Staying entertained is part of enjoying life. Gaming is one sector within entertainment that enables us to inject more fun into daily life and pass the time in an engaging way. As a result, gaming has grown hugely in recent times to become a multi-billion-dollar industry. This surge in popularity is not just down to how much fun gaming is but also the sheer diversity within the sector.
While video games are still the go-to for many players, it is not just about that. Online casino gaming, for example, has grown to become massively popular due to the convenience and excitement it delivers. The bonuses offered to players by internet casinos are also a real draw, as top Michigan Online Casinos sites demonstrate. For more information on how this type of casino site works and which online casinos are best to sign-up with, the Odds Seeker website is a trustworthy source of independent information.
When you also add vibrant gaming niches like eSports (which sees countries with the craziest eSports fans make headlines) and mobile play into the mix, it is clear that the diversity in gaming helps the industry appeal to more people than ever. Of course, it is also necessary to factor in how important the games themselves are! Without fresh titles to try out, no one would be interested in playing any kind of game.
One type of game that many players enjoy is niche games. But what are they, and how do some of the biggest catch on?
What are niche games?
This type of game is not based on universally popular themes, or themes more mainstream titles might use. Niche games are usually far more targeted and designed to appeal to a specific type of gamer or a particular part of society.
A good example is releasing a game that is based on the sport of lacrosse. As lacrosse is not a massively popular sport globally, the target market is more specific and niche. This contrasts with something like the FIFA games, which are based on the universally popular sport of soccer.
How did some of the biggest niche games catch on?
The interesting thing with niche games is that some can become very popular and enjoyed by players outside their target market.
An excellent example of this is the games ‘Among Us’ and ‘Fall Guys.’ In ‘Among Us,’ you play as one member of a 10-person spaceship crew. Your prime goal is to carry out tasks to fix the craft and win the game as a team. The twist comes in that one crew member is an alien imposter who is killing everyone individually and trying to stop you from fixing the spaceship! This means you also end up having to work out who the imposter is to chuck them overboard. Although this theme of murder and intrigue is very niche, ‘Among Us’ has seen downloads of over 100 million to date.
‘Fall Guys’ has also enjoyed similar success since being launched in August 2020. It is basically a platform battle royale title that allows up to 60 players to compete in a myriad of zany challenges. From the developers Mediatronic, the cute characters and fun gameplay saw it emerge as a niche game for many, but it went on to pick up plenty of downloads too.
But why do niche games like this sometimes go on to appeal to a more mainstream audience?
They’re fun to play!
This is the benchmark for any game to catch on and become popular with lots of people. Niche games like those above start to gain traction because they have engaging characters, fun gameplay, cool sound, eye-catching graphics, and they make gamers feel good. Without these factors in place, any niche game will find it hard to gain an audience.
Free to play in many cases
Of course, you also have to factor in cost when thinking about niche games that become popular. Most of the titles that become well-liked are free to play and can be enjoyed with no cost attached to the player. That makes people far more likely to download them initially and take a chance on playing them. This is not always the case if the games cost money, as people do not want to risk their cash on a game in a niche they may not like.
Word of mouth and influencers
When it comes to niche games that people play in large numbers, word of mouth and influential support are crucial. ‘Among Us,’ for example, benefited from superb word-of-mouth advertising both on and offline. Once people started to see just how great it was, they had no hesitation telling other people about it in person or using online channels like social media or gaming forums to support the game.
Influential figures on platforms like YouTube and Twitch also help a lot. TimTheTatman’s online quest to grab a Fall Guys crown, for example, brought the game to a more widespread audience and to find greater success as a result. There is no doubt that having a heavy presence on popular streaming channels like Twitch is vital for games like this to take off.
Niche games offer a different experience
We all know how enjoyable standard racing or first-person shooter games are – but playing the same type of game with the same feel or theme can get a bit boring. Niche games help solve this issue by giving players a new experience to enjoy with new themes or storylines to explore. In addition, they give developers the freedom to unleash their creativity because they are not worrying about making the game appeal on a mainstream basis. As a result, niche games can often offer more creative gameplay and features which help them catch on.
Niche games catch on for various reasons
As the above shows, niche games can find favor with the public for a host of reasons. If you ever get bored of playing the same old games with the same old themes, going niche is a great way to revitalize your gaming sessions. If the game you choose catches on, it also means you are ideally placed to be playing the coolest title around.