As I look into 2017, the landscape is just not what we have seen in recent years. Games continue to build, but the trend for the next year is going in very different directions from the past. Indie games will continue to push through but overall, there seems to be a lot missing from our normal New Year game menu. Is it because companies are finally reaching a point where they are unwilling to invest in games. Have all of the top publishers fallen off to rely strictly on sequels? Let’s look at a few points from 2016 that will shape how you’re going to play in 2017.
The Lack of Big Console Titles
Normally we have an endless supply of huge console games on the market. Most of these are not MMOs, but some form of mixed RPG, shooter, story mode, adventure games. Next year seems to have a lot fewer titles in the past. Mass Effect is coming, but the team has a lot to answer for after their last outing. Horizon: Zero Dawn continues to be sold to us, and as cool as giant robot dinosaurs are, I foresee another No Man’s Sky coming. So, yes the hype machine has died this past year. Players are smarter and more unwilling to invest their time on over bloated games that offer little thought. You see, as the gaming generation grows, so does their knowledge and entertainment expectations. If this trend continues, it will be much harder for companies to launch epic AAA titles without meeting a much higher level of expectations. This ultimately ends well for all of us, but not anytime soon.
Another console trend is the move of popular PC games. I almost titled this article “Where do you play your MMO?” because that has been a successful trend for companies. The new consoles have made MMOs playable again and people do not realize just how well they have done. Quietly, the console MMO has done extremely well. The PC market is still strong with Steam and other sales almost endless. However, more MMOs are now on the console and people are beginning to make the shift. Curious, if bigger games like World of Warcraft will ever make the leap, I doubt it though, but you never know.
The Mobile Market
When you start seeing esports events around mobile games you know there is a growing trend coming. Games like Clash Royal, Pokemon Go, and Reigns have made loads of money this past year. All simple, all very successful titles. However, the mobile market which was once a home to indies and hidden gems has turned into a much more mainstream driven market. The app stores are flooded with endless titles produced all over the world. It is near impossible to hunt for good games. You do see the power of companies like Tencent who purchased Supercell coming into play. It is interesting to watch, but the mobile market hits on something other games do not. They do break into full popular culture.
I still think we have yet to see a massive MMO come onto mobile that will sweep everyone up. As many companies have tried to recreate Warcraft on the phone, nothing seems to have come close yet. It will be interesting if a mobile developer has the courage to make this type of big game play and push people into a world all day long. The big difference is, when WoW launched, you could not play at work. Mobile offers that, but the game has not been launched yet to truly capture the MMO market on mobile.
If you thought esports were big in 2016, they are going to explode into 2017. As gamers we’re already involved to a large degree, but will esports be able to make the leap into mainstream? Some would argue that it already has. I think esports is a generational trend, it will go with the new generation that loves it. As much as old gamers appreciate it and enjoy watching the tournaments. We still like to dig deep and play. That is not to take anything away from esports, I am very excited about the future. The interesting trend to watch is how it will effect MMOs. Perhaps you will see more live streams of top guilds and content similar to esports in the future.
Those are just a few of the main points looking at gaming over the next year. All these trends are interesting to follow as you can never discount the break out hits. For 2017, I am most excited for Crowfall and how the game does, here’s hoping the team knock’s it out of the park and MMOs reach the top of the menu again.