The Hottest Trends in the Games Industry

The game industry is extremely wide and full of many leaders and niche players in terms of both games and game companies. Some of the past top genres and leading games are now faltering while newer ones quickly fill their places. Minus pure fads like Flappy Bird, game genres and online games generally get hot and cold over time. The leaders are usually the best indication of the strength or weakness of a particular genre.

Take MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) for an example of a game genre that has seen better days. Pay-to-play MMORPGs and then Free MMORPGs were once so hot that a single individual (myself) was able to be start a major website ( based mainly on game lists. It was was a time when World of Warcraft was still bringing in new paying players by the millions and having successful expansion after successful expansion. Looking solely at World of Warcraft, it appeared that MMORPGs were going nowhere but up. For years, that did appear to be the case. However, the exuberance over WoW and MMORPGs in general brought in incredible saturation as companies started pumping out new games left and right to take advantage of this hot trend. Smaller companies started going after Free MMORPGs (MMORPGs without monthly subscription fees) in particular and that sub-genre began to form as a longer term foil to WoW’s raging success. Media would occasionally tout a WoW killer every few months or so,  but no MMORPG really stepped up claimed that throne for the giant from Activision Blizzard.

Although the aforementioned free games did play a part, the main games that challenged WoW were games of different genres like MOBAs (Massive Online Battle Arenas) and sandbox games. League of Legends, a MOBA, is the undisputed leader of its genre and is one of the most popular games in the world. If Riot ever has an IPO, it would likely be a Wall Street darling and easily eclipse current laggards such as ZNGA and GLUU. Part of the reason for its popularity is that it has capitalized on executing the player-versus-player concept expertly. In fact, it is also a leader in the new E-Sports trend and is one of the top games on Twitch.TV (was recently bought by Amazon). In contrast, MMORPGs failed to correctly make into a sport. That is why MOBAs are the much hotter genre going forward.

The sandbox game leader known as Minecraft has been in the news more recently since its parent company (Mojang) was rumored to be a possible buy for Microsoft for $2 billion. Minecraft has also taken something that MMORPGs could have done, but ultimately failed: allowing players to create with their imaginations instead of constantly grinding up levels. As a result, Minecraft has an even wider age audience and is on more platforms than League of Legends and World of Warcraft. While the MOBA succeeds with competition amongst its players, Minecraft succeeds due to players working together to create massive and fun worlds for everybody to see on such media as screenshots, videos and even Livestreams on Twitch.TV. Thus, it would be very interesting if Microsoft buys this game to see what all it would do with it. This game even has mobile versions so it has incredible future potential as well.

1 comment to The Hottest Trends in the Games Industry

  • flappy bird

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