In recent years, the gaming industry has exploded, out-earning more traditional forms of entertainment by far. With a whopping $667.77 billion projected by 2030, the global gaming industry is now estimated to be worth $272.86 billion in 2024, with over 3 billion gamers around the world.

What’s contributed most to this meteoric rise? Leading the charge is mobile gaming, fueled by apps on the “freemium” model. But a real surge has also come from the “Play-to-Earn” model, allowing players to adopt gaming as a full-time profession. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube gaming now pay out as much as $300,000/month to their top-ranked players. The new wave of VR/AR gadgets and games has also taken things to a whole new level.

Below, we’ll take a look at what gamers are looking for in new games and what the most in-demand stacks are for game developers.

Diversity is Key

Believe it or not, the gaming industry is stuck at this point in time. There are literally an infinite number of games out there covering the good old RPG, battle royal, or FPS. It’s time to change it up a bit. With the tech available today, we need to evolve from traditional genres and deliver a more narrative-driven experience with the help of real-life simulations, diverse characters, stories, and settings to cater to a wider pool of players.

Moreover, it’s high time to kick off more inclusive themes and look past the traditional dynamics. We need to include characters from varied backgrounds to allow developers to experiment and create new themes and genres that do not currently exist. For example, introducing historical figures in battle royals or incorporating LGBTQ characters in RPGs and FPS would allow players to relate to the characters, making the experience more resonating with their actual lives.

AI-powered game engines can be a potential tipping point here. AI is already being used to some extent in NPC behaviour, but developers could use it for far more. From storylines to NPC development, design concepts, and coding, AI can help a developer almost every step of the way.

Using AI could help promote diversity and inclusion, which goes far beyond simple nation-based demographics. And despite what you might’ve read in articles last fall, virtual and mixed reality are becoming more and more accessible. This wider acceptability of AR/VR gadgetry openly encourages developers to look outside the box to new horizons for a more complete immersive experience.

What The Consumer Wants from Modern Games?

As with everything, consumer requirements for everything related to games are changing rapidly. Players are now looking for something more than entertainment, with the highlights being the following.

Engaging Narratives

Today’s players demand far more than simple entertainment. They want compelling stories and characters and to be able to make choices with consequences that shape the narrative, with branching storylines and multiple paths and endings.

Emotional Connection

With the social divide increasing with each passing day, players are now looking to develop an emotional connection with characters. This could be delivered through detailed stories, animations, and cut scenes.

Smooth Online Experiences

Modern players want stable servers, lag-free gameplay, and robust social features that include everything from building clans, guilds, and co-op gameplay to in-game communities for collaboration and fun.

Monetisation Balance

Fair microtransactions, better rewards, and compelling battle passes are also being persuaded by the players, along with clear pricing and content lists, as well as disclosure about how microtransactions can affect gameplay. Fun, non-gritty, rewarding progression systems that don’t feel weighted in favour of pay-to-win strategies are also areas where game developers are required to improve.

Cross-Platform Play

Players are also demanding access to play across devices and platforms for convenience. Seamless online functionalities such as robust voice chat, matchmaking systems, and cross-platform multiplayer options are also massively sought-after features. Besides, players require moderation that can effectively combat toxic behaviour and reward respectful interactions.

Tech Stacks for Success of Games

These are the best stacks and game engines that developers and companies can use to design and create games that are optimised for modern times.

  • Game Engines: Unreal Engine, Unity, Godot.
  • Game Design: Blender, Figma, Photoshop, FMOD Studio.
  • Networking: Photon, Lidgren, RakNet.
  • Cloud Gaming: Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Microsoft Azure PlayFab.
  • VR/AR Development: Oculus SDK, ARKit, ARCore, Unity.
  • Data Analytics: Unity Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Unreal Insights.

Skills in Demand

The following skills are in high demand from tech companies to bring these games to market faster and in quantity.

  • Game Programmers: C++, C#, Java, scripting languages.
  • Game Designers: Narrative design, level design, mechanics design.
  • 3d Artists: Character modelling, environment design, animation.
  • Network Engineers: Building and maintaining online infrastructure.
  • Data Scientists: Player behaviour analysis, game balance adjustments.
  • Agile Development Methodologies: Scrum, Kanban.
  • DevOps Practices: Automation, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD).
  • Cloud-based Development Tools: Collaboration platforms, Google App Engine, Cloud Monitoring, and version control systems.
  • AI And Machine Learning: Python, LLM, Procedural generation, concept design, content creation, game testing.

Having any of these skills, you can easily get into the gaming industry and have the potential to impact the game development cycle.