2023 was a rollercoaster of groundbreaking industry announcements and shifts. We’ve seen OpenAI nearly implode, the longest-awaited unveiling in tech history with Apple finally entering the XR space with the Vision Pro, Epic Games redefining the creator model with its Fortnite Creative 2.0 platform, and the hype-cycle limelight shifting away from “the Metaverse”, “Web3”, and “Crypto”.

So, what does 2024 have in store?  Here are our hot takes on what we expect to capture headlines in the year to come.

1 - Mixed Reality (MR) and new persistent digital experiences

As mixed reality wearables and augmented reality experiences (on traditional mobile devices) continue to gain momentum, and with Apple now firmly entering the ‘spatial computing’ ring, we anticipate a great deal of long-form content to emerge. These will start to populate our worlds with digital content that can remain persistently anchored to our physical space.

With Meta announcing its ‘Augments’ approach, we are likely to see multiple simultaneous pieces of digital content coexist in our living spaces providing an amazing array of potential playful opportunities.

Layer in some device-based AI that can understand the objects in our surroundings, and we could see some delightful co-dependence between the physical and digital elements to vary and enhance our experiences – the future world is by no means an all-digital whitewash.

Mixed Reality
Image source - Meta Connect 2023 Keynote

2- Generative AI: The Co-Creation Revolution

AI is undoubtedly the most landscaping-defining toolset we have seen in a generation.  These new tools have taken our culture by storm throughout 2023, and game creators are leveraging the many benefits of AI tools and workflows to assist with content creation and automated time-consuming or repetitive tasks. 

We have also seen amazing examples of them unlocking fundamentally new capabilities – products such as https://inworld.ai/, https://unity.com/products/sentis and https://pika.art are seriously shaking up the traditional game-making process.

More about this topic in this article: https://www.businessinsider.com/lore-machine-ai-tool-visualize-stories-from-text-2023-11?r=US&IR=T

Video source taken for this gif - https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1Mg4y1X7Mp/

3- UGC in Games: The Future of Social Media And Community Building

Whether you’re talking about Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, or any of the myriad of smaller world-building UGC gaming platforms that are vying for your attention, the way that audiences and brands are flocking to these platforms cannot be overstated.

With combined audiences of hundreds of millions of players, these platforms are fast becoming the go-to social destinations. They are disrupting traditional media and publishing models, challenging brands and agencies to build content that talks to these audiences through game-design language that they recognise – new ground for many!

With Fortnite embracing a payout model that is based on engagement and players, there is big money to be made from captivating audiences in this space. Deloitte predicts that these platforms will pay out almost US$1.5 billion to their content developers in 2024, and further predicts the number of paid independent developers will exceed US$10 million.

Image source - https://gfxspeak.com/newswatch/get-paid-for-making-engaging-fortnite-experiences/

4- Transforming the Living Room: How Game Engines are Revolutionising At-Home Media Consumption

The broadening of the application of game engine technology to other industries in recent years cannot be understated, and increasingly, technology is offering some pretty significant disruption in our living rooms.

Earlier this year, we published our New Play Space report entitled ‘The Future of the Living Room’ which forecasted new play patterns, and many of those are now starting to come to fruition. Netflix is trialling cloud-based game services, Meta is releasing its instant gaming platform for Messenger, Sky provides new game-services direct from the TV via Sky-Glass and includes live interaction with its Sky Live camera device, and Samsung has launched its gaming hub for its latest smart TVs. 

Across the board, gaming via streaming services and direct from TV are offsetting larger value creation costs than traditional media.

Without a doubt, the evolution of how we interact, play, and collaborate in the home is being fundamentally changed by game engines, and will continue to do so throughout the new year.

More about Netflix video games: https://www.theverge.com/22772589/netflix-video-games-app-news-updates

Image source - Netflix Games https://about.netflix.com/en/news/whats-next-for-netflix-games


James is Creative Technology Director at PRELOADED. He is passionate about building inclusive experiences that bring people together, and which educate and entertain.