At the end of 2015, futurists and trend-spotters predicted a number of key emerging trends for 2016, two of which predicted advances in augmented reality, and in the use of maps and location data. Over the past week, the Pokémon Go mobile game craze has embraced both of these trends, and in doing so, unexpectedly doubled Nintendo’s market value.
But what’s next for the gaming industry, and what impact can we expect the likes of Pokémon Go to make on future games releases?
More location-based games
Pokémon Go has of course made the headlines, but is by no means the first location-based game of its type. Indeed, the game’s developer Niantic, released the game Ingress all the way back in 2012, and until Pokemon’s release last week, it was the most successful location-based game ever.
There are other successful location-based games available, but surely with the huge success and publicity achieved by the release of Pokémon Go, a new wave of games are likely to released in the near future.
VR will become a social gaming experience
“When you get two people together in a virtual space, and you actually get to see how they move and how they talk, and how they interact with the world, it lets you connect as if you were really actually in that room with them. And it’s pretty powerful.”
Anna Sweet, Head of Developer Strategy, Oculus
Emotion will influence game developers more than ever
An important trend in media over the past year has been the emphasis on targeting consumers around emotions and mindsets. And this has impacted on the gaming industry too, where developers describe the process of “feel-engineering”.
“Feel-engineering is the process by which you create a game backwards from the feeling you want to create in a person forward towards the mechanics and the dynamics of the game itself.”
Robin Hunicke, co-founder and creative director of Funomena
eSports will continue to boom
The eSports market is estimated to reach $1.9B by end of 2018, by which time viewership is expected to be counted in hundreds of millions, growing from just a few hundred unique viewers reported at the end of 2015.
The biggest opportunity here would seem to be game developers tapping into the huge social media “live” phenomenon, and making it easy for gamers to broadcast their own competitive gaming to the wider world.