3 Trends from PAX South

PAX South is the first big video game conference of the year, taking place in mid-January at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. It is a great place to check out trends for the new year in video and board games. Walking through the exhibition hall, there were three trends that stood out for 2018.

Go big or go home

Big enemies on mammoth screens filled the exhibition hall. Games like [amazon_textlink asin=’B071G5HZ7F’ text=’Monster Hunter World’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thed34n09-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0923e8dd-fff8-11e7-9310-e5a4054d1cd6′], Dauntless and Divinity: Original Sin II proved it’s not the size of the adventure’s heart, but the scale of the beast he slays that matters most. Mammoth LCDs were consumed with dragons and other mystical beasts that covered most of the screen. Pity the gamers that plays these games on a 17” monitor.

Available on Switch

The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MUAGZ49′ text=’Nintendo Switch’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thed34n09-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’98532f28-fff8-11e7-ad53-71dbd83b223a’] launched in 2017, and quickly became the fastest-selling console in U.S. history. Nintendo helped its cause by offering triple A titles, including [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MS6MO77′ text=’Zelda’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thed34n09-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’74439da6-fff8-11e7-9740-0f2037ef62c0′] and [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MY7GHKJ’ text=’Mario’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thed34n09-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’83a488fb-fff8-11e7-a6bb-03730c52b2c8′]. Less than a year later, independent game developers are all in. Walk by most booths and find out what platforms they plan to release their games on, most come back with Switch as at least one of the answers. Others vary between PlayStation, Xbox and PC, but almost all realize the potential of the Switch.

Couch co-op is real

Before the internet, if you wanted to play a game with your friends, you all gathered around a television with your own controller. Many games are bringing this feature back, and for some indie games, it’s the only option. Couches spread across the hall, with up to eight people playing against each other. Is there a market for these more personalized games? A number of developers sure seem to think there is.

 

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Jason is a writer and photographer. He has been published on Madison.com, Beloit Daily News, The Capital Times Mashable and CNN. You can follow him on Twitter @The_Dean.

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