What will the gaming world look like in ten years time? Will virtual reality games be the new fad of the 21st century? Will living in a virtual world be what we do all day? Will games be a massive part of our daily lives?

The gaming industry is booming. With more and more titles being announced every month, the industry can easily become a cash cow for developers. However, the gaming industry is also filled with controversy.

It is no secret that video games are a widely popular hobby, and that the industry is a major player in the entertainment industry. Video games are a form of art, and art comes with all kinds of controversies. There are people who see them as a waste of time or an escape from reality. But there are also many people who see them as a positive influence in a person’s life, and the industry is a major contributor to the economy. Many notable people, such as authors and actors, have been inspired by video games.. Read more about what does the future of gaming look like and let us know what you think.

Before you read any of this, I should warn you that it’s a little rambly and should probably be disregarded; I’m just trying to climb on my soapbox.

The decrease in the number of material releases

There was a lot of quantifiable material throughout the 12 months leading up to this time last year, which I’ll mention here:

  1. There were ten Balance Patches in all, with certain heroes receiving near-revamp-level adjustments.
  2. Mei
  3. Climate Phenomena Anomaly (short-term)
  4. Mal’Ganis is getting a makeover.
  5. Skin Event for Nexomania 2
  6. Cassia’s Makeover
  7. Tracer Redesign
  8. Sub-Event: Greek Gods’ Skin
  9. Third-tier Mastery Rings
  10. Favorite Artists
  11. Rework of Tassadar
  12. Skin Event for Dark Nexus
  13. Nexus Anomaly Request for Assistance
  14. Xul Redesign
  15. Toys 2 Skin is a toy-to-skin event.
  16. Deathwing
  17. Globe Anomaly is a unique experience.
  18. Hero Mastery Rings’ first two levels
  19. Junkrat Redesign
  20. Whitemane Redesign
  21. The Skin Event of the Scarlet Heist

Then, looking back over the last 12 months, here’s what we’ve seen:

  1. 8 Balance patches, several of which included near-revamp-level adjustments to Heroes
  2. Lt. Morales is getting a makeover.
  3. Redesign of Anduin
  4. Raynor Redesign
  5. Stitches Redesign
  6. Valla Redesign
  7. Event for Overwatch Cosplay Skins
  8. Hogger
  9. Refurbishment of Warhead Junction
  10. Healing Fountain Health & Shield Swap
  11. Reworked D.Va
  12. Rework of Gazlowe
  13. Brawl has been officially replaced by ARAM (although this really has been the case for a long while beforehand)
  14. Skin Event for Craft Wars
  15. Medallion of the Gladiator

Yes, I’m using the term Revamp where Blizzard has referred to them as Reworks, but I think we can all agree that what Johanna saw with the Overwatch Cosplay Skin Event isn’t on the same level as what D.Va or Tassadar saw in their Reworks – I almost want to call Gazlowe a Revamp, but the changes were significant.

Now, I could go and be more verbose with this listing, like including the near-revamp level changes, but the main point here is in the skin events & new Heroes – in the 12 months to this time last year, we saw the Scarlet Heist Skin Event, the Toys 2 Skin Event, the Dark Nexus Skin Event, the Greek Gods Skin Sub-Event, and the Nexomania 2 Skin Event, as well as two new Heroes in Mei and Deathwing. There’s also some things that weren’t included properly in the patch notes, such as the Altered Fates Skin Sub-Event, which happened in the 12 months to a year ago, just after the Greek Gods Skin Sub-Event.

the concerning part about this is that this is then a further reduction in event to the 12 months before that – just to give a brief idea, in that time there were 6 new Heroes(Qhira, Anduin, Imperius, Orphea, Mal’Ganis and Mephisto), the Chen Rework, the Caldeum Complex Skin Event, the Chromie revamp & Lucio rework, The Ana revamp, The Resistance Skin Event, The Toys Skin Event, The Fort XP Redesign, Sylvanas Rework, another Stitches revamp, The Toys 1 Skin Event, The Garden of Terror Rework, The Hanamura Temple Remake, as well as more.

This leads us to believe that this trend will continue – how many skin incidents will we witness in the next 12 months? Is there going to be a new Hero in the near future? Are there any further battlefield redesigns planned if the current design isn’t working?


