Game developer predictions for 2014

Game developer predictions for 2014
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

January 1st 2014 at 10:00AM

The games industry has an exciting year ahead of it, but what do leading developers and platform holders believe will be the big trends of the next twelve months?

The indie tag will become less relevant, while the most successful indies will start to make games that fill the old double-A space, and in some cases, triple-A. I hope to see PS4 showcase this trend.”
Shahid Ahmad, head of strategic content, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

“I think that more independent developers will start to embrace consoles, as it is now becoming easier for us to reach out to companies like Sony and Nintendo.”
Sophia George, co-founder of Swallowtail Games and games designer in residence at V&A Museum

“Some big consolidations, especially in mobile.”
Gareth Edmondson, CEO, Thumbstar

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first true, native, triple-A mobile title within 2014.”
Darren Jobling, CEO, Eutechnyx

“I think we’ll see mobile go from massive to super-massive. Chat Apps will redefine distribution in the West, as they have done in Asia. Major mobile consolidation will take place in the second half of the year, driven by increasing marketing costs and an acceptance that mobile is a lasting and irrevocable trend.”
John Earner, CEO, Space Ape Games

“The honeymoon period of the new-gen consoles will soon be over. The (much hyped) release of SteamBox will bring opportunities and challenges alike. The last bastions of non-digital distribution surely won't go out without a fight, whilst our various digital marketplaces will continue to struggle to resolve the problems around content discovery. Not to mention how many new companies are expected to make their dreaded "second album" and handle the transition from being a one-hit-wonder to a reliable business.”
Imre Jele, founder, Bossa Studios

"From our perspective I would hope to see two trends really take off - firstly, developers and digital publishers continuing to invest in their marketing and PR capabilities and understanding, so they can compete in the global digital marketplace. And secondly developers  - especially independents - realising and investigating how valuable their skills could be to businesses in other sectors. Whether it's healthcare, marketing or events - these are all industries we're in talks with to investigate how game developers can bring their skills and expertise to bear in helping them provide a more effective and engaging experience for the consumer.

"In 2014 we are also likely to witness an increase in the size and quality of mobile and tablet games as the market continues to mature,  which will likely mean bigger development teams and project lead times too. I also hope as an industry we make real progress in monetising games in ways that balance the need for sustainable revenue with meaningfully and positively contributing to the gameplay experience."
Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA

“From a tech perspective, I’m looking forward to seeing if 2014 is the year that VR and AR make their breakthroughs in to the mainstream. It will also be very interesting to see what comes out of the efforts format holders are making to open up more to self-publishing indie developers. But top of my list would be to see a UK studio take the mobile mantle from Supercell, and a UK studio break through with a console game that challenges our definition and boundaries of what a game is.”
Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE

“We'll definitely be seeing more development in HTML5 and webGL, resulting in more games using these technologies being produced at the highest quality and with bigger budgets.”
Ella Romanos, CEO, Remode Studios 

"The rise of the PC game. PC games had begun to fade away, but are coming back already, but I think this will accelerate because of the general rise of independent development and the open nature of the platform."
David Braben, founder, Frontier Developments

“Nintendo announce the Wii2 which uses some kind of revolutionary holographic technology and is positioned at $100 a console.”
Martin Severn, RuneScape art director, Jagex

“A revitalisation of the games development industry in the UK, some hugely innovative and creative titles coming from our small island, and politicians continuing to embrace the creative industries in general.”
Jason Kingsley, co-founder and CEO, Rebellion 

“We will see more non-triple-A projects grabbing the headlines and doing better than previous years, and perhaps less triple-A titles in general at retail as digital gathers more pace.”
Stewart Gilray, CEO, Just Add Water

“We're going to see another few games come from nowhere and make huge amounts of money - probably via F2P. I'm hoping that one will be our new top secret game!”
Philip Oliver, founder, Radiant Worlds

“HTML5 games could become much more viable, especially with Spil Games investing heavily into the sector. I also think we’re going to see a lot more sophisticated indie games cropping up now that there is a direct route to the major consoles.”
Daniel Da Rocha, managing director, Mudvark

“Cloud computing and game streaming will start to radically change the way we make and consume games on consoles.”
Phil Gaskell, founder, Ripstone

“I honestly believe the latter half of 2014 will start showing a crash in F2P, I think that the market is becoming oversaturated and eventually it will crash. I think Steam is going to become even bigger and better and in turn help the smaller guys do more and more, I also think we're going to start seeing some fantastic new IPs coming through.”
Aj Grand-Scrutton, founder, Dlala Studios

