The 2019th was a fantastic year for the video games industry; however, it was not perfect. The official announcement of PlayStation 5, presentation of the new generation of Xbox, new policy regarding DLC, rise of free-to-play games – all of this made a huge difference in perception of the industry in comparison with 2018 year, which was more traditional and conservative for the customers and did not have many innovations for developers of video games.
The 2020th will be the last year for consoles of the current generation, which makes an impact on their sales and makes production of the video games a little bit rough for these, who will have to adjust to the new devkits. Certainly, this is not an issue as many developers already learned how to work with the current architecture; however, the sales departments and large stores will notice the lesser demand on the current generation of consoles and will act on it retrospectively. Obviously, it will determine the sales of upcoming products and will force developers to focus on development even more. Without a huge support from inner studios of Sony and Microsoft both PlayStation 5 and Xbox will be bound to fail in sales, which means that publishers will have to roll out major titles in 2020 to support the new generation of consoles. These who wanted to buy one will wait for the new generation as well and it will certainly affect the sales of the current product. They may even decrease in comparison with 2019 year, however it’s all unpredictable – all we know is that some people will wait for the next generation rather than buy soon-to-be outdated console now.
People stopped buying, complaining about and discussing paid DLC as they used to do in the past. It’s not the major trend anymore and considering how a few titles are accompanied with DLC it’s obvious that developers and publishers don’t see them as the major source of income. People have changed – the amount of DLC released this year is actually quite less than in previous years, for instance none of the real time strategies released this year had a significant amount of DLC. Even these titles, which were supported by them in the past, are no longer updated with DLC. You could expect new add-ons to Outer Words, Borderlands 3, Red Dead Redemption on PC but no – they are not even there! People stopped expected them and developers no longer release them the month later after the release of the man title. Games of the previous years had more DLC than an average AAA-game of 2019. Pay attention to this trend, please.
Rise of free-to-play games is another trend of 2019. Just look at the amount of popular free-to-play games to realize that f2p model is viable and can compete with the major ones. Even Counter Strike: Global Offence has become a free-to-play game and although it occurred in 2018, you could experience it the whole 2019 year. Dota 2 never walked away and it’s still as popular as other f2p titles, like Team Fortress 2 and Fortnite, which seems to be on the peak of its success. Add Apex Legends, some other notable titles, failure of Artifact by Valve (one of the reason why it was ignored was its high cost) and you’ll get the impression of the total transformation of the market. In fact, f2p games are as popular as they used to be but due to influx of new players, their developers now receive even more money than in the past and it makes them even more attractive for the beginners, both players and developers.
The decline of Battle Royale games is also understandable: you can’t play for the whole year the same game and exploit the same genre. All who wanted to play Battle Royale games already found their niche; the audience is distributed that way that there is no space for the new developers and publishers. Only very few battle royale games will survive, others will be shut down completely.
Disregard to good storyline games is another major trend of 2019. We had a lot of them in the last year: Draugen, Night Call, The Beast Inside, The Sinking City and many others. They never were nominated for “the game of the year” award or praised by the majority of mass media, reviewers or members of different awards committees. Even the Occupation, which had non-linear gameplay and unique storyline, was ignored by players and reviewers. People simply did not understand it. As for me, I would call The Sinking City one of the best games of 2019 and would definitely find a spot for other titles with rich storyline and unique storytelling effects in my top 10 of the best video games of 2019 year.
Another thing to consider is the increased competition on the market of online gaming stores. Gog.com introduced Galaxy 2.0 client, which made it an incredible competitor to Steam, Bethesda continued to sell games via their own site and client (for instance, Fallout 76), Epic games store received unique games, which made it a direct rival to Steam. All in all, there are plenty traits, hinting at transformation of the market. This trend will continue to be dominating during the whole 2020 year.