The game industry is constantly evolving, but rarely does it introduce dynamic technology to the table. Rather, gamers are often treated to incremental upgrades and technologies, as developers focus on collecting feedback.
Many of the game design trends in 2020 aren’t necessarily new, but existing technologies that have been hyped as the future, and slowly improving to become a reality. Let’s examine 5 of those game design trends in 2020.
With Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, GeForce Now, and Microsoft’s Project xCloud all aiming to compete in the cloud gaming stratosphere, along with several other cloud gaming services catering to niches, cloud gaming is definitely shaping up to be a big part of the gaming industry’s future.
The technology is really ready to go, it’s just limited by the average broadband speed of consumers, so things like 4K cloud game streaming are already here but a bit underutilized. The current focus is on growing the game libraries of the service providers, and rolling out gradual improvements to the features and technology behind cloud gaming.
Location-based augmented reality
VR is still improving to appeal to a wider mainstream audience, but many are looking to AR as the future, being capable of things VR is not. Mobile games in particular are finding success using location-based GPS tracking with augmented reality, such as Pokemon Go and The Walking Dead: Our World.
AR will have many spectacular uses once the technology has improved, whether it’s turning your entire home into a robot invasion battlefield, or playing a virtual slot machine from a site like Casumo live casino from the comfort of your couch.
5G internet is going to do a lot for gaming, especially combined with cloud gaming. Cloud gaming services like Project xCloud are capable of streaming Xbox console games to your Android phone, but stream quality is a bit hampered by 4G limitations.
5G can do away with those limitations and enable streaming of console-level graphics quality to mobile devices, as well as significantly reduce latency in competitive mobile games like PUBG Mobile and the upcoming League of Legends: Wild Rift.
Adoption of artificial intelligence
AI in gaming is no longer about making computer-controlled opponents appear smarter. There’s a wide range of uses for AI in gaming, including computing game physics in mere microseconds, developing realistic and lifelike facial expressions, and even level design.
There’s also development in AI systems that can recognize player moods and game performance, such as by recognizing a gamer’s facial expressions that indicate stress, and adjusting the game difficulty or playing more relaxing, ambient background music during gameplay.
Incremental Console Upgrades
It’s been said that the seven-year cycle of console releases is dead, and in its place, console developers are releasing incremental console upgrades, as well as offering the same consoles in different hardware packages.
For example, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X to be released later in 2020 will also be available in a Series S version, which will be smaller and less powerful, but also cheaper.
Similarly, Sony will launch the PS5 Digital Edition, an all-digital version of the upcoming PS5.