It is not surprising that we are in a point of reflection, as we have now gone a year with life up and changed drastically from how it was before. Our daily routines are probably not ‘normal’ for some time yet, in truth, but an even part of our lives for everyone who reads this has been with us – games.
This is not a new topic; We’ve talked to developers about the impact of COVID-1
So how did gaming take the most challenging year in memory – for at least many of us – and not just survive, but thrive? First, it was uniquely located next to TV streaming services.
So how did gaming take the most challenging year in memory – for at least many of us – and not just survive, but thrive? First, it was uniquely located next to TV streaming services. We have been stuck at home for long periods, and when we seek entertainment, we go to the TV or similar device. So far, so obvious.
Of course, hardware sales jumped, and at the beginning of it all, the Nintendo Switch was the last console to be launched and a perfect fit for the time being; demand often removed supply. The insatiable demand for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S has – at least in part – been driven by this, but of course Sony and Microsoft have faced serious problems with production and materials. Nintendo fell into a good spot not only when Animal Crossing took off, but with well-established production pipelines and supply chains; a hit was taken last spring when factories closed, but from late summer 2020 onwards, Nintendo could catch up and make hay.
For the Triple-A parts of the software business, however, this has been a mixed period. On the one hand, massive titles like did get out the door, usually delivered remarkable sales due to our desire for new games; releases such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla did it especially well, but like so many great games it had problems with errors (ahem, Cyberpunk 2077).
Nintendo undoubtedly had a mixed time when it comes to the quality and depth of releases, although the accountants do not care. Paper Mario: The Origami King was nice, but the series is not the company’s most prestigious (although the Switch listing was the fastest selling for IP).
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity certainly got the blood pumping for Zelda and BoTW fans, and is an excellent title that still pushes the hardware to the limit; The Korok Forest level is painful, but remember. Past it was not much new as such, but capitalized on nostalgia and Mario’s anniversary; even the most avid fans should probably admit that Super Mario 3D All-Stars the collection was a bit dull as a celebration product. Bowsers Fury, as a new game in its Super Mario 3D World package, was innovative and fun, but even that undoubtedly lacked aspects of the usual Nintendo polish; it is not necessarily a harsh critique of the spin-off as Nintendo sets such a high bar with the franchise, but a reality in the disrupted development process.
There have often been smaller titles that have captured the lockout period. Players of all types have wanted to feel connected with family and friends, and games became a great way to achieve that.
For smaller developers, there have of course been logistical challenges, and we will talk another time about some aspects of the last year that have damaged the area. Still, when it comes to game production, many of these small teams have probably already worked remotely (‘medium-sized’ India will have found it more difficult), at least to some extent with employees spread all over the world. It has not been easy – far from it – but the flexibility and flexibility of smaller studios has served them well.
That made 2020 a fantastic year for the best of Indie games to start in the mainstream, as more complicated triple-A projects struggled to make progress and were often delayed – ‘coming now in 2022’ is a well-known line for big titles which was targeting again this year, so these issues are ongoing.
Not surprisingly, it has often been a simple concept, easy-to-play titles with a multiplayer focus that has captured the spirit of the lockdown era. Players of all types have wanted to feel connected with family and friends, and games became a great way to achieve that. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout certainly took advantage of this, with the smart decision to include it in PlayStation Plus, and greatly improved the exposure along with significant PC sales. It is often overlooked that Devolver Digital publishes this game, so it was not a lucky Indie release from nothing, but the publisher’s knowledgeable agreement with Sony was important. It’s also easy to play and enjoy, which was a trend with viral hits over the past year. We’re interested in seeing how things go with Switch owners when it comes to the console later this year.
So, of course, it is Among us, which is without a doubt the bigger story, as it really was the work of a small team without big supporters. When you look at the contemporary Steam charts, it’s fascinating, since this is a game that ticked along with a small but loyal user base for quite some time, before it exploded in life last year with permission for the strong design and pushed to powerful influences love it. The story is an exponential growth through the summer and autumn of 2020 after that major breakthrough, and is now largely a large part of the current Indie game scene. Again, it captured the need to play with others and connect, and do it in a fun way. Valheim is the current viral hit on PC, so this trend will no doubt continue for a while yet.
The trends of the last crazy year are fascinating, but the ultimate goal of this little piece is to give a thank you to developers and publishers of all sizes, from triple-A to the smallest in India, who delivered so many great games during it last year. Every challenge we have all experienced – and it will vary for each individual – will have been the same for these game creators. Reflecting on the quality and depth of the game over the past year seems even more surprising considering that.
Most importantly, games had to show a wider audience what many of us have known for decades. Video games mean something, the experiences they give us matter. Whether it’s connecting headphones and starting a solo adventure, or connecting others for multiplayer shenanigans, games provide a unique level of immersion and entertainment. As a medium, it has incredible power, and it shone in the last year.