Monetisation

With less content, comes less money, which comes with less reason for continued development. Something that was especially striking with the Overwatch Cosplay Skin Event was that there was(and remains to be) no way for people to easily & quickly purchase the bundle if they so wish – obviously we don’t have the statistics for how many people buy these things, maybe the metrics say that sales are better like this, we can’t really know. When the patch that introduced the Overwatch Cosplay Skin Event was released, there did seem to be intention for people to be able to purchase the entire set of skins all at once, as there was a non-functional button on the Home Screen that looked like it should lead to the Overwatch Cosplay Bundle, but this has since been entirely removed.

Players will have more time to accumulate in-game currency (IGC) to be able to purchase things that they might otherwise buy with real money. I can speak for myself that I’ve got more than enough gold to buy three Deathwings, and I’d love for meaningful ways to be encouraged to spend this IGC – be it limited-time gold-exclusive purchases(I can speak for myself that I’ve got more than enough gold to buy three Deathwings), or limited-time gold-exclusive purchases(I can speak uqBLjqr - Concerns regarding the future of the game.

I’ve purchased every Banner, am missing 108 Sprays, have all Voice Lines, Emoji, and all but 15 Portraits, as well as every skin that costs less than 400 Shards, and am now delaying leveling up a significant part of my Heroes in preparation for a forthcoming skin event. I’m sure there are people in similar situations to me who have completed as much of their collection as they want, and anything they want they can get without spending any money, and it simply wouldn’t make sense for them to do so if they can get what they want without spending any money, with the only reason to financially support the game they enjoy – but then what is the point of the IGC if not to be able to get what they want without spending any money?


Upcoming Long-Term Content

Things can go wrong in unexpected ways, things can suddenly implode on themselves for no apparent reason, and you can spend an entire day trying to figure out where the problem is. This makes it difficult to accurately predict when things will be ready, especially when working months in advance – we’ve had two timed end-of-season dailies this year. This isn’t the first year we’ve seen this, but it’s gotten even more irritating as the pace at which material is introduced to the game has slowed — we’re given a time-frame for something to arrive in four months, and then it’s suddenly three months away without warning.

I’m not asking for anything verbose like “2021 Q4: Skin Content Pack” or “2022 Q2: New Hero”(although I do want a new hero, hopefully before then), just something that sounds like it’d be rather simple – when a new season starts, publish the date that it’s scheduled & intending to end, and if that plan has to change for whatever reasons, acknowledge that, and disclose the adjusted date – yes, people will complain, but they’ll complain anyway when they notice, then it’s better people hear it straight rather than having to scour through external sources or fiddle with their system clocks just to get the answer.


Upcoming Content in the Short Term

It’s scary to say “Patch is planned for next week!” only to have some content that appeared to be finished come up with a missing tooltip in French, or cause the visuals to crash when used in an unexpected way, or whatever other issues may arise, causing the content to be delayed by a week to resolve these issues, and no one wants to be the developer who has to deal with these issues.

I don’t know what the answer to this problem is, as talking about upcoming content can in itself keep people invested & playing the game, which is ultimately a good thing, the best I can try and come up with is that in the case of an upcoming patch, something that may work out is on the Monday, make a post that simply says that there are plans to release a patch in that week, and that if things are looking rough as that week moves closer to Wednesday, then update the community, I think there’d be a lot of positive reaction to this, assuming the team is able to reliably judge at the start of the week how finished a chunk of content is.

In my mind, this could be done as something like “We’re got a patch planned for this week featuring significant changes to Li-Ming & Butcher as well as balance changes coming to 11 other Heroes, be on the look out!”, enough to get people interested, but not enough to spoil the whole thing.

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The future of the RPG genre is uncertain to say the least. The industry is in a state of flux, as developers struggle to innovate and maintain their own relevance. This latest round of out-of-the-box ideas are a study in antithesis. An industry scrambling for new ideas is unable to innovate at the same pace it needs to. This is a problem that could be solved with some effort. I found myself getting more interested in the game as the presentation progressed.. Read more about what will gaming look like in the future and let us know what you think.

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This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • future of gaming
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  • future of gaming technology
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