By Ian Gregory
With 82 per cent of the population active on mobile devices, it comes as no surprise that Singaporeans are among the most prolific gamers in the world. With 2018 coming to a close, Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore looks at what got gamers hyped this year.
1. Battle Royale
Battle Royale is now a cultural phenomenon, with PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battleground) and Fortnite the most talked about games this year. Inspired by the Japanese movie, Battle Royale, the premise is simple – a group of players are placed in an ever-shrinking arena where they scavenge for weapons and eliminate everyone else in a mad free-for-all. Last one standing wins. What has really taken the genre to the top is its accessibility across multiple platforms. Both PUBG and Fortnite are available on PC, consoles and even mobile devices, so seeing players battle it out at kopitiams is a common sight.
2. Pokemon Go/Let’s Go!
Along with ongoing updates and new Pokemon to catch on Pokemon Go, Nintendo upped their game with the launch of Pokemon “Let’s go, Pikachu!” and “Let’s go, Eevee!” on the Switch. What got tongues wagging was their integration with the ever-popular Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go players can send what they’ve caught to a Let’s Go player and get a Mystery Box that allows them to catch a new, hard to get Pokemon – Meltan and its evolution Melmetal. Switch players have even made themselves available in public places for Pokemon Go players to collect these Mystery Boxes.
Competitive video gaming is now a spectator sport, drawing crowds by the millions. The revenue potential is phenomenal – estimated at US$906 million (S$1.24 billion) this year, garnered from sponsorships, betting and merchandise, among other things. A large part of the local conversation is about spotting, training and fielding Singapore talent, with even the government showing an interest. Esports will make its debut at the SEA Games in the Philippines next year, and will be an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China.
4. Ticket Arcades
This throwback to the 90s – complete with bright lights and blaring sound effects – is making a comeback, with chains like Timezone expanding rapidly. Claw machines and game cabinets abound, but centre stage are nostalgia-inducing machines that spit out tickets with every play. Redemption counters have evolved into dressed up stores, with the best prizes costing thousands in tickets.
5. Game Developer Hiccups
Game developers’ missteps also had gamers chuckling. The most talked about incident was when Blizzard announced a new mobile only version of Diablo – Diablo: Immortal – at their Blizzcon convention in November. The backlash came quickly from fans around the world, hungry for updates and improvements to Diablo itself. Many viewed the move to mobile a cash-grab, even prompting one to ask: “Is this an off season April Fool’s joke?”
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