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Key Developments in Gaming for 2024

By William Davis

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Jun 18, 2023

Reading time: 4 min

So far, 2024 hasn’t quite been the positive year most in the industry were hoping for. Yes, we’ve finally seen the arrival of some very delayed post-pandemic titles, and hardware manufacturers continue to deliver on the innovation front. But, with yet more gaming companies having to resort to unprecedented layoffs across the globe, things have turned rather gloomy. 

Now that we’re at the mid-point of the year, though, there are actually some positive signs that point toward the future direction of the industry. Plus, gaming communities continue to be hugely diverse, comprised of everyone from esports professionals to hobbyists playing blackjack online games — and who could forget mobile gamers? 

In fact, the very definition of a gamer is shifting here in 2024, especially with innovative movements committed to weeding out sexism in gaming ads and inequality across the industry, for example. Diversity in gaming communities has, in turn, forced incumbent development studios and manufacturers to produce diversified offerings too, so we really are seeing a new type of gaming landscape forming. 

What’s more, instead of centering on one platform or another, gaming today is more holistic — especially with the advent of cross-platform play. Plus, it’s become hugely democratized thanks to mobile gaming and cloud-based gaming platforms. 

Given all of that, what are the new developments that are shaping the future of gaming? Let’s find out! 

The Rise of Indie Games

Ok, so indie games are hardly a new development, especially when you consider that many of today’s blockbusters — Valheim, Stardew Valley, and the megahit Minecraft to name just a few — were created by unknown developers who were launched into the spotlight. There are even gaming platforms dedicated to the very best new releases from independent game developers. Currently, however, we’re seeing a true resurgence of indie games, with a number of them making a significant impact. 

Last year, titles from independent creators accounted for 31% of the total revenue generated by Steam — a percentage that’s especially significant when considering the volume of blockbuster games that were released in 2023. Here in 2024, almost all the titles in the highest-grossing games of the year on the platform are indie (or indie adjacent). This includes Palworld, with over 25 million units sold in January, Manor Lords, and Helldivers 2. 

It’s true that on the AAA end of the scale, the landscape is pretty fragmented right now, with even legendary design studios and gaming companies failing to deliver the content that modern gamers require. Just look at the debacle around budgets and disappointments that we’ve seen coming from Microsoft (Redfall) and Rocksteady/Warner Bros (Suicide Squad). 

Meanwhile, mainstay brands aren’t exactly pushing the boundaries of innovation right now, with many of the summer’s headline games simply being a refresh of existing IP. As enjoyable as these high-profile franchises are, do gamers really want another Indian Jones installment or the sixth edition of Call Of Duty: Black Ops? 

According to VG Insights, the answer is a resounding no. Sure, most first-release and indie titles lack the complex technical wizardry of a big-budget AAA game, but when it comes to player experiences, independent games are on par with their more costly counterparts. Published on konvoy.com, the latest stats from the gaming industry research specialists display that the average Steam rating for indie and AAA games stands at 72% and 74% respectively.  

This lack of innovation from tried and true gaming organizations is leaving the field clear for the indie developer to swoop in and try something new. After all, there’s a lot less risk involved for an emerging studio to launch and fail. Fundamentally, though, gaming audiences are hungry for this type of content 

The Decentralization of Gaming Continues

In line with the rise of indie gaming across all platforms from mobile to PCs is the ever-growing popularity of Web3 gaming.

While it has been emerging for a few years now, the increasing appetite for play-to-earn games and the general discourse surrounding the concept of the Metaverse means that Web3 gaming is beginning to take a more prominent role. Core to Web3 gaming is decentralization and that’s echoed through not just the technologies that it’s underpinned by — blockchain tech, crypto, and digital assets — but also the focus on developing player-centric ecosystems.

Ironically, a number of major studios have taken a vested interest in expanding into the Web3 space, with the likes of Ubisoft notably (still) launching its own blockchain game, Champions Tactics™ Grimoria Chronicles, as well as Take-Two Interactive and Bandai Namco. Crucially, however, the aim with decentralized gaming is to free up players from the controlled environments and pay-to-play structures of conventional digital games. 

It’s an approach that is paying off dividends, too, with CoinGecko reporting that over 800,000 people play Web3 games on a daily basis. What’s more, there are developments currently happening within the sector that could point to where it’s headed, which will likely be an alternative to mainstream, big-budget gaming. While P2E titles incorporated decentralized finance elements to actively reward players for completing in-game tasks with real-world value virtual assets (NFTs, etc.), now there’s a shift toward X2E titles offering rewards for the completion of daily activities, premium quality narratives, and gameplay.