2022 was an amazing year for gaming with many great things happening. Some notable events include the easing of the chip shortage which meant PlayStation 5s, Xbox Series Xs, and PC graphics cards were all much easier to come by than in 2021, and the confirmation that GTA VI is in advanced development.
We saw some great releases, including EA’s final installment of FIFA, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and the smash hit Elden Ring.
Those that enjoy casino games have also had plenty to celebrate as, in addition to a continual stream of new slot games, many iGaming brands, like Mr Bet, have been running bonus online casino offers to welcome new players.
But that’s all in the past now and, with the New Year upon us, it’s time to press the big reset button. Of course, it’s not just the calendar that will be changing either, many of us will be setting New Year’s resolutions, setting new goals to achieve in the 12 months ahead, and even choosing a new hobby to add some variety to our lives.
The start of a new trip around the sun usually also ushers in new fashion trends. According to Pantone, 2023 will be the year of “Viva Magenta”, a color that it describes as having a “balance between warm and cool”. Meanwhile, lace, animal prints, and utility are expected to be popular among those that love to have the freshest looks.
These won’t be the only trends we see in 2023, though. Just as in fashion and graphic design, there are trends that naturally occur in the world of gaming.
In recent years, we have seen them come and go. For example, following the sudden explosive success of Flappy Bird in 2014, dozens of copycat titles began popping up in the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Similarly, in late 2021, we saw Wordle become a viral hit among players, leading many developers to create similar games but often with a particular focus, such as Sportword and Lordle of the Rings.
So what trends can we expect to see in 2023? Let’s take a look.
When you hear the words “streaming” and “video game” together, you probably think of Twitch or YouTube – services where players can broadcast their gaming sessions to others. This format has grown in popularity in recent years with some streamers now earning millions of dollars from their broadcasts.
That type of streaming is still going strong and continues to grow thanks to the booming interest in esports.
But another type of gaming also exists, one that goes much further than simply beaming a video feed from one gamer to another (or many others).
Launched to much fanfare just a few years ago in November 2019, Google Stadia was dubbed by many as the “Netflix for games”. Instead of buying a console and only being able to play your games on that one device, Stadia made it possible for players to access their libraries from just about any computer, smartphone, tablet, or a smart TV that was connected to the web.
Stadia isn’t alone. Both Microsoft and Nvidia also have products that work in a similar way, though these are not standalone services but rather augmentations of a much larger ecosystem.
In January 2023, Google will be switching off Stadia and refunding players for all of their hardware and software purchases.
The tech giant cited “a lack of traction” as the reason for this decision, but technical limitations have meant that Stadia has always offered a playing experience that doesn’t quite match that of gaming PCs and consoles. The most notable of these was input lag, which saw delays between the player pressing a button and the action being completed on screen.
While no other company has yet to follow Google, it’s entirely possible we could see more of this in 2023 as players continue to be unwilling to compromise on a quality experience.
Online casinos have been around for nearly 30 years. They were theorized for decades leading up to the creation of the first, but it was the passing of the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act of 1994 in Antigua and Barbuda that allowed the first iGaming sites to swing open their virtual doors.
Today, there are thousands of sites that offer players the opportunities to play classic table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as more modern creations like video slots.
Most online casinos now offer their players hundreds or even thousands of different gaming options, allowing them to cater to almost every taste. In doing so, they’ve attracted millions of new players to try iGaming for the first time, leading to a boom in online wagering over the last decade.
Competition is strong among companies, however, and it looks like it will only become more fierce in 2023 as they look to build their market share in this crowded space. Evidence of this can already be seen in the fact that many offer bonus promotions already, while others have invested heavily in sponsoring sports teams and leagues.
The way that we enjoy video games has changed several times over the years. We’ve gone from shoving coins into arcade machines in exchange for a few minutes of playing time, to owning PCs and consoles that can run games at home, to having a pocket-sized computer with us at all times so that we can play whenever and wherever we want.
The way we pay for video games has changed too, with publishers adding more and more opportunities for in-game purchases to their content. This started out with map packs and the occasional updates to characters or weapons that allowed an existing title to be fun for longer, but it has quickly evolved into a model for “gaming as a service”.
Games that are designed in this way are often referred to as “free to play” because players can download, install, and play them without spending money. However, they’re not entirely free as they offer the option of paying for additional content or a season pass.
Some of the most popular games in the world right now are completely free to download and play in this way. This includes Fornite, League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Call of Duty: Mobile and Candy Crush, some games, like PUBG have been turned into free-to-play games after several years of a more traditional monetization model.
Several of the biggest video game publishers now earn a significant portion of their income from these “recurring transactions”.
It’s still growing too. In November last year, Take-Two Interactive, the company that publishes Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, announced that its “recurrent consumer spending” increased by 95% year-on-year.
That’s a trend that’s going to be hard to reverse, so we can expect it to continue throughout 2023 and many years in the future.
Virtual reality gaming has been on the rise over the last decade thanks to the efforts of Oculus (now part of Meta) and Sony.
Both of these companies have popular VR headsets that have been on sale for some time, but they’re both in the process of updating their product ranges. In the case of Sony, it will be launching its PlayStation VR 2 in early 2023, while Meta has recently launched its Quest Pro headset and is believed to be gearing up to announce the Quest 3, a sequel to the incredibly popular Quest 2.
To coincide with these launches, we can expect a flurry of VR game releases in the coming months. This will include Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures, Low-Fi, Undead Citadel, and Vertigo 2 which are due to go on sale in the coming months.
New hardware releases will mean more people buying headsets for the first time, so we can expect Sony and Meta’s efforts to be rewarded.