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August 18, 2020

What’s the Future of Game Development? Trends & More

Game Development

What’s the future of game development? It constantly changes. New game development trends emerge every year. And technology advances, bringing opportunities for game development studios to innovate.

There’s so much for game development studios to consider if they want to produce their next hit game. That’s why we recently surveyed over 500 game development professionals to get their take on the biggest challenges, trends, and opportunities facing the industry today.

In this blog, we share some of their insights on the future of game development and key game development trends. To get the full scoop, get your copy of the report.

The State of Game Development Report: 2020 & Beyond

Find out what’s happening in game development today — and where it’s going tomorrow. Get the insights.

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Top 4 Game Development Trends in 2020

The top four game development trends are all growing opportunities in the industry:

  • AR/VR
  • eSports
  • 5G
  • Inclusivity

AR/VR

The rise of AR/VR will continue in 2020 and beyond.

61% of the professionals we surveyed believe AR/VR will impact the future of game development. And many industry experts, like Gamasutra, predict big things for AR/VR in 2020 (and beyond).

In particular, AR/VR will cease to be a separate category. It will be an expectation in games moving forward. Game developers will pursue realism. Players will pursue the ability to live in the game.

Photorealism, in particular, will be important for game developers. Tools such as Unreal Engine 4 (and especially the upcoming Unreal Engine 5) will be important to ensuring the photorealism required fro AR/VR.

Many we surveyed believe that AR/VR will truly dominate in the 2020s. Here’s what one of our survey takers said about AR/VR in the 2020s:

“I predict that VR and AR gaming is going to grow rapidly in the 2020s. We're going to see a higher adoption rate of VR and AR as prices start to decrease and the technology becomes more readily available. We will also see games really pushing the technology and becoming more immersive and innovative than ever before. I also see AAA titles, like large scale RPGs, becoming available for VR, which will bring more serious gamers to the various VR platforms.” — Matthew Dalton

eSports

eSports continues to rise in popularity, especially in the COVID-19 era. Real-life sporting events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. And fans around the world continue to seek alternatives.

In addition, game studios are evolving. The professionalism of eSports have grown. Soon, there will be very little difference between the real-life sport and the eSport equivalent. For instance, a soccer league (the English Premier League) announced that they are partnering with EA Sports to bring in simulated chants and crowd noises instead of a live audience.

To succeed with eSports, studios employ a Gaming as a Service (GaaS) delivery method. This will help the industry evolve technologically.

61% of those we surveyed believe that eSports will impact the future of game development.

And eSports and online competitive gaming are expected to become a $1.8 million industry by 2022.

5G

The emergence of 5G is expected to bring technological breakthroughs and spur innovation in the game development process.

5G will be critical to support streaming platforms and reduce latency. It will make it possible to stream console quality games on mobile. And platforms like Steam and Stadia are growing fast.

Players will always be able to play, as 5G drives mobility. Mobile phones are more and more capable of handling games. 5G will take these experiences to a new level. There are significant opportunities, especially in geolocation games.

53% of those we surveyed believe that 5G will impact game development. The performance and speed of 5G will radically change mobile game development, putting it on par with the quality of console games.

Inclusivity

The future of game development will also include expanded inclusivity.

Our survey takers offered many insights into how they think game development could become more inclusive. They cited work/life balance, accessibility features, and increased representation.

Studios are realizing that if they want to reach a certain demographic of players, the game should be built by that demographic. Nintendo, in particular, has been vocal about the importance of female developers for games such as Animal Crossing.

As one anonymous survey taker put it:

“We will see studios become more diverse, distributed, and inclusive. The gap between indie and AAA will grow larger as technical improvements continue to occur.” — Anonymous

What’s the Future of Game Development in the 2020s?

The future of game development is in mastering the trends and beating the challenges. I recently joined Perforce CTO Brad Hart on Game Dev Unchained to discuss the results of the report and what it means for game development teams. Listen to the podcast >>

Find out what your studio needs to know to be successful in the 2020s.

Get the State of Game Development Report

Find out what your peers had to say about the future of game development and game development trends in the 2020s.

Get the Report