Visionaries are leading the next gaming era with cutting-edge methods. Central to this shift is the incorporation of new models that rethinks the importance of community-led gaming, and its impact on game development.
As the $344 billion competitive gaming market is finding new paths for further growth, game companies are adopting these three key innovations to stay ahead of the curve.
Three emerging innovations in the gaming industry
1. Community-owned gameplay
Community governance and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are revolutionizing the gaming space by significantly impacting how games are developed, managed, and experienced by the community. This innovative model redistributes the ownership of a game across the entire community, including players, creators, and other stakeholders, fostering a more inclusive player environment.
In the wake of innovation, Don Norbury, Head of Studio at Shrapnel, illustrates the importance of putting players-first: “community involvement will drive gameplay and development at every stage in Shrapnel including design, roadmap and aesthetics. Creators will be able to design maps, weapons and other vanity items and exchange these in our marketplace.
Active engagement is crucial for users to establish their reputation and collaboratively shape the game’s evolution. Unlike the conventional model where game developers maintain exclusive ownership of a game, those embracing this strategy aim to distribute ownership within the community.
By involving the community in the development process, games are crafted with player preferences that lead to more engaging and player-centric experiences, adding competitive edges over games that rely on the traditional model of game development. Norbury echoes, “ultimately, in the future, Shrapnel will be handed over to players, so putting the right controls in place to empower and moderate them is key.”
2. Player-created content
Successful business models such as free to play have generated $78.7 billion for the mobile gaming sector alone in 2022. Nevertheless, the free-to-play model has constraints in acquiring paying users and maximizing their lifetime value. To broaden the scope of value generation and revenue capture, there is a growing trend towards a creator-based economy.
Such innovations not only enhance player engagement but also open up new economic opportunities, both for the studios and the players themselves. “The creator economy in gaming is more than just an addition to the industry; it’s a fundamental change in how games are developed, experienced, and monetized,” says Norbury.
3. Social hubs
In AAA gaming, social hubs are becoming pivotal, transcending the tight boundaries of the existing gaming environment. These hubs are not just a part of the game; they are extensions that enable a vibrant place for communities where crafting, socializing, and marketplace activities intersect more freely, more openly.
“This shift towards social hubs signifies a deeper change in gaming culture. Players are demanding spaces to interact outside of the core gameplay environment, where they can flaunt their skills, achievements, and unique collectibles without being constrained by centralized game companies,” says Norbury.
An example of this trend is the Mercenary Extraction Forces (MEFs) Headquarters in Shrapnel. These headquarters are intricately woven into the game’s pre-game and post-game lobbies, offering a unique space for players to join various MEFs. Here, players can access collective resources, like an armory, to enhance their game sessions. Additionally, MEF HQs serve as a platform to show off content created by members, both within the hub and to the broader gaming community.
This brings fresh elements that forward-thinking studios can leverage to enhance the game’s value, moving beyond repetitive game modes that have caused creative limitations in the industry.
The industry’s dedication to integrating cutting-edge technologies, while fostering community-driven game development is not without challenges. Embracing the creator economy, while ensuring an environment for the players to instill their creativity is changing the tides of expectations for future games.
These shifting trends signal a transformative era in gaming, where both developers and players alike are at the forefront of a dynamic, evolving gaming landscape.
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