Disruptive Game Design Trends to Look Forward to in 2021

 Despite the pandemic, 2020 is seeming to be yet another banner year for the Game Development Software industry. Revenues are steadily growing 3% year-over-year (with mobile games revenue making up more than half of the total).

Yet, the more the industry grows, the more some things stay the same.

Nowhere is this more obvious than from seeing last year’s Top Mobile Games, where we see the list being dominated by the same old stalwarts. Case in point: Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, Fate/Grand Order and Fantasy Westward have all been in the Top 10 for 3 consecutive years.

There’s always innovation happening in the Gaming Companies in Hyderabad though, and disruptions can happen in the blink of an eye. 2021 can be the year that we shake up the status quo, with new kinds of game play that will energize players, both old and new.

Here are 3 design trends that game developers can use as inspiration in making their next big hit.


Machine Learning:

No video game has been able to capture the free-form nature of a table-top role-playing game yet, where players are able to take the story whichever way they want it to go. Nick Walton’s AI Dungeon 2 though, comes very close. And it does so by using machine learning.

Machine learning has fundamentally changed how we design software and collect data. It has already been successfully implemented in most of the day-to-day applications that we use — from traffic routing to image enhancement and even writing scripts for Hollywood films.

It has yet to weave its way into video games as deeply though, and, when it does, it will change how we both design and play games.

Open AI is one of the companies that are leading the way in using machine learning in games.
The AI learns through machine learning — the strategies are not coded by a programmer, as they usually are.

This emergent behavior can have massive impact on how future AI behaves. There may come a time when we won’t be able to distinguish human players from digital ones.


Open Ecosystem Design:

Speaking of app stores, 2021 can also be the year that game designers start rethinking game ecosystems and their dependence on these game platforms.

Two books I recommend for anyone making games: James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games and Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis by ViliLehdonvirta and Edward Castranova.

Ever since I read Finite and Infinite Games and Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis, my mental model on game development has been that top game developers have all been playing a finite game, where the overall goal is to reach the coveted Top Grossing list.

Sadly, this game is won not by making the best game, but by optimizing for the attention economy.
As we’ve seen, the app stores have become very entrenched. The top developers know how to play this Top Grossing game, and their resources give them massive advantages over new and smaller players.

There is change ahead though, and it comes not just from the game industry.

The zeitgeist of our time is trending more and more towards decentralization, openness, and breaking free from oppressive platforms. We see this with people’s discontent with centralized authorities such as social networks and governments, as well as with the onset of technologies such as crypto currency and block chains.

Consequently, great game designers have started thinking along the same lines. What if we could remake our game designs — not just mechanics and meta games — but also the overarching attention-based economy? What if we made our game economies more decentralized and open?
One of the most successful block chain games, My CryptoHeroes, is doing just that, meticulously designing their game ecosystem around digital assets and crypto currency.


Auto Battlers:

The Auto Battler genre exploded into the scene in 2019, with most of the major MOBA developers releasing their own version at around the same time. Drodo’s Auto Chess, Riot’s Team Fight Tactics, Hearthstone’s Battlegrounds and Valve’s Underlords all stepped in the ring in a battle royal to be the #1 Auto Battler.

The hype has died down though, and people went back to playing their MOBAs and other go-to games. Underlords’ player base in particular is down to around 10,000 concurrent users vs. its peak of around 200,000.

I predict though that the Auto Battler genre right now is in the same space as the early days of Battle Royale. We’ve come upon a new genre (that also started from a user-generated mod) that’s immensely enjoyable, but still haven’t found the perfect balance that led to the massive successes such as PUBG and Fortnite.

Auto Battlers are a great fit for the current audience of gamers. It’s a quick game you can play on your mobile, doesn’t require the 100% laser focus and time commitment that a MOBA does, has enough RNG to make it compelling and is deep yet easy to learn (it’s basically Gin Rummy, where you try to hit pairs in order to make a powerful hand).

While we’re at a stage where there’s no clear winner in the Auto Battler genre, there is still room for innovation – both in terms of the mechanics and the game’s ecosystem design.

I personally am rooting for Valve’s Underlords, since it’s currently being designed iteratively, with a focus on game design mechanics and community feedback instead of on monetization via in-game cosmetics.
Perhaps Valve, with their machine learning know-how and history of creating player-generated economies, can create a new kind of game and ecosystem that will once again excite players in this new decade.

Thanks for reading and feel free to check out our games at and ping us if you find them cool .


Reference :
Paul Gadi,3 Disruptive Game Design Trends to Look Forward to in 2020(SFO,2019)<>[Accessed 29/08/2020]