“I see 2014 as the year where the cross-platform experience delivers as more than a marketing exercise, where teams will provide genuinely complementary experiences across multiple platforms, where the games work together to give a meta experience on top of them all. But it needs somebody to be brave and take the risk!”
Nick Button-Brown, studio head, Improbable

“I’m hoping to see more gems that continue to break the mould and present us with something new. It will be great to see the next-gen consoles really coming into their own and showing us something special. Also, I would expect to see more in the way of Internet TV, and games accessibility.”
Fin McGechie, Creative Director, Beartrap Games

“I reckon we'll definitely see more on VR tech - Oculus obviously, and perhaps other platform-holders getting in on the act - which is great, as I am actually probably the only person who loves the Virtual Boy. The PS4 and XB1 will really get into their stride, so can't wait to play Titanfall, Destiny and Watch Dogs - plus I can't wait to see what Valve has in store with their Steam Box and that amazing haptic "owl" controller. Oh, and Mario Kart on Wii U will be massive amounts of fun - but you knew that anyway.”
Jamie Sefton, managing director, Game Republic

“The trend in 2014 is going to be for tool providers to be more connected with indie dev community in a more transparent way and to build development tools with the support of the whole community. If tool providers continue to deliver more accessible creative tools, we will see a greater range of people use games as the vessel for their creative message.”
Wesley Adams, marketing specialist, Autodesk

“Oculus Rift is, personally speaking, the most exciting games prospect for 2014. It won’t be a mass market product for many years but I predict that we will see some genuinely innovative software released for it that could well redefine what we mean by interactive entertainment.”
Nick Gibson, founder, Games Investor Consulting

“I’m not expecting any major revelations or changes during 2014. Unless there are strong, must-have titles released at a decent pace, then Xbox One and PS4 will probably struggle until Q4 (although I’m looking at picking up an Xbox One when Titanfall arrives in March).”
Stu Taylor, founder, Dead Good Media

“The settling of the dust as new generations of console become ubiquitous, and more exploration of interesting tech (streaming, controllers for mobile, competition for the space under the TV etc), which all points to one thing - raised expectations from gamers both casual and core, and overcoming these new challenges will be what defines 2014.”
Andrew Smith, AppyNation

“I hope 2014 is the year that smart TV gets it shit together. The living room feels like an open goal for a mass market consumer device that stealths games in whilst purporting to do other things – namely music, TV and films. Games consoles will continue to sell to those who identify themselves as gamers, which is a comparative niche. If a living room device can get in to people's lives and then offer a great gaming experience, like Facebook and smartphones did then we're on to a winner. It will happen. The question is when.”
Will Luton, senior designer, TinyCo

“I expect new developers will soon realise that in an ecosystem made of so many innovative and polished products, it’s very unlikely that a new 2D platformer will become overnight the next Super Meat Boy or Thomas Was Alone. Players are getting used to a certain level of in-game experience and it's up to us to keep up with their expectations. Maybe there's no such thing as an "indie bubble", but there are surely lot of myths around this part of the game industry that are about to burst.”
Alan Zucconi, independent developer

“I'd like to see us move beyond identifying developers in pre-defined silos. While smaller indie teams inevitably require different support from publishers and hardware manufacturers than more established studios, I hope we'll start to see more of a blurring of the line between indies at triple-A devs, at least in terms of how they're perceived. 'Indie' is no longer, if it's ever been, a label that can adequately describe the wealth of creativity that comes out of the smaller independent teams so I'd I like to see 2014 being the year when we start to define content in better ways that go beyond referring to how it was created and by whom.”
Natalie Griffith, owner, Press Space PR

“My biggest prediction (and hope) for 2014 is a global comedown on free-to-play. After getting milked for untold millions for truly worthless digital items and addiction scratchers, I think consumers are going to start waking up to the evil methods developers are using to get players to spend money in their games. I think we’ll see more developers band together and fight against trends to make games into virtual slot machines. I think consumers are going to get angrier for getting prompted to buy crap after each race they finish in the $60 game they just purchased.”
Ryan Payton, founder, Camouflaj

“I imagine the PS4 and Xbox One will begin to gather more momentum and we will see the true arrival of MMOs on console with games such as Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny and The Division. MTX will also be integral part of these open world MMOs on console.”
Gerard Miley, Transformers Universe visualisation art director, Jagex

“We are due a raft of new connectivity between mobile, TV, consoles, tablets and other devices - and more than just storing a few web bookmarks.  Devices like ChromeCast, Apple TV and WiDi boxes are all going to start to change the way we interact with our technology, hopefully also heralding a new wave of simplification to make broad adoption a reality.”
Harvey Elliott, CEO, Marmalade