone has this obsession in having to buy every game even though they know they don’t have time to play them all. I see this changing in the next five years.

I don’t think virtual reality will ever be as huge as the industry hopes it will be. I see it playing a bigger role in other fields (medicine, live concerts) but not in gaming. If I had to place a bet, I would say the next big craze will be eSprots … which sounds like an obvious answer but I think it hasn’t even met 10 percent of its full potential. If a company like Nintendo uses games like Splatoon and Smash to their full benefit, eSports will be the number one focus of gaming period. I see a future in which we have a channel dedicate solely to eSports. That is the future and that is where most of the money will be made.

Michael J. Riser March 24, 2017 - 10:58 pm

Procedural Overwatch shipping simulators. This is our dark future.

In all honesty, I suspect we’ll see further iteration on the open-world concept. More procedural with much larger and more complex simulations, both tied to gameplay and more as immersion window dressing. Whether VR really takes off or not remains to be seen, but whether it does or not, people are clearly becoming more and more interested in virtual spaces with lives of their own on some level. I think you’ll see more systems like Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System: things that attempt to infuse more lively, interesting frameworks on bigger worlds.

Ricky D March 24, 2017 - 11:06 pm

I honestly don’t see VR taking off. Like i said below, it is making more of an impact outside of the video game industry. It’s all about eSports!

Oliver Rebbeck March 24, 2017 - 11:17 pm

VR has come and gone once again, it was a talking point for a about a month until people realised all the problems with it still basically exist as a gaming platform.

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