4 inbound video game trends that will define 2022

Hang in there, players: 2022 is going to be weird.

For the video game industry, 2021 looked like 12 months of table dressing. Between long lead times and experimental tech trends, it quickly became clear that 2022 was going to be an important year for video games. Futuristic concepts like ‘the metaverse’ and ‘blockchain games’ began to dominate conversations throughout 2021, but they weren’t just empty buzzwords. Some of the biggest companies in the world are investing a lot of money in these ideas, making sure they would last longer, for better or for worse.

With all the pieces finally in place, players must expect an unpredictable year with extreme peaks and valleys. There will be games and news that will get gamers excited, but be prepared for plenty of social media talk. Here are four trends to look for over the next 12 months.

A massive year for games

Land enters Elden Ring.

Hope you saved a lot of money in 2021 because it’s going to be a costly year. After a year of high-profile delays, 2022 is shaping up to be the biggest year for video games since 2017. Even a quick glance at the current release schedule is intimidating. If all goes according to plan, players will get Ancient ring, Forbidden Horizon in the West, God of War Ragnarok, Gran Turismo 7, Starfield, Splatoon 3, and a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by the end of the year. And that only scratches the surface.

“If” is the keyword here. The main reason 2022 seems so crowded right now is that several of these games were supposed to launch in 2021, but have been delayed due to the pandemic. With the The Omicron variant is currently in full swing, it doesn’t look like game development will return to 100% efficiency anytime soon. There’s a good chance some of those games could move on to 2023. Even with that possibility looming, there’s still enough on the schedule to keep players busy with or without a handful of delays.

Welcome to the metaverse

Figures hang out near a fountain in Roblox.

If you’re not keeping up with tech news, the Metaverse may have sounded like a whole new concept in 2021. That was in large part thanks to Meta (formerly Facebook) which staked everything on the ambitious digital idea, in renaming it through costly marketing. countryside. Never mind that the Metaverse has been around for over a decade already thanks to games like Roblox, Fortnite, and even Second Life. With Mark Zuckerberg on board, the public was finally paying attention.

Now that it’s a hip and marketable concept, you can expect companies to get even more explicit about the games’ connection to the metaverse in 2022. It’s likely we’ll see more projects that aren’t so much. from video games to sandboxes where players can relax in a virtual space (with or without a VR headset). Expect more in-game concerts, special events, and digital merchandise that can be purchased with V-Bucks style currency. The line between “game” and “experience” will become very blurred.

Incoming NFT drama

Several phone screens showing the NFT focused service called Ubisoft Quartz.

If you were hoping that the hubbub around NFTs and cryptocurrency was just a passing fad in 2021, you’re ready for a tough reality check. Video game companies have only started experimenting with the technology and there is no reason to believe they will stop anytime soon. Giants like EA and Square Enix have made massive investments in blockchain technology, which will likely come to fruition in the new year. Soon you will likely be able to buy and own virtual goods in a variety of mainstream games – if you have a wallet full of cryptocurrency.

It won’t happen without a fight, however. Gamers have already shown resistance to the idea, fighting against any company that dares to venture into uncharted waters. Ubisoft’s current NFT experience starts poorly and STALKER 2: Heart of ChernobylThe planned NFT integration received so much negative feedback that the game developer completely canceled their plans. Any major NFT gaming project will encounter a quick reaction on social media; it’s just a matter of whether or not companies think it’s worth weathering the storm.

An industry counts with toxicity

A phone screen displaying the Activision Blizzard logo.
SOPA Images / Getty Images

The biggest gaming story of 2021 wasn’t Infinite halo, Terror Metroid, or any new exciting game: it was a series of explosive reports on the history of toxicity in the workplace from Activision Blizzard. This story resumed the news cycle, portraying the industry in a troubling light. Gamers were placed in a moral dilemma, wondering whether or not it was ethical to play games created under such bleak working conditions.

Unfortunately, this is not a new revelation. In 2020, gamers saw the same story unfold at Ubisoft. Before that, it was Riot Games. A recent IGN report notes that Destiny 2 developer Bungie faces a similar crisis. This is a seemingly widespread problem and is likely occurring in more studios than we know of.

The video game industry cannot continue to sweep the problem under the rug. Journalists regularly discover problems in more and more studios and players are talking about them more and more. Just look Star Wars Eclipse, which has players promising to boycott it because of developer Quantic Dream, a studio with a suspected history of workplace toxicity. It’s important to note that game makers also seem to have reached a breaking point. Activision Blizzard employees have started taking action to unionize their workplace, which is said to be a landmark move. The gaming industry is at a boiling point by 2022, and executives are unlikely to be able to stay the course much longer.

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