2023 Trends Continuing Into The New Year

The Up and Coming Trends for 2024!

2023 had many original, remakes and reboots of games released but there were also many notable changes to the trends towards the end of the year, some of which were a pleasant surprise. This blog will unpack some of the trends that we think are going to bring even many more gifts into the gaming world.

Let’s Get Into It!

As many games and companies aim to widen their reach, we are seeing a large increase in the diversity of customisable characters. With a noticeable increase these past years, it is undeniable that this trend is only going to continue to grow as the industry itself diversifies. Throughout the years many more women- and POC- run studios have been popping up across the world, showing that with diversity comes a greater range of experiences and increased creativity. Furthermore, established teams and studios are also expanding the variety of genders, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds that they will hire. Although this is often considered a “non-issue” in many people’s eyes, having a range of people in all positions at a studio allow more experiences and viewpoints to be shown and heard, enabling games to be made that we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.


There have been many recent examples of how industries have bolstered audiences through increasing internal diversity. Such efforts have successfully fostered connections with international, demographically varied audiences. The heightened accessibility of diverse audiences provided by social media/formal media outlets has proved intercultural communication and understanding a necessity.

Years ago, many people considered or only knew of Steam as the major contender for PC games if you weren’t installing from a CD or directly downloading from the developer’s website themselves. Nowadays, many games are bringing back their own digital launchers or utilising multiple games platforms.

With Steam’s changing policies and saturated game market, lacking any curation it is easy to see why many developers are losing interest in the platform. A few alternative contenders have either gotten back into the limelight or recently come into favour with a larger playerbase. Places like Epic Games Store, Itch.io and GOG have continued to release many games throughout the years, however with a wider range of games and, in some cases, a much more curated game experience.

  • Epic Games
  • GOG
  • Itch.io
  • Xbox Games Pass

With a much more guaranteed positive and well-made experience on other platforms, many are only using Steam for a game that has been marketed and shown that it is worthwhile instead of discovering and playing games from little-known studios or developers.

Steam used to offer such a great experience for new studios and devs to be able to share their game to a wider audience, but with its current state it’s no longer at that peak and many are leaving due to myriad concerns.

However, with each new launcher created there is an increasing annoyance and growing disdain that a lot of players have against developers having their own launchers. This is because many developers only have 1 – 3 games that they release through that launcher creating a bloat to the system of downloading and playing games. Even some games you buy and play through Steam redirect you through another developer’s launcher, which makes it required to have your friend on that other launcher as well to play specific games together. And not all of these are as user friendly as Steam currently is, the 2k Launcher has negatively affected many of the games played through it and caused a bit of an uprising in XCom fans.

Whilst this is still an in-development practice, many distributors are now offering a download free option for games. By running the game from the cloud and streaming it to the player, it enables those without much space or  computer power to play a wider range of games without having to uninstall previous or existing games. Furthermore this is often used by groups of friends who want to play a couch co-op game together, but are unable to catch up to play on the same device. Streaming the game enables those players to play the game with the host actually running the game and streaming to the other players who then are able to interact with the game. With this innovation many players with excellent and easily accessible internet were able to experience a wider range of games, however that is one of the bigger drawbacks to this feature; it was entirely dependent on your location and your governmental infrastructure. If you had a fast and accessible internet that was located close to the server then you would have a wonderful experience, but anyone without all of those would have a worse experience and potentially wouldn’t even be able to play any of the games without extreme delay.

On top of potential inaccessibility, this isn’t something that many have embraced with open arms and is a bit controversial, but enough players and investors have shown interest, so I believe it will continue to gain interest and be a big player in the future when games only get bigger and take up a large amount of space on devices.

As players don’t own the game they’re playing, there are only select games available which are only accessible through a subscription system, eliminating a large section of the audience that would benefit from having a system like this.

