Hackernoon logo6 Video Game Development Industry Trends in 2021 by@Keith Coppersmith

6 Video Game Development Industry Trends in 2021

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@Keith CoppersmithKeith Coppersmith

The need for video games has grown. In 2020, the video gaming industry was worth $159.3 billion. That is a significant increase of 9.3% from 2019. 

Player needs and expectations are evolving too. They now expect frictionless and more convenient UX. In this article, we'll discuss six video game development trends for 2021 that show how the industry is changing.

The Fast Adoption of Cloud Gaming

The cloud gaming market is growing at an astounding rate. According to studies, Gaming-as-a-Service will hit $450 million by 2023. 

Many technologies have already been transforming the market. Cloud services such as PlayStation Now or Google Stadia enable running resource-intensive applications without additional hardware investments. In 2021 and beyond, game developers can use these cloud functionalities to unleash their creative freedom.

Here are several benefits of the cloud for the gaming industry:

Developers do not need to purchase expensive hardware anymore.
As a result, the number of people creating new cloud-based games will grow. 

A new class of games will hit the market. They will be designed for the cloud and will not be technically restricted. Complex formats, such as virtual environments, will be taken to the next level. Game designers will build realistic VR worlds that will be hard to distinguish from real-life ones.

New game genres will appear, while the strict boundaries between the genres we know of today will be merged and combined. 

Players will experience fast and frictionless online gaming. There will be no need to install games or upgrading a gaming PC performance. The only thing they need is a fast internet connection.

Cloud gaming creates new opportunities for multiplayer games. Cloud serves as a vital communication bridge between disconnected players. That has led to the growth of the battle royale genre. 

One such example is Awakening of Heroes. That is a free-to-play 5v5 MOBA game featuring RPG and battle royale elements available for Android and iOS. 

The company invested in a Google Cloud gaming solution to provide great player experiences. On the other hand, they empowered game developers to reduce infrastructure complexity and minimize costs. 

The Rise of Virtual Experiences

The demand for VR experiences has grown since the outbreak of Coronavirus. Virtual reality plays a fundamental role in many industries, from employee training to e-learning. Gaming is no exception.

When playing games, people want to travel to new realities and find themselves in situations they have never experienced before.

Now, VR and AR are not new concepts in the gaming industry. However, they have not reached their full potential yet. 

VR gaming provides players with an immersive, user-centric perspective of game action. They can both experience and influence the game environment. 

During Facebook Connect 7 in September 2020, the company revealed the introduction of a brand-new VR headset. Namely, they plan to unify the entire VR hardware lineup into a single headset – the Oculus Quest 2 all-in-one headset.

They also plan to make smart VR glasses with Ray-Ban in 2021, which will make VR technologies more available.

Mobile Games will Continue to Grow

The number of smartphone users is continuously growing. According to research studies, there were is approximately 2.4 billion mobile gamers in 2020. That is about 30.7% of the world's population. Impressive, right?

People love mobile games because they are intuitive, simple, and easy-to-start. Above all, they are always with them. 5G will improve mobile gaming experiences.

Given that, it is not surprising that many console and PC game leaders will focus on mobile games in 2021.

For example, Call of Duty launched a mobile version of the game in October 2019. That has helped them attract a large number of new players. 

Another example of mobile game development adoption is Epic Games. The company abandoned Apple Store and Google Play and created its store. They hosted their Fortnite game there with a much lower commission and no restrictions. 

The Adoption of Cross-Platform Gaming

The growing need for multiplayer games has led to cross-platform support. With the help of cloud gaming, players want to connect across multiple consoles and devices.

Game developers need to keep up with this trend. In 2021, they will focus on introducing new solutions for cross-gaming opportunities. 

Some examples of cross-platform games are Minecraft, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. 

Unsurprisingly, that can be a challenge for the gaming industry since many gaming companies often work in isolation and strive to build a loyal fanbase and isolate it. 

The Growing Need for Inclusivity 

Video games are a great way to combat social inequality and address issues such as racism, sexism, or homophobia.

For example, Sims is synonymous with inclusion and diversity. It allows players to create their characters by choosing their skin color, nationality, body type, etc. More game designers will focus on inserting personalization into their games. 

The goal is to allow players to individualize their characters down to the tiniest detail. That way, gaming companies can attract a wider audience and build trust by being more receptive to different social groups. 

Evoking the Feeling of Nostalgia

Companies in multiple industries are investing in nostalgia marketing. Its main goal is to (re)capture the users’ attention by tapping into popular trends from the past. Disney is a perfect example of how nostalgia marketing works in the filming industry. The company transformed classic cartoons into live-action films. That enabled them to re-engage their fans, as well as attract younger generations.

The gaming industry is no exception. Can you remember the time when you played Super Mario Bros or Deux Ex? Millennials are craving for these moments in the past. And, game developers have recognized this trend.

Sure, remastering gaming classics is easy. It requires a lot of work and dedication since games need to be compatible with consoles from the past. For most of these games, there is no suitable hardware nowadays. 


The needs of users have changed. Players expect faster, simpler, and more convenient user experiences. With cloud technologies, game developers will provide better mobile gaming experiences and enable cross-platform gaming.


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