2019 had a bunch of great games from triple-A titles all the way to newfound indie classics. Each of the three mainline consoles released at least one fan-pleasing exclusive, while mobile gaming continued to go from strength-to-strength, making up an even larger share of the global games market, with 2.4 billion people playing mobile games worldwide in 2019.
Now we’re into the year 2020, and while it’s still early days, there are already signs that a few distinct trends may end up defining this year in gaming.
Pushing back release dates
Not long ago, huge gaming companies like Electronic Arts declared that single-player gaming was dead and that live service gaming was the way forward. Towards the end of 2018, Bethesda released a horrifyingly undercooked live-service version of their most beloved single-player franchise, Fallout 76, and then EA followed suit with the highly-anticipated but incredibly lacking Anthem in 2019.
Having seen the amount of bad press that those games received, studios are thinking twice about releasing games before they are 100 percent ready to hit the market. Only a couple of weeks into 2020, we’ve seen two of the biggest upcoming games delayed until later this year.
First came the news that Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers was being pushed back from May to September. Mere days later, CD Projekt Red announced that one of the most eagerly-awaited games of the last few years, Cyberpunk 2077, was being set back from its April release date to September. This may be a sign of things to come this year, with publishers rightfully wanting to release fully-fledged products and not half-baked, update-later titles that fail their fans.
Mobile gaming to continue to grow in popularity
While mobile gaming is the most popular form of gaming in many countries, some in the western world see it as a lesser form of entertainment. Based on its share of global gaming revenues, though, mobile gaming is not only the most popular but also profitable for developers.
Mobile gamers flock towards games that are free-to-play and feature loot box mechanics, known as gacha games. All of the biggest mobile games right now are gacha games, including Raid: Shadow Legends. These mechanics allow players to play for free, enjoy the game’s universe, but then have the option for players to then give back to the developers if they like the game while also getting in-game elements as a reward for their backing.
It works the other way as well, with people who try the game not needing to pay anything and then being allowed to just jump out without any monetary loss. Given the rate of adoption of these mobile mechanics and the revenues earned for game developers, gacha gaming will only become more prominent through 2020.
Games to launch on Stadia
Google Stadia’s launch was miscalculated, to say the least. But as Google continues to support the platform with more games launching on it this year, it could steadily grow in popularity – particularly when the free subscription model finally launches. That said, the business model still isn’t great, with gamers asked to pay full price for a game they won’t even own as opposed to the much hoped for ‘Netflix for gaming’ model.
In 2020, more studios will be careful about releasing their titles too soon, mobile gaming will continue to be wildly popular, and Stadia may actually find its footing.