In many areas of the entertainment industry, remakes are becoming increasingly popular; with companies and investors wanting to make money off beloved and existing franchises. However this has been a slow progression within the gaming industry, with the first remakes appearing in the early 2000’s and then only in the late 2010’s. In the past few years though, more remakes and emulations of now defunct or inaccessible games are coming out, either by the developer/publishers themselves or by dedicated fans. The most spoken about has been the Pokemon franchises and their remakes/reimagines of some of their earlier games, though there has been serious criticism of their recent releases (although I liked them all).

However in other franchises like Resident Evil, the remakes have been accepted and praised for the developers sticking to what made the original so loved and what made it stand out from the horror genre back then. With many being drawn back to a franchise that had lost many dedicated players after years of increasingly disappointing releases within the franchise’s world.

The interest has only increased in those wanting to go back and relive the games from their childhoods, the games that made them love videogames in the first place. For many those were arcade games and unfortunately only a few are still accessible or emulated online, but for many more they were downloaded either digitally or from a physical CD that they picked up from in store. With many of these games being emulated online or developers/publishers making them accessible on distribution platforms, like Steam, it enables players to go back and play those games. This has also been a growing trend on YouTube and Twitch with gamers playing games from their childhoods and commenting on what they liked the most.


Furthermore you can find whole communities dedicated to keeping and documenting all the ‘retro’ era games and keeping a massive accessible library of them so that anyone can go back and find their childhood favourites.


Something similar happened when Adobe Flash went down many years ago, there was a rush to preserve the history of online web games and how they influenced the world that we are living in now. You can visit these archives, download and play some of the games that they have managed to archive before they all became defunct or went mia before the original devs were able to port the game, if they were still around that is. The favourite and current leader being Flashpoint Archive/Maxima, an archive started by an internet user going by Blue Maxima; but has since become a non-for-profit community effort to archive and save over 100,000 games and 20,000 flash animations.

It has increasingly become more popular in the past few years where an early access or alpha build of a game is made publicly available for players to muck around in. This is a great way for studios to get a dedicated fan base whilst still developing the game and helping to fund the rest of the development. Whilst not every player is willing to buy a game before it has actually been finished, being able to see how players interact with and review the game can help those interested to watch for when it is released or wishlist/favourite the game to ensure they don’t miss it when it is eventually released.

Having an existing fan base and a large portion waiting for it’s release is something that can dramatically increase the chance of investment or funding for the rest of the development, especially in indie studios.

It can be difficult for many Indie studios or developers to be able to fully fund a game without prior success, prior partnerships with a publisher or without being able to definitively prove that this game will be a commercial success. Having a demo or early access that the public is allowed to play can make sure that investors and publishers have trust in the game’s success and are willing to put money and marketing behind the game to further the already guaranteed profit.

This can also make sure that the game hits all its deadlines and ensure the game comes out on time without any crunch at the end. By enabling the studio to hire on more talent to develop and test the game quicker and more in depth than they could’ve previously.

With 15% of all games on Steam being in early access it isn’t surprising that this is a growing trend and one that will only continue to become more and more common in the coming years.

VR and AR have had a slow introduction into the world of video games, with many heralding it as the next greatest thing when the first semi-affordable headset was released. However it has had slow but consistent growth since, many consoles and devices are thrown into popularity through a particular feature or video game, for the VR headset that has been a struggle. There have been many successful games mind you, just not anything that has made any significant changes to how players want to interact with their games, many still wait till they have the spare change to buy a headset and don’t actively save up for one.

Games like Pavlov, Gorilla Tag, Half life 3 have been a big hit within the VR community and brought a lot of interest, especially when they first released. Unfortunately not enough games are either regularly coming in or replayable enough for a majority of players to keep coming back on a regular base like they would with games on other consoles.

