The impact of viewer trends on game development

Few driving forces have the level of importance of viewer trends. Not only do they indicate where the current interest is, but they give companies within the industry an inkling of where it may head. Game development is a wide-ranging field, and today, we’re going to be covering all of it. Well, a lot of it. Casino and sports betting, video console gaming, virtual reality, the impact of AI and cryptocurrency and some predictions about how the industry may develop as we reach the midpoint of the 2020s. 

Sports betting and casino gaming

There’s no escaping the fact that mobile phones and the internet have added an entirely new, successful dimension to gaming capabilities. Not only have mobile gaming companies become multibillion-dollar enterprises, but they have used the advances of traditional digital casinos and created an avenue for people to play blackjack, roulette and slots in a completely new way. 

It’s not just casino gaming that has benefitted within the gambling universe though. The viewer trends for a variety of sports have led to increased interest in sports betting. Sports viewership correlates with the most popular markets. As soccer is the leading world sport, it attracts billions of people each year. 

The betting markets reflect this appetite, which results in billions of dollars’ worth of activity across several continents. DraftKings is a colossal name in US sports betting, and its markets are a solid reflection of America’s greater sports viewership and gambling appetite. Premium sports betting operators such as Draftkings constantly monitor viewer trends to refine the quality of their platform as the importance of viewing statistics in sports gambling is difficult to understate.

Relationship between sports popularity, gambling and game development

As previously mentioned, soccer is the world’s most popular sport. American football is the most popular in the US and attracts the most sports gambling activity in the country. Second is NBA basketball, while the NHL is propped up by immense viewing figures north of the border in Canada. Canadians’ penchant for hockey means that it’s by far their most popular gambling market too. 

As these three elements converge, you see the pattern emerge pretty clearly. Americans spent more money gambling on this year’s Super Bowl than ever before. The immense popularity of the sport, greater ease of access to sports betting markets and more ways to watch the game have resulted in these record-breaking figures. 

Where there’s money, there’s going to be interest. American bettors wagered billions this year, and game development companies will follow the money. Ultimately, betting companies will pay top dollar to ensure their websites and mobile app gaming technology are pristine and elite in an effort to trump any competition. Viewer trends indicate a growing demand for the top American sports and the sports betting markets that underpin them. This is a major driving force behind sports gaming development innovation in the world of betting.

Predicting future trends

Although trends are a great indicator and give companies a way to clearly appeal to the present customer interests, those companies and game developers who can get ahead of this curve will see the most significant returns. 

For instance, many gaming companies that identified the growing trend in mobile gaming and the power of social media were able to adjust their game designs to suit a growing mobile audience. While it might seem common practice in 2024, gaming companies were still staunchly focused on video consoles and PCs in the latter stages of the noughties. 

The viewer trends quickly shifted once games like League of Legends attracted a colossal audience through the innovative free gaming model. By changing the profit model and channeling the gamer costs through in-game purchases, a new way to develop games emerged. In-game advertisements helped to validate the wider business and design model, and with hundreds of millions of people still playing the game 15 years after it emerged, it shows just how staggering the success is. 

AI – The future of gaming and viewer trends?

It’s crucial to note that viewer trends and discussions don’t always correlate. So, even though there’s a huge rhetoric revolving around artificial intelligence (AI) at the moment, that doesn’t mean that game developers are seeking out ways to build entire projects around AI. Although it is true that AI will begin to play a massive role in the gaming industry in years to come, whether that translates into projects that will maximize the engagement and interest of gamers is another question altogether. 

VR gaming? A new way to play?

Virtual reality (VR) headsets became colossal news a few years ago. The monolithic social media presence of Mark Zuckerberg seemed to cash in his chips on social media and pivoted away towards the metaverse and virtual reality. Although initially, it seemed like a case of best-laid plans given the excessive price of the original VR headset, the supply has increased and helped bring the cost down. 

Clearly, with a more affordable cost, this has meant viewer trends and interest in VR has grown. The number of people seeking out VR headsets continues to grow, and the possibility of game developers seriously exploring them as mediums for gaming has become a factor over the last two years. 

However, the numbers are still thin, and few gaming developers are eager to leap into what is a specialized, niche area of gaming and game design. While there’s a passing interest, people aren’t flocking to VR in droves, and viewer trends remain small, which directly correlates with the risk appetite that gaming development companies have. Ultimately, if the data shows it’s likely unprofitable, they will not pursue it as a viable gaming option — at least not yet anyway. 

Customer-centric designs

Like many service industries, gaming follows paths and behaviors wholly dictated by its customer base. Due to the gaming industry’s magnitude and size, there are several successful subdivisions within it, but viewer trends and a customer-centric approach to developing games are the foundation of the entire industry. 

Some game developers, like Rockstar, have developed globally renowned, iconic brands. Essentially, they’ve achieved a position that ensures people will take an interest in any project they piece together. However, they still need to evaluate the costs and viewer trends before putting millions of dollars into the development of any title. Customers are vital to the gaming industry’s existence and continued success and viewing trends provide the best insight into how their behaviors and attitudes are changing. 


To some degree, all industries engage with their customers and crunch the numbers before deciding on a future direction. Some industries will hold focus groups, while others will e-mail customers or speak to them on the phone about what products they’d like to see. In a world where visual engagement is crucial, game development companies use viewer trends to direct their future strategy. 

Without viewer trends, the entire structure on which game developers base their projections would change significantly. While social media is a new pool of data to explore, and there are a lot of valuable viewer trends that can be gleaned through Twitter (X) posts, the viewing figures from other more prominent social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have a seismic impact on the way developers make their games. 

In a mobile-centric world, where social media, smartphones and the internet are central to our daily lives, the importance of viewer trends will not diminish. In fact, they probably have a stronger chance of becoming even more relevant as more of us spend hours a day glued to our phones and social media.