Indies, diversity lead video game trends

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By Heather Spataro

Video games have become an intrical part of the world; a poll done by Statista in 2021 shows that there are 3.2 billion gamers around the world with nearly 300 million coming from North America. With the amount of influence video games have, let’s look at the current trends in the gaming industry.

Indie games have crashed into the spotlight with major hits like Among Us and Stardew Valley becoming wildly popular. Most Indie games do not become very sought after among the public as they are not from name brand companies, rather independent publishers.

However, Stardew Valley showcased that indie games are a force to be reckoned with, as the game almost made it to the best sellers list. As of September 2021 the game has sold 15 million copies

This success for indie games can be attributed to having  new platforms to distribute their games such as Steam.

Not only do indie games have Steam, but there is also a rise in other online video game stores. Steam has been the major online game store for many years because of the first mover advantage. However, there are other websites that are competing for that top spot.

Websites like The Epic Game Store and GOG.com are putting their hats in the ring. Epic Games is also advocating for their Unreal Engine which allows game designers to buy assets to build their own levels.

With two new options to broadcast their content, indie companies have more of a chance to showcase their games to more people.

Diversity is another major factor coming into play for the video game industry. With titles such as  The Last of Us Two and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey featuring female protagonists, there is a rise in having more representation in games. About 30% of game designers are female, still making the industry itself male dominated.

However, the split between who plays video games is almost an even one, with 55% of players being male and 45% being female. So, the heat is on when it comes to producing games that connect with different kinds of people.

A popular RPG (Role Playing Game) called Kingdom Come: Deliverance was even criticized for the lack of minorities in the game world. This encouraged  game companies to be more mindful of who is filling  their worlds of wonder. 

Along with diversity and indie games becoming major topics in the game industry, there is also the emergence of more efficient gaming.

With rising technologies such as clouds, companies are able to offer cloud gaming. When one streams their video game from remote servers to a device as compressed video frames reacting to the player’s inputs that is known as cloud gaming. 

This allows for players to be able to play games without all the expensive hardware, and be able to bypass the long wait times it takes to download a game from an online store.

Game companies are also working  to introduce early access games. According to Josh Howarth from Exploding Topics, currently about 15% of games on Steam offer early access.

This feature is a win-win for both the game developers and the players. As gamers get to play new games months or even years before the official release, and the developers get to receive feedback that could shape how they proceed with the rest of the game.

From the looks of it, games aren’t going away anytime soon; so be on the lookout for industry shifts and exciting new technology as the number of gamers is expected to increase.