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Gaming Trends to Expect in 2018

We are now officially almost through the first month of 2018, and now that the festivities followed by the agonizing return to everyday life is over, we can finally get back to what really matters: gaming trend predictions.

There’s no denying that 2017 was a great year for many different areas of the gaming industry and community. Indie games continued to thrive, VR progressed ever forward as it attempts to enter into the mainstream world and eSports evolved in a number of ways. Now 2018 is well underway, what can we expect this year? Let’s take a look at some of the predictions being pushed by tech pundits around the web.

1. Indie Games Will Be Bigger Than Ever

Throughout 2017 we received a number of indie games, each more horrifying or more heartfelt – depending on the ones you played – than the last. Of course, we also had a number of AAA games where we were able to discover new worlds, fight in epic battles and become a number of diverse characters. Still, there’s something incredibly humbling and welcome about playing the more indie titles.

Perhaps it is because indie developers are better at delivering experiences or sharing complex emotions than big studios with hundreds of staff member slaving over the details. Whatever it is that makes indie games so approachable, it is certain that in 2017 they became integral to the gaming industry. Fidel Dungeon Rescue, Bury Me My Love, Far From Noise; whichever indie release you played we’re sure you thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, it’s no surprise that the continuing success of indie games is our first prediction for 2018. Sure, most gamers will probably be waiting for the big names such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Far Cry 5 and maybe Kingdom Hearts 3 to drop, but beneath those blockbusters there will be a world filled with indie games just waiting to be played. Unlike those big heavy hitters we’re expecting, indie games will probably continue to tackle all aspects of life with limitless creativity and emotion. You never know, they may even start giving those big games a little more competition.

This year we’re anticipating the release of quite a few indie titles, including Indivisible, The Last Night and They Are Billions. Plus, there are rumors of older indie games being remade, though we can’t say for sure what they will be. Whatever they are, we cannot wait to play them.

2. eSports Will Continue to Gain Popularity

Over the last few months, eSports has become more popular than ever. It’s now completely normal for huge professional gaming tournaments to be held in world class arenas such as the Beijing National Stadium and for prize pools to amount to millions of dollars. In fact, eSports records were completely smashed in 2017 when the DOTA 2 International prize pool managed to climb to $23 million.

Meanwhile, Blizzard and Riot both set up fully franchised leagues and enter 2018 with a robust system for both Overwatch and League of Legends that is based on traditional professional sports. This is incredibly important as team members now have spots on official teams and cannot lose that spot in the league is they are to perform badly during a round or even a tournament. This is a great change for those involved since excelling in eSports has previously only been based on earning your way through rounds and if you lost, you lost much more than a game. Plus, sponsorship money and other resources will be far more secure ensuring that players have a lot more freedom and support.

With changes like these, we can surely expect to see the competitive scene evolving more than ever. In 2017, League of Legends, CS:GO and other titles continued to gain players and audiences, but so did games like Rocket League, Smash Bros and Tekken. With more variety, we’re sure to see more participants and spectators bringing their A-game to the tournaments. Speaking of spectators, we can only assume there will be even more streams appearing on sites like Twitch and YouTube, so you might get to see your favourite game being played at a big tournament sooner than you think.

Hopefully, this will also attract people to get more involved the brand new phenomenon of eSports online betting, which is currently only available at a few sites like bets.io. In fact, the more eSports can adopt systems that more traditional sports such as rugby, football and tennis, the better.

3. VR Will Become Mainstream (???)

Each and every year, it seems like tech pundits up and down the web claim that this year will be the year when virtual reality really takes off and becomes mainstream. While it’s true that VR gained unprecedented amounts of acceptance throughout 2017, with adoption rates soaring passed anything we had seen in previous years, it’s difficult to say it has yet broken into the mainstream gaming arena officially.

Fortunately, we actually do have high hopes for virtual reality in 2018. After all, the VR gaming market is supposed to worth over $45.09 billion by 2025, so it is absolutely going to have to start evolving soon.

According to VR expert Yariv Levski, we can expect to see a ton of developments including entirely new, innovative headsets that branch out from the typical Oculus Rift, Sony Playstation VR and Google Daydream models we’re used to. Already we are being introduced to the Razor that has stereo eye tracking features, improved image resolution and even immersive position tracking, as well as the Fove with fee-free-open-source development tools. Levski also predicts that there will be further developments when it comes to haptic feedback (weapon recoil, for instance), as well as personalized gaming content.

If these predictions are correct, VR will hopefully be able to enter the mainstream like other new technologies have done in the past. Sure, it has been a bumpy road for VR and most headset models continue to be overly expensive, but there is one thing for sure: VR isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully, it’ll just get bigger and better.

4. Exclusives Will Be What They Will Be

Now, there are some things that will change each and every year… and there are other things that will probably stay the same. For example, the quality of exclusives depending upon which console they developed by. As we’re sure you would expect, this is good news for Sony as they seem to always have a great set of exclusives ready to roll on the PlayStation.

This year, we’re looking forward to a number of killer Sony exclusives including Spider-Man, God of War and Days Gone, but we’re sure to be awarded even more as the year goes by. These will probably come at the big trade shows like E3 in June as well as the up and coming PlayStation Experience. Needless to say, we’re expecting to see plenty of impressive exclusives.

This is not so much the case for Microsoft exclusives. As Sony continues to impress fans with announcements, Microsoft seems to only ever share which games they’ve cancelled (Scalebound for example) and studios that have been closed down for good (RIP Lionhead). Yes, in 2017 we got a Forza title in 2017 as well as the infuriatingly addictive Cuphead, but Microsoft simply cannot compete with the likes of Sony.

This does not seem to be changing anytime soon either, as Xbox Chief Phil Spencer told Bloomberg recently that his company is only just mulling over the idea of acquiring new studios specifically for creating exclusive games. That definitely gives us hope for the far-off future, so maybe in two to three years Microsoft will finally start reeling off great exclusives. Can’t wait for 2020 guys!

That’s all of our major predictions for 2018, at least for now. We really do support any advances that can be made in the world of gaming, whether it’s in console games, releases, VR development or within the ever-evolving world of eSports. After all, the better the gaming industry and community is doing, the better we’re doing – are we right?

Of course, there are others that are currently circulating around the internet. For instance, there are rumours about next generation consoles and the possibility of Nintendo bringing more Wii U games to Switch. This is of course great news who bought the Nintendo Switch for one or two games earlier this year, then sort of played random indie games once those original purchases were played through.

There are also some predictions about augmented reality being utilized in different ways as well, surpassing the likes of Pokémon Go and moving further forward. Then of course there’s game mechanics and design, but we figured that went without saying. If there are any bigger, important predictions that we’ve missed out or haven’t expanded upon enough, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. Perhaps there’s something happening in a more niche corner of the gaming community we need to know about, because you can never have enough to be excited over!

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