Sign up for the GI Daily here to get the biggest news straight to your inbox
2024 is in its early days as to what’s in store for the games industry. 2023 proved to be eventful, with Activision Blizzard joining Microsoft officially and the sector losing thousands of people through waves of job cuts.
It’s anyone’s guess what trends, stories, and topics will become the narrative of the new year. GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to publishers, developers, and games professionals about their predictions for 2024.
Xalavier Nelson Jr., creative director, Strange Scaffold
StrangeScaffold’s Xalavier Nelson Jr. says 2024 will see the industry and games investment torn between two competing movements.
Nelson says, “On the first hand, everyone wants to take the biggest financial swings possible, regardless of market factors, player desires, and production realities. This will result in more unexpected budget increases and project delays, which will have a domino effect of instability on publisher portfolios.
“That’s already been happening for the past few years, and these conditions will only worsen as the overall economic environment atrophies.
“On the second hand, the appetite for indie projects requiring support in the $500,000 range and below is increasing, with the caveat that all of those signings are happening on a short-term basis to try to fill the space between delayed larger bets – which puts that support in the area of finishing funds while creating a deeply uncertain environment for developers to pitch their projects within at any given time.”
He suggests that the sector braces itself because he believes these systemic issues are not likely to change until 2026 at the earliest.
Kate Edwards, CEO, Geogrify
Geogrify CEO Kate Edwards says 2024 will see more visibility from global game creations while AAA publishers and studios work on finding their role in a changing industry.
She says, “I see a pronounced increase in game titles becoming more visible and successful from emerging markets, as well as non-North American and non-European studios making greater progress in market penetration in the West.
“Players are always restless for new experiences and worlds to explore, and as the demographics of game players continues to expand globally, this need won’t be met only by primarily Japanese and Western companies.”
Edwards continues, “This is especially the case as we continue to witness consolidation efforts at the AAA level and the resultant disruption, both in the workplace and in delivering consistent, high-quality content outside of the big, established franchises.”
Seungchul Kim, CEO, Neowiz
Neowiz’s Seungchul Kim believes that the Korean games sector will see some changes in technologies and continued growth for mobile and console gaming.
Kim says, “In terms of the Korean gaming market, we’re expecting to see an increase in the use of AI technology in an effort to boost work efficiency and manage rising HR costs. We’re also anticipating that the VR gaming market will experience significant changes with the introduction of next-gen products such as the Apple Vision Pro.
“Additionally, competition in the Korean mobile gaming market is set to intensify while the PC/console gaming market will experience consistent growth as it has in recent years.”
Neowiz’s CEO also projects that Korean game developers will become more active with engaging with game fandoms. He expects more live streaming engagements via platforms such as Twitch. Meanwhile, the esports audience is expected to keep on growing.
“We’re expecting to see an increase in the use of AI technology in an effort to boost work efficiency and manage rising HR costs”Seungchul Kim, Neowiz
Alexandre de Rochefort, CEO, Gameloft
Gameloft’s Alexandre de Rochefort also predicts a rise in the use of AI for game development.
“2024 should see the use of generative AI tools growing in the gaming industry to help simplify some asset creation processes, notably for UA purposes, but also to improve the players’ experience, either in-game with new, AI-powered narration or dialog features, or for services such as customer care,” says De Rochefort.
The Gameloft executive also projects that current gaming subscription services will become more popular in 2024. He explains, “[These services] have all shown there’s a strong user base that prefers to access a large library of games for a regular, monthly fee, and we are just hitting the tip of this industry-changing business model as it’s poised to be more dominant in the new year.”
He adds, “Games as a service will also continue to grow and expand to all platforms beyond mobile, bringing even more cross-platform experiences that allow players to enjoy the same game regardless of the device they use.”
Jake Perlman-Garr, global head of corporate development, Riot Games
Riot Games’ Jake Perlman-Garr predicts the year will be rocky for the games industry.
Perlman-Garr says, “We’ll see some negative trends from 2023 continue next year with venture funding remaining muted and on the sidelines while they look for a major venture-backed PC/Console win, with some studios having to restructure or shut down.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom. I believe private equity will take a keen interest in the gaming sector and will make some big acquisitions following Savvy acquiring Scopely and Sega acquiring Rovio.”
Perlman-Garr also believes that the success of single-player narrative games in 2023, such as Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield, will increase investment in premium/boxed titles.
Brad Hendricks, CEO, Blind Squirrel Games
Brad Hendricks of Blind Squirrel Games believes the year will see publishers operating on risk mitigation with their investments as they opt for more consistent returns.
“Based on these factors, moves toward games based on licensed IP, remasters of existing titles, and re-imagined IP will be trending during the coming year. These three focuses are less susceptible to market fluctuations. They have a built-in demand that can provide a constant revenue stream for owners and publishers, especially if the IP has a proven track record of success in its other iterations or in its original form,” says Hendricks.
“This tactic is also a win for consumers, as new chapters in beloved franchises help world-build and strengthen the IP for future development.”
“Moves toward games based on licensed IP, remasters of existing titles, and re-imagined IP will be trending during the coming year”Brad Hendricks, Blind Squirrel Games
Chelsea Blasko and Adam Boyes, co-CEOs, Iron Galaxy
Co-CEOs of Iron Galaxy Chelsea Blasko and Adam Boyes say that games-as-a-platform will continue solidifying themselves as industry standards.
They explain, “One of the most interesting trends that we are investigating are games that have transcended singular experiences to become platforms for all sorts of interactive entertainment. Some good examples of this are Roblox and Fortnite, which have expanded to become a place where players can find many different things to do.”
“These new ecosystems are breaking new ground that welcome collaborative development from creators of every shape and size. For the player, the potential for variety and discovery is only starting to become realized. For developers or companies that want gamers as an audience, the opportunities are limitless.”
Simon Carless, founder, GameDiscoverCo
GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless sees 2024 as a year where the middle of the market will continue to strive for consumer attention among their competition.
“With nearly 100,000 games available on Steam and almost 15,000 added in 2023 alone, and a massive amount of high-quality legacy titles available at deep discounts or via game subscription services, new games will continue to fight for attention – both on PC and console,” Carless says.
“Players are often happy to buy discounted games or less expensive micro-indie hits like Vampire Survivors or Lethal Company rather than a new game for $20-$30 (or more). And many [consumers play] a main games-as-a-service title (free-to-play or paid). They’re less motivated to change it for another unless they can bring their friends along.
Carless adds that to do well in 2024, gaming firms need to own a big catalog of discounted games and need to break through with a must-play title.
He adds, “The good news for doing this in 2024: graphical fidelity and company size may not predicate success, so tiny teams can have massive success making a game anywhere in the world. The bad news? You’re competing against thousands of those tiny teams, and ‘long tail’ revenue is being affected by the sheer amount of titles on the market. And that’ll be ‘the new normal,’ in 2024, 2025, and beyond.”