GameRefinery cofounder Joel Julkunen and Square Enix Mobile Product Lead Albert Martinez reflect on the most notable trends of 2019 and discuss what they anticipate for 2020.
Trends of 2019
- Battle passes have permeated multiple genres due to ease of implementation and engaging design.
- The feature shows how effective innovation can come from adding simple layers, not making big, fundamental changes.
- Ads are offsetting paywalls.
- The best commercial end result for developers comes from being generous with rewards and letting gamers play.
- Match-three games do this by giving players unlimited lives to engage with levels and then monetizing core game play.
- Pokémon GO dominates location-based AR gaming through the right IP fit for mobile apps and use of social features like PvP options and huge events.
- Steep development costs and unclear return on investment make AR gaming a high risk venture few are willing to approach.
What’s to Come in 2020
Growth of Hybrid Genres
- Games that blend genres and features can be just as innovative and have lower risk than completely new designs.
- Idle RPG is an example of a successful mixed genre: a mid core RPG is combined with elements of causal games to speed up a typically dense game style.
Transitions to Mobile
- Big PC and console IPs like Call of Duty and League of Legends are coming to mobile.
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