Let’s take a look back at the year that was. A rough year for many, especially MMOs. Still, the game industry continues to move forward and games remain a multi-billion dollar industry. MMOs still make tremendous amounts of money, now through cash shops and in game purchases, it seems like the full formula of a successful community has finally come into being. However, the industry needs to catch up to what some companies have already figured out. So, let’s look at some of the big game events that shaped 2016.
5. Legion and Overwatch
Blizzard’s one two punch dealt a knockout blow to most of 2016. Not only did they launch Overwatch to legions of fans, no pun intended. They also let their WoW community know they were not forgotten and launched a successful expansion in Legion. They closed the year with a very smart BlizzCon announcing the Overwatch League and will move even further into esports next year. Right now, it seems like Blizzard can do no wrong, but they have to follow up on some big stuff this year. Hopefully we will see 2017 grow for them as well.
4. Heavensward and Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy fans get it. The community is huge and passionate. Square Enix had one of its top years in 2016 and nothing is slowing down. Heavensward was launched as a successful expansion and we watched as the room filled at Pax East for Yoshi to talk about upcoming announcements. Then Square closes the year with XV and does a fantastic job delivering another great RPG. It is a fun time to be a fan of this franchise. After these two great success stories, let’s see what Square has in store for next year!
3. Indie MMOs Continue
Crowd funding seems to have gone away from being the hot trend, yet indie MMOs continue. As a full matter of fact, indie games continue to baffle the game market and consumers. As consoles become more like steam, and more indie games launch with Sony and Microsoft, you are now starting to see games everywhere and more available. The big AAA titles don’t seem to have the clamp on console’s they once had. Now, gamers are looking everywhere to find something good to play. It really is a new age with graphics and styles melding into a new landscape where solid game play wins the day. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the indie market in 2017 to see where things go.
2. VR is dead, long live VR
Virtual Reality launched and the world celebrated. Here we are in 2016, and the world does not really know what to do. VR will be huge, it will change entertainment in the future. However, right now the public just does not seem ready for it. Perhaps it is too expensive, or people just are not on board with the idea. For whatever reason it seems like jumping into Sword Art Online will have to wait a while longer.
1. Pokemon Go
By far the game of the year goes to Pokemon Go. Even if you played it for a week and stopped like me, everyone played it. It can be seen as another breakthrough into the full world for gaming. Mobile has been growing and continues to build a lot of really great games, it will be fun to see what comes of the mobile market in 2017. For now though, let’s not forget the summer that was Pokemon Go. The game launched on a Wednesday and by Monday it was on the evening news everywhere. No one has really tried to recreate the formula, but it will be great fun to play some kind of fantasy RPG this way one day.