Newzoo today released its report on game trends to watch this year. Among others, we can likely anticipate a stacked calendar, more hype for the metaverse, and a surge of interest in pay-to-earn.

One of the report’s claims is already visible in the games market: It claims that gamers will have a very full calendar, as several delays pushed game releases into 2022. It also points to the release of the Steam Deck and the greater availability of next-gen consoles (though I’m not exactly holding my breath on that last one).

The metaverse will play a big part this year, Newzoo predicts — and predicts fairly, in my opinion. Many game developers and publishers are preoccupied with the metaverse. They’re creating metaverse-based marketplaces and avatars. Newzoo also predicts this will drive VR sales, and points out that several major tech companies are working on new headsets.

Another winner in 2022 will likely be the play-to-earn business model, says the report. Things such as NFTs are currently facing a lot of scrutiny from gamers, and Newzoo cites news stories such as Valve’s bans and the Stalker 2’s NFT pushback. However, the report also points out other reports that suggest a large contingent of gamers are curious about the ability to trade in-game items, and that publishers are certainly interested in the tech.

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A big change Newzoo anticipates for this year is that Apple and Google will open their ecosystems . . . slightly, anyway. Newzoo points out that regulators are pressuring both companies into being more open and less anti-competitive. It also predicts that game publishers will find more ways to circumvent their restrictions. This has already been somewhat borne out by Fortnite allegedly sneaking back onto iOS via Nvidia’s GeForce Now.

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