Navigating Challenges and Sparking Innovation in Gaming

Navigating Challenges and Sparking Innovation in Gaming

Kokku is ready for 2024 Challenges (and for what’s next)

Reflecting on the last year, the game industry faced several challenges, and you know what? 2024 will not be different. We know that we are living in a volatile world, and we are ready to face unexpected challenges and solve problems. Kokku, with extensive expertise in External Development, consistently monitors the evolution of the gaming landscape, aiming for innovation and excellence as a benchmark for a new level of solutions for our partners and projects.

Economic headwinds, shifting consumer demands, supply chain complexities, and evolving legal frameworks, such as China’s ruling on financial transactions in video games1, painted a complex landscape, and the industry felt the impact, with many studios navigating through massive layoffs2 and operational difficulties. Last year also saw significant consolidation within the industry, highlighted by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The trend of major players like Embracer Group, Microsoft, and Sony acquiring studios brought about a reshaping of the gaming landscape, leading to less competition as a few large companies started to own a more significant share of the studios3.

Amidst this, there is good news, with outstanding game launches that won players’ hearts. Titles like ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ soared in acclaim, alongside other masterpieces such as ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’, ‘Resident Evil 4’ remake, ‘Alan Wake 2’, and ‘Starfield’. These successes showcased the resilience and creativity that continue to thrive within the gaming community.

Kokku, the largest External Development company in Latin America, aims to anticipate market trends to extract valuable opportunities for expansion and optimization within the gaming industry. For our team, the challenge became an opportunity. Check out some interesting insights for 2024 below, along with solutions that can enhance your project in each of these areas.

Artificial Intelligence

The year 2023 saw the rise and consolidation of several top-tiered AI products, such as Midjourney, ChatGPT, and Microsoft`s Copilot. Large language models and machine learning are poised to revolutionize how we make games, both in terms of how we can amplify creativity and how to insert new technologies and experiences in immersive games.

As we move into 2024, AI’s role in crafting immersive, personalized narratives is more pivotal than ever. AI will turn game narratives into journeys uniquely tailored to each player, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in storytelling. This is not just about enhancing gameplay mechanics; it’s about creating interactive worlds that adapt and respond to individual player actions, making every gaming experience distinctive and memorable.

AI’s influence extends beyond storytelling to encompass the entire game development process. By integrating AI, we’re streamlining how content is created, allowing for more dynamic and innovative game designs. This technology is opening new horizons in gaming, offering experiences that blend creativity with reality4.

AI’s pivotal role in crafting personalized narratives is set to create uniquely tailored journeys, making each gaming experience distinctive and memorable. Kokku has skilled Game Design teams capable of crafting solutions for challenging projects. Rely on us for an unprecedented, memorably high-quality project.

The Emergence of AR and VR in mainstream gaming

We believe that in 2024, the AR and VR landscape is set for transformative developments, with the launch of new headsets expected to have a significant impact on the industry. Playstation VR 2 and Meta Quest 3, released this year, are crucial for the further evolution of these devices.

We are yet to discover how Sony will enhance the Playstation VR 2 experience, whether it will be enough to attract more VR developers, and if it will translate into sales.

Another piece of technology that might bridge this gap are haptic feedback suits, which give players new ways of experimenting with games as well as opening new doors to the accessibility market for people with disabilities5. Sony, with Project Leonardo, aims to bring accessibility to players through new controllers6. We’ve also seen new technical features such as accessibility options in Forza Motorsport, which are giving blind players a first taste of the experience of driving cars7. The fate of VR platforms may hinge on the success and market adoption of these headsets8.

This year will be crucial in shaping the future of investments in the AR and VR fields, considering not only accessibility issues but also the impact of implementing these new technologies. Kokku has showcased its expertise in this type of technology through cases in its portfolio.

Mobile Gaming in emerging markets

The mobile gaming market is set to grow, fueled by pandemic-driven demand, which has remained. Games like Genshin Impact, with earnings of $1 billion every six months9, are a testament to this. Regions focusing on mobile gaming, such as Latin America (+6.9% to $8.7 billion), the Middle East, and Africa, have seen significant growth (up to +10.8% to $7.1 billion), contrasting with traditional gaming markets like North America and Europe, which presents a prime opportunity to investors.