Though with a few games allowing cross platform with the VR headset it did bring back a lot of interest as people could play with their friends who didn’t have a headset instead of just playing single player or online with strangers. I think this specifically in the VR game industry is going to be the trend of this year, cross play has become increasingly popular and necessary across the rest of the consoles so I think it’ll have a huge boost in the VR space especially with successes like Davigo, No Man’s Sky and many more https://brentmersy.blogspot.com/2023/02/vr-games-you-can-play-with-your-friends.html .

In contrast AR had a breakthrough when Pokemon GO released 8 years ago and had enough replayability and collectable pokemon to keep its large audience engaged for years to come, with many still having the game on their phone and interacting with the regular updates. Furthermore Niantic, the developer of Pokemon GO has had enough success to release multiple other games in the same genre and with a similar playstyle. Pikman Bloom and Monster Hunter Now were released a few years after the blow up of Pokemon GO and have both had just as much success as their predecessor, just aimed at different communities, with the Pikman Bloom game offering only teamwork challenges instead of player vs player pokemon battles.

Having a look back at some of the previous AR games shows just how much this particular industry has developed and how much it integrates into other industries.

Google maps for example, there is a zombie tour thing in venice and other countries, normal tours in other countries, people use it at museums so everyone can learn about all the pieces without requiring a guided tour with strangers.

It seems that while it may have stagnated a bit in the entertainment industry, it is still growing and I feel like this year will be a big success for the AR industry especially if it’s coming from Niantic.

This is not going to be a surprise for anyone, Esport tournaments have been a large trend for quite a few years. With only a few changes or additions to the games over the years it has been a steady and consistent spot in the games industry.

The current favourite games for Esports tournaments are:

  • Overwatch
  • Rocket League
  • Valorant
  • Apex Legends
  • Call Of Duty
  • Arena of Valor
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • PUBG

This trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon unless the games themselves absolutely crash, however that is highly unlikely. Tournaments are a favourite in any fan base, from singing to sports to trading card games and unsurprisingly video games. It is going to continue with the only question being what game/s will be added to the roster this year.

Battle Royales have been a long time favourite of Esports tournaments and had a recent resurgence with games like Apex Legends, Fortnite and Call-Of-Duty: Warzone that were released in previous years. With these games still very much still in their peaks their tournaments are going to continue for as long as the genre persists.

Furthermore an off and on again trend has been stream interactive games, with the biggest introduction being Killing Room, which allowed viewers of a Twitch streamer to vote on a benefit or obstacle for the streamer to experience.

An example being the choice to vote for the streamer to lose a leg – making them move slower, hop and unable to run – or giving them a new weapon – allowing the streamer to increase their damage output and have a better chance of winning.

Interactions like these give games a longer life and more replay ability as the human factor and randomness give a sense of anticipation as to what is going to happen this time. This also makes the viewers more likely to stay around as they get to directly affect how the entertainment is going.

Other games like Cult of the Lamb jumped on an opportunity for viewers to work under their “cult leader” as one of the many hirelings throughout the game. This encouraged streamers to play more than once as most liked to play the game by themselves for at least the first few sessions, furthermore it encouraged viewers to tune in to those particular streams to keep updated on how “their character” was doing within the cult. This was a popular feature that hadn’t been integrated in many other games during 2022 and ensured that people not only played, but watched others play the game.

The most recent example would be modern adding it into Lethal company and Indie game that previously didn’t have streaming support. This continued the longevity of the game and has it still being played despite its repetitive gameplay, having viewers randomly interact and potentially make or break a run was extremely popular and added in with other mods made each game only more chaotic.

With how popular these features have been, it can only get more and more popular with simple games that are aimed towards the streaming and YouTuber communities. It wouldn’t be surprising if more mods start to pop up in other games and resurge interest in them again.

There are many trends across video games with many being specific to their genres, but a few definitely stand out. With so many new releases and continuously replayable games it is almost guaranteed that an existing trend is going to continue into the coming year.

As our friend Newton stated in his 1st Law, and I quote: “Every trend will keep its momentum unless acted on by an external force”, or something along those lines I believe.

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