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The Future Starts Now: Gaming trends to look out for in 2024


The year 2024. Although this is now only weeks away, it still sounds like it belongs to some sort of futuristic videogame. With this new year on the horizon, we thought we'd reflect on the year and revisit our thoughts about our 2023 trends - the trends that have defined the last twelve months in the games industry.

Layoffs hit hard

Perhaps the most notable trend that we discussed in the last blog was talent churn and layoffs. In early 2023, it was already becoming the new normal, and as we predicted, it has sadly become an extremely common occurrence. There's no other way to put it: The industry is in significant turmoil, driven by shrinking growth post-pandemic, and fuelled by shareholder speculation. And while some CEOs are still getting richer, over 6500 people have lost their games industry job this year.

"The layoffs we've seen over the past 12 months have been hard to make peace with. To outsiders looking in, you'd think perhaps that the gaming sector is struggling, when in actual fact the sector continues to grow year on year - just not quite at the same rate."
- Ben Joy

The exceptionally high quality that audiences have enjoyed this year cannot be maintained under these conditions. But as we look into 2024, we're sadly forced to conclude that this trend appears set to continue, at least for the short to medium term. Product quality and speed of delivery will be tricky to maintain for companies who have cut too mercilessly. The industry may take years to recover from the burnout that some staff will face, and many of those staff will be looking to switch to a more stable career outside of games. All of which will (eventually) start a new battle to retain top talent, as the next development cycles begin to ramp up. TIGA is already reporting that 68% of UK studios are struggling to fill vacancies, highlighting how out-of-step many studios are with the broader workforce and their needs.

Here's hoping that by the end of next year, we start to see a reversal of fortune, and we can begin the process of renewing our industry's incredible capabilities - in a way which is fair and equitable, in a way that protects workers, and in a way that we can all celebrate. 


2023 has been an exceptionally good year for videogame consumers, who have enjoyed a higher than average number of critically acclaimed products. As usual, many of them are sequels. But what's more unusual, and more notable, is the rise of beloved remasters and remakes.

This isn't the first year that publishers and studios have turned to hits from the past, given them a fresh coat of paint, and re-released them. But it is perhaps the first year in which that has been the source of many of the year's best and most popular games. Despite exceptionally strong competition, the 2023 version of Resident Evil 4 still made the Game of the Year nominees at The Game Awards. Metroid Prime remastered delighted Nintendo fans old and new. Persona 4 Golden, Dead Space, Quake 2, Super Mario RPG, and many more besides also performed well.

It's a trend that seems set to continue, with the likes of Silent Hill 2, Splinter Cell, Max Payne, and Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater - not to mention an extremely quick revisit to The Last of Us Part II. 

In a world where games are increasingly expensive to make, relying on the power of a franchise (through sequels and spinoffs) has always been a popular way to minimise risk. The rise of the remaster and the remake are a way of reducing that risk even further - you're literally releasing something again that you know people love. 

"From a marketing perspective, products like this are both a blessing and a curse. The challenge is to differentiate the new release and convey the reason why a new version is worth buying. The benefit is, you should already have a deep well of knowledge about what aspects of the game made players gravitate to the original. You can create much richer social posts, web content, and press releases using that data."
- Taya B

The AI conversation

It's the topic of discussion that just won't go away - what's going on with generative AI?

While we're still a long way away from immersive experiences authored entirely by super-powerful artificial intelligence, generative AI has arrived. Systems like ChatGPT exist, and people are starting to use them.

So, across the entertainment landscape, ways of working are changing - and in some cases, being threatened - by the existence of AI tools. In the world of TV and Film, writers and actors have both taken strike action this year, and one of the reasons was to secure protection against "computers taking jobs".

Whether it's dialogue being written by AI without hiring writers, or AI-generated actor performances created without hiring actual actors, these same battles are coming to our industry too. What remains to be fully seen is how, if at all, creatives at games studios push back against AI. What might the ramifications be on the workforce at large? And crucially, when AI-created content starts appearing noticeably and regularly in games, how will consumers react to it?

"We are always striving to get things done quicker and more efficiently, but I don't want to see that at the cost of people's jobs. I'm also not sure we're close to where the experiences would actually be great for players anyway. Smaller teams may be able to leverage AI as they grow, as they will not be able to afford hiring to the same levels AAA studios can, but it is not yet, and arguably never should be, a replacement for the human touch."
- Ben Joy

In 2023 the AI fuse was lit. In 2024, we start to see how explosive this trend could really be for games.

All eyes on Nintendo

While the battle for console technology supremacy between Sony and Microsoft rumbles on, there is one company out there who do things a little differently. For Nintendo, the focus is on strong software, with often innovative (but cheaper) hardware, rather than getting caught up in an arms race over teraflops or ray-tracing.

With the Nintendo DS, they broke all records for a handheld console. With the Wii, they created a cultural phenomenon and inspired an age of motion controlled games, capturing the hearts of millions of consumers who don't traditionally play games. And most recently, with the Switch, they created a hybrid console that has become a huge success as both a handheld and a home console, selling over 130 million units. 

In 2024, we're expecting to see what they do next. 

Will it simply be a slightly-improved version of the Switch? Or will it do something new, something that challenges and shakes up industry expectations about what consoles are capable of? With Nintendo's track record, either is possible. 

Gaming continues to be a growing market, attracting new players in droves year on year. But there's still plenty of people out there who are yet to join in. If the successor to the Switch can attract new audiences, there's going to be plenty of work for marketers to get the right games in front of the right people. And where Nintendo dare to tread, others like to follow. It could be a very interesting year.

Final thoughts

Predicting the future is a strange and difficult business, because although gaming is a space of innovation and change, ultimately, nothing is going to be drastically different when we wake up on January 1st. So, instead of wild dreams, our focus is always on listening. It's no surprise that our 2024 trend list is mostly a discussion around how the existing trends from 2023 are beginning to evolve and have an impact. The same business and marketing fundamentals that have served you well this year will continue to serve you well in the future, as long as you're paying attention, and ready for whatever change comes your way.

We'll be happy, as usual, to support you through whatever 2024 may bring. And whether any of our crystal ball predictions come true in the twelve months ahead, at the very least, we'll probably have to update all the websites to include a new icon for the "Switch 2" - or whatever it ends up being called. So cheers to Nintendo, we hope you have a fantastic holiday season, and we'll see you in 2024!