Game industry trends to expect in 2024

As we enter the new year, the anticipation is high for the unfolding trends that are about to redefine how we create and play games—from AI seamlessly crafting entire game worlds to the ongoing rise of mobile gaming popularity, where developers refine strategies to extend engagement and enhance monetization, alongside their focus on diversity and sustainability.

AI keeps revolutionizing development dynamics

Traditionally, creating expansive open-world games with stunning graphics required large teams and significant time investments. But lately, AI is becoming a leader in a new era where even smaller studios and indie developers gain access to tools enabling the next generation of artwork. That includes the creation of entire worlds through procedural techniques, dynamic dialogue generation, or even players’ live avatar integration within the game.

These AI technologies are currently in their early stages, but the trajectory is clear – they will mature, become more efficient, and more cost-effective. A prime example is MidJourney, which launched just in mid-2022 and has undergone a remarkable evolution in a little over a year.

In 2024, we anticipate a surge in diverse AI-driven tools, followed by a learning curve of testing and optimization. Ultimately, as engines and open-source projects incorporate the best AI solutions, we can expect a standardization that propels game development into a realm of unprecedented possibilities.

Interconnected worlds with cross-platform play

In the realm of augmented and virtual reality, the expected launch of Apple Vision Pro in early 2024 is about to make waves. There are also speculations about the potential release of Apple Glass in 2025. Just as AI reshapes the software landscape of gaming, wearable technology is set to revolutionize the hardware dimension, paving the way for the metaverse.

For players, the impact will be revolutionary, especially as the metaverse opens doors to a more interconnected and immersive gaming experience. Players will be able to seamlessly transition between devices and environments, blurring the lines between virtual and real-world interactions. The gaming experience becomes more fluid, adaptive, and personalized, offering players flexibility and engagement like never before. In this light, developers will need to adopt a more holistic approach, considering various platforms and immersive environments during the design and development phases.

Such democratization of access will allow a broader spectrum of players to enjoy the interconnected and immersive gaming experience the metaverse offers, enhancing inclusivity and the overall gaming experience.

While mostly known for providing analytics to mobile games, GameAnalytics is also compatible with VR. Recently, we empowered studios like VRMonkey and HyperVR to build unforgettable immersive experiences.

The evolution of cross-platform gaming

However, the cross-platform experiences we just described are more than a one-size-fits-all strategy – especially when it comes to hyper-casual games. While simpler titles may synchronize game progression saves across platforms, “the devil” lies in mobile studios expanding their footprint to consoles and PCs. Homa Games venturing into the console realm or some of the top Steam games that recently came from Roblox experiences are great examples of this cross-platform expansion trend gaining momentum. As mobile studios broaden their horizons to include other devices, we witness a paradigm shift in accessibility and engagement. On top of this, such a move will also call for exploring new revenue streams.

homa games cross-platform

NOTE: The convergence extends both ways, as seen with Ubisoft’s upcoming release, Assassin’s Creed Jade, exclusively for mobile, signaling a reciprocal blending of platforms.

Mobile gaming will thrive with these changes

According to Statistica, mobile gaming still does and will continue rising. The company predicts we’ll see a 10% increase in revenue in 2024. It’s only natural as smartphones are convenient and accessible, opening up gaming to a vast audience. Wearable technology and cross and multi-platform play will boost this even further.

But there will be challenges. With new devices and opportunities, developers will have to (re)consider their assumptions around playtime, successful mechanics, and game design choices. They’ll need to research and dig into the data to ensure they’re quickly learning what works and what doesn’t.

Catering to their needs, we designed GameAnalytics to empower developers in their games and app creation journey no matter the circumstances. Compatible with mobile, PC, console, and VR/AR, our analytics help you understand players’ behavior patterns, spot design errors, and optimize your game to boost engagement.

