The global games market is enjoying a boom time the likes of which we’ve never experienced before with the industry looking set to exceed $300 billion annual revenue by the end of the year. This period has seen some of the largest and most ambitious titles ever produced come to light – from Red Dead Redemption II, to Cyberpunk 2077. And while it’s great news for blockbuster triple-A gaming, the impact of this waxing sector is being felt across all platforms – from mobile, to the cloud.
But what are the fastest growing games in the world today? New game genres have been in the ascendancy in recent years, whereas other formats have emerged as sleeper hits. Let’s take a look at the genres and game types with the largest growth areas in 2023.
This sector is a broad church that encompasses everything from casual mini-games to sports betting. These games typically occupy the extreme end of the ‘casual’ spectrum, and their accessibility on mobile devices is at the root of their success.
Over the next 10 years it is estimated that a further 1.5 billion people will ‘go online’. What’s more, as the upfront costs of a smartphone are significantly lower than a PC or computer, the vast majority of these new internet users will be accessing games from their smartphones.
Of the browser games out there today, none has come to enjoy as much success as online slots. These are a modern take on the classic fruit-machines you’re accustomed to seeing in depictions of brick-and-mortar casinos – however, unlike their forebears, online slots have no limits placed on them when it comes to incorporating new game modes or themes. This makes them endlessly engaging, and leading platforms such as Vegas Slots Online have come to serve as a key resource for those wanting to access these titles from their mobile browsers. The future for this sector looks good, as people continue to come online, these casual and often free games will benefit in kind for years to come.
One of the newer game genres on this list, battle royales are last-man-standing online deathmatch games that normally take place on a large single map between many players – sometimes in excess of 100. The goal is to emerge the victor, and these games are well loved both for their solo player modes and their 2v2 and 4v4 game types.
Popular examples include Fortnite, Apex Legends and Free Fire. The modern origins of the battle royale lie with what remains the most popular example of the mode – PUBG, otherwise known as PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds.
The secret to battle royales’ popularity has much to do with their monetization models. Known as F2P (Free to Play), it leverages a widespread appeal for microtransaction items to fund development. Crucially, this means that players can access the full game, without handicap, free of charge. This not only keeps organic player numbers high, ensuring well populated matches, but it creates an invitational atmosphere that welcomes gamers of all means.
The rise of esports has been the most significant story in the games industry over the past 2 years. Now virtually a household name, top-flight competitive video games such as Dota 2, League of Legends and CS:GO are finding new fans and advocates from across the gaming, and sporting, world.
At the time of writing, esports is commonly considered to be the fastest growing esport in the world, outcompeting the likes of T20 cricket, MMA and Formula One. The impact of mainstream society cottoning on to the thrill of spectating competitive titles has yet to be fully realized, though already we’re witnessing the sector grow significantly in cultural capital.
In the future it will be important to watch how mobile-optimized esports fare. Already in the far east, mobile esports such as Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are as popular as conventional PC esports – and in some cases more so. This trend will likely continue.
In fact, many of those future ‘newly online’ gamers that will see browser gaming continue to grow in popularity will likely catch on to mobile esports quickly. This is especially likely given that many esports also employ the popular F2P monetization model.