Sun. Jan 22nd, 2023

Social trends in gaming

Gaming today is unrecognisable from just ten or so years ago. The pace at which technology has changed, new innovations, different demographics playing games all adds up to a big change in gaming.

Remember, when talking about a ‘trend’, we must look at how something has changed over time.


Some genres of game have existed since the dawn of computer games: arcade games, puzzle games and so on. However, there are some genres which simply didn’t exist 15 years ago before the advent of widespread, fast and reliable Internet access. For example, MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games), Battle Royale style games, and there will be others. If you consider that many original games were single-player, and the new genres mentioned above are multi-player, it is clear that one trend in gaming is a move from single- to multi-player games.


You should consider how the proportion of people in each of these categories playing games has changed over the past 30 or so years:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Gamer type (casual/dedicated)

Game production

How has the production of games over the past 30 years changed? Were there always free-to-play games? How about indie publishers and mainstream studios?


As discussed in the Genres section, there has been a trend towards multi-player gaming, but what has driven this? It is obvious that the increasing availability of fast and reliable Internet access has played a massive part, but there are other factors too. Before the advent of subscription online gaming services (think XBox Live, PSN etc), companies would have to have their own architecture to support online gaming (and some still do!) – but, for smaller development teams, the ability to have online services provided and maintained by a central provider has lowered the barrier of entry to multiplayer, online gaming.

Artificial Intelligence

As computing equipment has become more powerful, it has become possible to complete more processing in real-time. Hardware advances now mean that some machines even have dedicated hardware for this: machine learning. Artificial Intelligence is a term that implies that the computer can learn from past experience, or be programmed to behave in a way that mimics a level of intelligence.

Calculations for this processing are very complex, and thus it is only in relatively recent times that this has become a genuine possibility. AI can increase the level of realism in a game – better opponent drivers in a racing game, or smarter enemies in a strategy game for example.

Examples of AI used in gaming include path-finding algorithms and logic-making algorithms.

Emerging technologies

Technological innovation moves forwards at great speed. Things that were the stuff of science fiction movies a few years ago are now real. For example, VR, AR, AI and Ray Tracing. All of these technologies enable game content that would have previously been impossible.

Integrated payment and multiplayer services

Android has Google Play store, Apple has the App Store, and PC users have many options, with the most popular arguably being Steam. These platforms provide payment services (both for purchases and microtransactions) as well as security. These services have enabled more developers to accept in-game payments, and have also helped improve security through scanning of submitted applications. These app stores have also made it far easier for independent publishers and designers to publish and market their games, which has helped ensure a massive boom in the number of indie developers who are able to peddle their products.