The rise of independent app stores

In May 2023, we saw the Digital Markets Act come into force in the European Union. In simple terms, it restricts what the ‘gatekeepers’ like Google and Apple can do. For example, they must allow “application stores to be accessed by means other than the core platform services.” This means that such platforms can’t anymore stop publishers from redirecting players to their own web stores. It gives publishers way more control over their monetization strategies while avoiding paying a cut to the platforms.

Microsoft is already working on its own store, and other publishers won’t be far behind, especially with services like Xsolla making it extremely easy to build a whitelabel payment experience for your game. It won’t be long before it becomes standard practice to sell in-app purchases and subscriptions through your own store.

PS: We are constantly improving our offerings and launching our mobile gaming ranking data, improved market insights, and accurate performance benchmarks soon. Stay tuned!

Subscription-based models reaching their momentum

The growing popularity of hybrid-casual gameplaybrings a shift to the gaming industry. While deeper, more engaging games are required, the higher development costs pose a challenge. Although players are willing to pay for their games more than in the past, their budgets are limited. In this light, subscription-based models have emerged as a strategic solution.

Services like Netflix Games Subscription, Apple Arcade, and Xbox Game Pass offer a curated selection of high-quality games under a single subscription, providing players with access to a diverse gaming portfolio. From a game developer’s perspective, these services act much like a publisher without any more upside from the initial publishing deal. Outside of these all-you-can-eat models, it is also possible to build your own subscription into your game’s business model using recurring payments as a supplementary revenue stream to in-app purchases and ads. Typical examples of benefits offered in an in-game subscription are turning off advertising, exclusive access to features and levels as well as discounts on in-app purchases effectively increasing upsell, as subscribers spend up to 40% more after subscribing. Or tap into up-and-coming services like Multiscription, which offers an integrated cross-publisher subscription tool allowing you to add your game to a broad selection of games making it more likely for players to convert and retain. This trend aligns with broader industry patterns of the upward trajectory of subscriptions across various sectors, Zuora reports.

netflix games

For hyper-casual publishers, embracing this model presents an opportunity to bundle their games, encouraging players to remain engaged within their ecosystem for an extended duration.

DEI will remain the area of emphasis

While the gaming industry has made strides in introducing more diverse characters and narratives, the underlying issues persist. At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) last year, Anita Sarkeesian, the executive director of Feminist Frequency, highlighted the broken nature of DEI practices. According to Sarkeesian, the problem lies not in the failure of DEI but in its intended functionality:

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are framed as attempts to transform workplace environments into a space that is welcoming for all people, especially those historically underrepresented,” said Sarkeesian, the executive director of Feminist Frequency. “I’m not here to tell you that DEI is broken. I’m here to tell you that DEI is working as intended and that that’s the problem.”

Additionally, recent events, such as awards overlooking women and the industry’s setbacks at GDC, highlights gaps in recognizing and fostering diversity. The acknowledgment of these issues serves as a catalyst for the ongoing transformation within the gaming landscape.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, we anticipate to witness a push for meaningful change in 2024.

Environmental commitments and the gaming revolution

Game developers and players increasingly acknowledge the substantial energy consumption associated with gaming, particularly in powering servers and computers.

Towards the end of 2023, Xbox has taken strides by committing to support developers in monitoring and reducing their energy usage. Initiatives like these, featuring tools that provide insights into a game’s power consumption, show a positive trajectory in fostering sustainability within the industry.

As the industry becomes more conscious of its environmental footprint, these efforts by major players like Xbox may pave the way for similar initiatives across different gaming platforms.

Stay ahead of the curve with sophisticated data solutions

Closely following the trends from the past years and accompanying thousands of gaming studios and indie game developers on their journeys, we are compelled to emphasize the importance of data-driven game development.

As we advance in our commitment towards analytics excellence and further democratization of data, our roadmap for 2024 includes ongoing enhancements and refinements to the GameAnalytics tool. If you wish to speak to us about how we can empower you on your game development journey, you can contact us via email and book a demo.

In the meantime, you can read about our solutions here:

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