Are Gaming Genres Becoming Irrelevant?

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The Rapidly Evolving World of Crossover Gaming

Over the past decade, electronic gaming has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with a market value that now exceeds $630 billion. To understand such rapid growth, we have to take a closer look at gamers themselves. It’s clear that, as the first generation of avid gamers have reached adulthood and start to pass on their love of video games, regular gaming now appeals to a more diverse audience than ever before, both in terms of age and interests.

We now also enjoy a wider range of gaming platforms – from classic video game consoles such as the Playstation and Xbox, to MMORPGs typically played on PCs, to responsive mobile gaming apps available to download to our smartphones and tablets. There are even newfangled hybrid devices such as the Nintendo Switch, just released on March 3rd, that are designed to allow people to enjoy the same high-quality gaming experience anywhere they happen to be. And with more consoles on offer, that inevitably means more games on offer too. One fascinating trend that we’re seeing more and more of is the world of “crossover gaming”. If you’re not completely au fait with every aspect of this world, let’s break it down for you.

Crossover gaming takes many forms, but the central idea is more or less the same for all – combining one or more elements from separate entertainment entities into a single game. At one end of the spectrum, this might be a special cameo appearance from a particular character in a single level of a game; at the other end, two distinct genres are forged together to form a completely new gaming experience. So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into a few of these elements to unravel the reasons why crossover gaming is developing more and more of a presence year after year.

Random Special Guests and Really Weird Themes

Source: Puzzle & Dragons (North America) via Facebook
Source: Puzzle & Dragons (North America) via Facebook

Right then, to start things off let’s talk about a few games that allow seemingly unrelated characters from completely different worlds to meet and interact as part of a common storyline. Often, the sheer novelty value of these interactions is enough to pique the interest of an avid gamer, particularly if they are among the 165 million Americans who game regularly on their smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.

In the world of mobile gaming, few encounters are more unexpected than those found in Puzzle & Dragons by Gung Ho Online Entertainment, a puzzle game that combines different elements from classic RPGs and strategy games. One of the main draws is that the game offers a whole heap of characters that you’d never think could ever coexist in the same universe. The fact that you can unlock characters from Batman and Hello Kitty is pretty insane by itself; but when you couple that with the central purpose of the game (to defeat dragons by completing puzzles) it becomes even more so.

We also have a particular soft spot for a recent innovation from Namco, a strange blend of Galaga and Tekken that swaps all the usual enemy ships from Galaga with recognizable Tekken characters. It’s a bit gimmicky, sure, but it’s an interesting crossover version of a solid shoot ‘em up all the same.

Putting A Spin on iGaming

"online-poker-ranking-reliable" (CC BY 2.0) by Chingster23
“online-poker-ranking-reliable” (CC BY 2.0) by Chingster23

To say that online iGaming sector has carved out its own valuable space in the gaming industry as a whole is a massive understatement. From 2009 to 2017, the size of the market has more than doubled in value – from $24 billion to over $50 billion, and that growth isn’t set to slow down anytime soon.

In such a thriving marketplace, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing both established and new businesses constantly seeking ways to innovate their services in a bid to stay one step ahead of the competition. Online casinos, poker rooms and sports bookmakers are all vying to maintain their competitive edge, and crossover gaming has become a key approach to doing just that.

Leading online casinos still offer a variety of classic casino games, but more forward-looking players in the field tend to add their own distinct twist. It’s quite clear when browsing titles such as Tarzan and Lost Vegas that brands such as Betway Casino look at the bigger picture of what’s appealing or relevant to modern gaming crowds in order to provide more value – the iconic franchise in the former case, the massive appeal of zombies in popular culture in the latter. Casinos choose to integrate elements from popular films and cultural icons to bolster their service offering and engage customers by weaving in familiar themes and designs.

But that’s not all. We’re also seeing the inclusion of more and more mini-games in traditional casino offerings such as slot. This tactic has been borrowed from many traditional video games and enables punters to take part in a unique gameplay experience that is much more developed and memorable than the norm. Clever thinking, and one that falls right in line with millennial preferences.

When Franchises Collide…

"Universo_Marvel" (Public Domain) by Marcelo Silk Areado
“Universo_Marvel” (Public Domain) by Marcelo Silk Areado

Although console gaming is less of a recent innovation compared to iGaming, it certainly remains one of the more prevalent platforms for crossover titles in 2017. This is particularly the case for independent franchises that are looking to join forces to create a game that features an interesting blend of characters.

These types of games tend to appeal to diverse audiences, attracting fans from various games, movies and television shows. One prime example is the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which pits a roster of different characters from each respective series against one another in battle. With a new edition (Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite) scheduled for release this year, fans of Marvel will be buoyed by the prospect of playing as Iron Man or Captain America, whereas die-hard Capcom gamers will have the chance to select characters such as Ryu or Mega Man.

This form of crossover game is a tantalizing prospect for console gamers who usually have to make the choice between one brand or another. It makes sense really: having two different worlds collide is always a surefire way to add an extra dimension of intrigue to any gaming experience.

So there we have it. Whatever platform you’re used to gaming on, there’s sure to be at least a few crossover titles to suit your tastes. It’s a phenomenon that’s only going to grow in popularity in years to come.

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