In 2020, Among Us showed us your game doesn’t have to be a revolutionary concept, be full of flashy graphics, have ray-tracing level fidelity, or even that much gameplay for that matter. It just has to be the right idea at the right time.
Thousands and thousands of smaller streamers that are looking to breakthrough often experiment with games that aren’t being covered by some of the top names on their respective platforms, often looking for the next title that will blow up in popularity. Which, I believe, is a perfectly sensible strategy. Find a niche, and if you’re talented, you’ll gradually grow.
I’m going to put my money* where my mouth is and set some predictions for the upcoming year about what games we could see have a huge surge in viewers in the next 12 months.
*not my actual money
A relatively unknown title at the moment and not really covered by any streamers with a big following, Stream Racer is a fun little title that could have an explosion in popularity if it’s picked up by the right group of people.
Stream Racer is a game built specifically for Twitch where you can design your own tracks and then have your viewers/subscribers/friends etc. compete in those races and courses that you’ve set up, even hopping in yourself if you want to. Of course, as the whole running the show you can just relegate yourself to the commentary.
I think what’s great about this is the uniqueness of having content creators make their own creations and share them with their fans, and the job it does of bridging the gap between streamers and their fans. I always appreciate when people on YouTube or Twitch play with fans or people who support them, and Stream Racer is a really fun and inventive tool to further that goal.
Roblox (Bad Business)
Roblox is a game that has one of the biggest audiences on Twitch (something that bewilders me but Minecraft’s popularity also boggles my mind), with over 13 million hours of watch time being viewed in the last year.
Bad Business is a first person shooter created by Team Rudimentality using the Roblox aesthetic, and while it may look like a kids game on the surface, this tight, visceral shooter is a tremendous balance of arcade fury and fluid movement dynamics.
Content for the game is limited at the moment due to it being so early in the game’s life, but Bad Business is shaping up to be a shooter that could take over because it just feels so damn good to play.
There is a heavy element of Pay2Win with the best attachments for the weapons being able to be bought and unlocked immediately through microtransactions, but the vast majority of the weapons are viable for a skilled player.
There’s a deep level of customisation, in terms of both load outs and cosmetic, and a content roadmap has been announced by the devs.
Love it or hate it, Fortnite has firmly cemented the popularity of the Battle Royale genre indefinitely for the foreseeable future in the world of gaming. The huge number of opponents to conquer and skins to collect means that only the highest skilled players will regularly walk away with the win.
Spellbreak puts its own twist on the already established style, by using magic, abilities, and power-ups as opposed to the standard of “need gun, find gun, shoot”. Spatial awareness is extremely important in a game where the map is housing so many bodies, and often you’ll lose a game because you looked the wrong way stepping out of a door, but Spellbreak isn’t as punishing.
Adding in a strong RPG vibe to the processing, SB lets you craft a character and basically define their skills, whether that be strong ranged attacks or powerful area of effect powers.
Spellbreak is different and interesting without being gimmicky, and could have a bright future in streaming.
Back 4 Blood
This is a prediction I have strong faith in, because if this game is as half as good as the original Left4Dead and its successor were, then this game is going to be a great co-operative experience.
Not only is the game trying to be the spiritual successor to the 4-person, zombie slaying survival shooter, it’s being made by Turtle Rock Studios, the literal people who made the L4D games.
The Left4Dead games were two well made and downright fun titles to play with your friends against the sadistic AI Director, but the real fun came with playing at the special infected and launching a coordinated attack on a group of unsuspecting survivors while you charged, jockied, and smoked them to death. If B4B can recreate this, heck I might grab a key on Gamecamp GG and even start streaming it just to give it some representation (although I’m certain I won’t need to).
The majority of streaming is made of games dedicated to PvP, and while B4B could serve that niche, I think people would equally tune in to watch co-operative or even solo runs against hordes of infected.