It’s easy to get lost in competitive gaming. From tactical first-person shooters to sports-based titles, competition is at the heart of many video games. However, not every game out there is competitive. Sandbox games like Minecraft adopt a player versus environment (PvE) approach, while open world titles like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption provide older players with a more nonlinear experience.
Who’s Playing What?
More than 2.9 billion people worldwide play video games. By the end of 2022, the global player count is expected to number 3 billion. The most popular titles are competitive games. PUBG: Battlegrounds, a free-to-play battle royale game, has more than 1.2 billion players. Meanwhile, Crossfire, a tactical FPS from Smilegate Entertainment, boasts a player base of 1 billion.
There’s an obvious appetite for competitive games. However, if you’re eager to step back from the Valorant stat tracker guide and take a break from level grinding, there’s plenty of less demanding titles out that provide a wholly different approach to gameplay.
Episodic Adventure Games
Not everyone enjoys spending hours thrashing it out at a keyboard or console controller. For many, a more pared-back approach to play is preferred. Thankfully, several developers have taken note. Telltale Games was one of the first developers to offer something different to gamer demographics interested in a less competitive take on video gaming. Although Telltale has been around since 2004, it only really became a household name in 2012 with the release of The Walking Dead, an episodic retelling of the zombie comic epic.
In many ways, this episodic series is more of an interactive experience than a video game. Although players control a main protagonist, storyline interactions are limited to a few key choices. The decisions you make determine storyline progression, often leading to wildly different endgame scenarios. Telltale would capitalize on its success with The Walking Dead with Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series. Although this video game adaptation wouldn’t prove as successful as The Walking Dead, or the fantasy franchise it was based on, it still proved popular with critics.
Open World Exploration
Open-world games have been around since the 1980s. Otherwise known as sandbox games, these titles provide players with sprawling worlds and a less rigid approach to gameplay. While a central story provides some linear progression, players are largely free to do their own thing. In the 20th century, open-world games were largely confined to the RPG genre. In the late 1990s, Square’s Final Fantasy series showcased the potential of open-world gameplay.
By the early 2000s, open worlds became more commonplace. The Grand Theft Auto series is often considered a genre pioneer, spawning an entire subgenre of video game clones. The fifth entry in the main series alone has sold more than 155 million units worldwide. The Assassin’s Creed series would take things further, taking inspiration from historical real-world settings. However, all of these games do offer a core narrative that caters to those looking for a more linear experience.
There’s a growing market for non-competitive titles in the video games market. As more players pick up controllers, developers will need to cater to more diverse appetites. Expect more episodic adventure games and non-linear narratives to become the standard in years to come.