Game design students are entering into an industry that changes with the wind. Consumers like music games? Fill the market with music games. Consumers like the traditional shooter? Continue producing those titles. Consumers like mobile gaming? Focus yourselves on the mobile market.
Identifying those trends can be tough but there are a few noted trends that the industry can expect to face in the year of 2013.
In the gaming market, the industry can continue to see a blend of big market (triple A) titles alongside the growing smaller market (double A) games. Indie developers and small development teams will continue to rise. Both the quality and quantity of these more “intimate” games will rise. 2013 already has gained some buzz for games like Super T.I.M.E. Force and The Witness being just as anticipated as top-sellers like the next Call of Duty.
The mobile market will continue to grow in 2013, with full consoles making use of mobile gaming marketplaces. Sony has adopted a few members of the indie/mobile market on the Sony Entertainment Network, under the title of PlayStation Mobile. Not only can gamers expect Sony to continue to grow that network, but be on the lookout for Microsoft and Nintendo to bring mobile titles to the big screen.
In the hardware world, the possibilities are endless. Sony and Microsoft are expected to make big announcements regarding their next-generation consoles in 2013 and both announcements can dictate where the companies will end up in the next five years. High definition resolutions may potentially increase in 2013 as well with the emergence of 4K resolutions, which will quadruple the highest high definition resolution possible today. Both Sony and Microsoft are rumored to be working towards making their next consoles compatible with 4K.
Digital distribution has been a viable solution for purchasing video games for years now and shows no signs of slowing down. Steam, one of the biggest platforms for digital distribution, is only growing more and more every day. Each major console provides a number of options for gamers looking to buy digital copies of games and the shift towards digital-only may be on the way.
This not only changes the publishing world in game design, but it also affects the hardware world in a number of ways. Valve has announced plans to create a dedicated console/PC that will be compatible with most games on Steam (which means most major releases today) called the Steambox. It will rely completely on digital distribution and will present a major challenge to the Big 3 (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony).
The emergence of smaller devices with larger markets at relatively cheaper prices (Steambox, Ouya) should change the mindset of the bigger video game companies.
2013 should be interesting to say the least. A number of quality titles will see release, in both the big and small markets, hardware will continue to change, and mobile devices will continue to rise.
Game design students will need to take advantage of these trends to make it big when looking for a career.
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