5 Video Game Genres That Took Off This Generation
We’re nearing the end of this console generation, and it was one ripe with different types of games which hit their stride. Some soared to absurd heights of popularity and quality though, which is why they made our list of five video game genres that took off this generation.
Easily one of the most recent genres to take off on this list – and one of the most recently minted genres in general – auto chess has seen a surge in popularity thanks to some exceptionally popular new offerings.
Following the release of a mod for Dota 2 in 2019, the genre exploded in popularity thanks to its simplistic premise and ease of access. Most anyone could hop in and throw their own eclectic assortment of units at their opponent, and win or lose based on dumb luck or careful strategizing with what was provided to them by RNG.
Big publishers like Valve and Riot quickly offered up their own take on auto chess, and today it’s a popular genre thanks to the array of options for players and the relatively low barrier of entry for anyone and everyone.
It’s still anyone’s guess whether it’ll prove a fad or not, especially given how recently the genre even emerged. All the same though, few will be able to forget how quickly and aggressively this genre planted itself on gamers’ collective consciousnesses.
Shoot enemies, loot the gear they drop, and repeat. It’s a simple gameplay cycle, but one which has elevated the looter-shooter genre into super stardom this generation.
While the Borderlands series laid the groundwork for the genre last generation, the success of the Destiny series gave the genre a shot in the arm which elevated it into a level of popularity it had never seen.
In turn, it saw the usual glut of publishers and developers eager to get in on the craze. Ubisoft brought out the post-apocalyptic The Division; Digital Extremes provided the highly customizable Warframe; and, for better or worse, Bioware went all in on the ambitious but ill-fated Anthem.
Regardless, the result was a wide range of options for those who enjoyed the genre, as well as leaps and bounds made to its design elements. The simple gameplay loop was honed to a fine edge, and games tied to the genre now cover a wide slew of different stories, concepts and art styles to choose from.
The Souls-Like genre may have kicked off last generation, but it really hit its stride thanks to the continuation of the Souls series and its imitators into this most recent generation.
Alongside the release of Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro by FromSoftware, the genre saw itself fleshed out by the release of titles made by other AAA and indie developers alike. Games like Nioh, The Surge and Salt and Sanctuary all offered new spins on the formula and outlets for fans of the genre to further test their skills and delve into dark, dismal worlds.
With these new games also came improvements to the genre’s formula. The design and structuring of the world, along with the pacing and level of difficulty of the games, increased by leaps and bounds. This led to experiences that were crushingly difficult while also offering a flow and rhythm to the gameplay that couldn’t be found anywhere else.
It’s still anyone’s guess whether the genre’s popularity will persevere through the next generation and beyond. In the meantime though, there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon, and it’s still holding onto its title as one of the biggest video game genres to come out in recent years.
Given the enduring popularity of trading card games, the rise of online TCGs this generation was probably less of a surprise for many and more a long time coming.
Kicking off with the release of Hearthstone in 2014, the industry saw a slew of different games release in the following years with their own rules and followings.
Some, like Magic: The Gathering Arena, saw tried and true concepts brought to the online realm after years of anticipation. Others, like Gwent, came seemingly out of nowhere or from existing games to take the world by storm all on their own.
Regardless of their origin, these many different games elevated Online TCGs toward the top of the genre pack, offering gamers a new regular outlet for their digital leisure time with others; and, much like its real-world counterpart, the genre looks to be an enduring staple set to continue into the next generation and beyond.
The poster boy of the emerging genre this genre of course has to be the battle royale.
Starting with the release of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the genre has quickly snowballed into a juggernaut of the gaming landscape. Almost everyone, from life-long gamers to those who casually pick up a game in their downtime, know about the genre and have more than likely played a round or two themselves.
As a result of its popularity, every major publisher has sought to throw their own hat into the ring, resulting in a range of titles which includes Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends and – currently at the top of the dogpile – Fortnite.
It doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. One of Fortnite’s most recent events brought in more than 12 million players, while Warzone’s concurrent player count has risen to as many as 50 million players per month. Love it or hate it, the genre is here to stay, and its impact on the gaming landscape may have only just started.