Hyper-casual games dominate downloads, appealing for their simple yet engaging gameplay, as seen in hits like Base Attack and Blob Runner. Puzzle games are also evolving, adding new layers to classics and expanding their reach beyond traditional audiences. The global gaming market, encompassing mobile, hit over $184 billion in 2023, accounting for almost 50% of the market by 2023, with $92.2 billion, while still waiting for the rise of 5G technology to drive this trend10.

When developing a mobile game, it’s crucial to have an External Developer with expertise in co-development for this type of platform. Check Kokku’s portfolio for mobile game development cases and discover what it’s like to have a partner committed to excellence.

Games as a Service (GaaS) in triple A

The industry is witnessing a significant shift with the rise of Games as a Service (GaaS), a trend that gained momentum during the pandemic and is set to grow further in 2024. This model, underlined by increasing gaming subscriptions and enhanced player engagement, offers a variety of flexible billing options to suit different consumer needs11. Among Gaas, free-to-play games account for 78% of revenue. This trend will open up new business strategies for both indie developers and triple-A franchises, especially with studios with valuable IPs. World of Warcraft and Fortnite are still the top earners in this segment.

Exploring new ways to create immersive and valuable player experiences is the key to delivering quality in AAA games through Cloud Gaming and GaaS. Rely on a partner like Kokku, an expert in co-development for AAA and AA games with renowned titles and franchises such as Horizon: Forbidden West and Sniper: Ghost Warriors in its portfolio.

Retro and Nostalgia: Retro-style games, remasters and remakes

According to the YouTube Culture and Trends Team12, retro games are on the rise again. In 2022, there were over a thousand times more uploads of retrogaming content than in 2007.  Recent years have seen the resurgence of classic consoles and mini consoles preloaded with nostalgic games. Yet a new trend is emerging as we witness the arrival of faithful recreations of original consoles and computers from the past. The top countries in terms of viewers are the US, Japan, Russia, Brazil, and the UK.

These modern adaptations can connect to modern TVs and introduce new features to enhance vintage game cartridges. Atari’s Atari 2600+ is a prime example, capable of playing original game console cartridges from the 1970s and 1980s. Atari’s partnership with retro-remake specialist Digital Eclipse signals a resurgence, hinting at new games and remakes in 2024. Retro Games Ltd. has also announced a full-size Amiga console’ in late 2024, potentially reviving 16-bit classics.  The retro gaming scene is evolving, sparking rumors of Sega re-releases and Capcom’s new Resident Evil remake, promising a nostalgia-filled 2024.

Amidst the retro gaming wave, remakes and remasters are also a noteworthy industry trend. We’ve seen great remakes in 2023, such as Dead Space, System Shock, and many others. 2024 will continue to offer new opportunities for IP holders and brand owners to tackle the nostalgia factor and win new players. With titles such as Final Fantasy VII, Silent Hill 2, Splinter Cell, Max Payne 1 and 2, and Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater. 

Seek an External Development partner that understands the business. Kokku has successfully focused on Porting and Remastering various titles.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Empires striking back

As we mentioned before, 2023 was huge for mergers and the consolidation of big conglomerates, such as Microsoft’s $70 bid for Activision Blizzard. This trend will likely only continue into 2024, with some reports mentioning moves being made by companies such as Nintendo.

This predicted surge in mergers and acquisitions emerges against the backdrop of an increasingly complex and unstable business landscape. The current scenario presents a mixed bag for founders, with challenges in raising early and growth/late-stage funding rounds. However, it simultaneously opens new opportunities for venture capital investments13.

As leaders in External Development in Latin America, specializing in AA and AAA game projects and providing art production, co-development, full-development, live ops, and porting solutions, we constantly monitor the evolution of the market and its technologies, focusing on delivering exceptional experiences for players around the globe. Looking ahead to 2024, Kokku is set to navigate these market dynamics with a firm commitment to innovation and quality. Kokku is ready to harness this trend, along with others, to deliver gaming experiences that break new ground in creativity and engagement.

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