Gaming is one of the fields where trends are twice as firm as anywhere else. The community acts like a hivemind, as whatever is “the next big thing” really emphasizes the “big” part. It has always been the case, but especially now, in the era of the internet and social media.
No matter what year and era you’re talking about, there’s always something that the whole gaming community is hyped about and fixated on. The spectrum and diversity of the eras where one specific genre has dominated the industry are definitely too large for a single post, but we believe there were 3 of them that have definitely left their mark – and still are in the process of leaving those marks – on gaming.
If you have been in gaming for many years now, you’ll probably agree that FPS has dominated gaming longer than any other genre. The FPS industry as we know it started back in 1997 with the GoldenEye 007, but probably the single most influential FPS game ever was counter-strike 1.6, developed by Valve, a company that has developed multiple other ground-breaking games. Counter-strike, as a concept, was initially just a mod – a secondary, mini-game if you will – for Half-Life, a game also developed by Valve, with both its episodes among many lists of top games of all time.
After seeing such a positive response from the public, Valve formally acquired rights for counter-strike and developed a standalone game in 1999, fully releasing the game in 2000. Since then, the game has been a gigantic success, played all over the world, with thousands of tournaments. The game was way, way ahead of its time, and was playable many years into the future. Some people even play it to this day.
1.6 Wasn’t to be Counter Strike’s most successful game though, at least financially-speaking. Valve was working on a sequel for many years and released Counter-Strike: Global offensive on its Steam platform back in 2012. With Counter-Strike being such a recognized name all over the world, it was extremely hyped up, and boy did it meet the hype. The game was an instant success and was played by millions of people around the world.
It was so successful, in fact, that It was the center of one of the biggest gaming scandals in history back in 2016. For a very long time, the game’s primary source of income was – and still is – its skins, which is a cosmetic addition that players could use, like different looks for weapons, knives, etc. Long story short, due to very shady practices of some of the websites that allowed gambling with these in-game skins of real money, a lot of people lost a lot of money, amounting to millions.
This was a rather big blow to video gaming’s relationship with gambling, and gamers are now rather apprehensive when it comes to any new additions and features that provide benefits based on randomness and luck. Another result of this was the fact that gambling companies now have a hard time reaching out to gaming audiences. However, this is a two-way street, and gaming can also suffer from this. Norwegian casino Spinia has stepped up numerous times in the past and expressed its interest in funding national Norwegian esports teams, and distrust and apprehension towards the gambling industry from gamers makes this very hard. The point is, although it’s steadily rising in popularity, esports is still young, and it can use any help it can get, gambling included.
There were other massively popular FPS games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo, but we believe that Counter-Strike was the most impactful of them all, and that’s why we decided to talk about it over the others.
Right along with Counter-strike, another game was ramping up heavily in popularity – it was Dota (Defense of the Ancients), a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game. Similarly to Counter-strike, it was first a mod for a massively popular RTS game that was developed by Blizzard – Warcraft 3. Dota was to stay a mod for many more years to come until eventually it was bought by Valve and developed as its own separate game. To this day, Dota is extremely popular and is played by millions of people around the world. Its prize pools are among the largest in the whole esports.
Before Dota was even developed as a separate game, a new MOBA showed up, called League of Legends (LoL). LoL was developed by Riot Games, a company that no one had heard of before, but despite this, it was a gigantic success. It had dominated not only the MOBA genre for many years to come, but the whole gaming industry as a whole. It has been 10 years since it had been released, and it’s still dominating the market, with around 8 million concurrent players every month.
Amid the massive popularity of FPS and MOBA, probably nobody could’ve predicted that a third genre would appear, which would perhaps surpass them both. Battle Royales first became a thing when H1Z1 was released in 2015. It was a Zombie-based game that allowed mods. As you may guess, the first Battle Royale was also a mod.
The mod was created by a player named “PlayerUnknown”, and it quickly became the most popular mod of the game. The same player who created the mod later went on to create a game called PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), which was released in 2017 and went on to become a staggering success. Millions of players around the world started getting absolutely obsessed with it, and it became known to every gamer.
However, an even more popular and even more successful Battle Royale game was Fortnite. Fortnite was released in 2017, and quickly after, it became so successful that it was absolutely bizarre. The game was different from PUBG with its more cartoony graphics and animations, but the biggest difference was its building and resource harvesting feature, which meant you could harvest wood, stones, and other materials to use as fortification or terrain for vertical and horizontal movement. Fortnite broke all records, and to this day, remains one of the most – if not THE most – popular games in the world.
The Genres mentioned above have absolutely dominated the gaming industry for many years. Some of them are showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, more and more games from these genres are being released, and people are all over it.
With how dynamic the gaming industry can be, although it may seem that there’s nothing that can disrupt the trends for the foreseeable future, it’s doubtless that everything can change really fast, in a matter of a single game. As technology advances further and more things become possible, it becomes much more possible and much easier to impress gamers.
With the VR technology becoming more and more relevant ever-so faster, it opens up doors to many interesting and potentially ground-breaking technologies that can completely change the gaming as we know it. Perhaps that’s where the next big milestone in the gaming genres will come from.