Game Industry Highlights in 2020

02 Feb 2021

A review of the gaming industry and All in! Games in 2020

We’ve all heard enough about what a terrible year 2020 was, so there’s no need to go over that again (although 2020 was a terrible year). 

But with so many people staying home for reasons that we all know about, it was inevitable that the gaming industry would be affected in a good way—specifically, in the form of millions of people who turned to games for fun and an escape from the daily headlines. So, on top of the huge developments that were scheduled to take place in 2020 anyway (hello, new consoles!) the gaming industry played an even greater role than it otherwise would have. 

With the bizarre circumstances of the last year as a backdrop, let’s look back at 2020 through the lens of the gaming industry for the high points of what was, all things considered, a big year for those of us who are happy to respawn in 2021. 

Watch the All in! 2020 Wrap Up:

Can you do E3 on Zoom?

Let’s start with the bad news and get it out of the way. The global pandemic had a devastating effect on industry events of all kinds and games were no exception. Massive annual events that we all look forward to for a sneak peek at what’s new and coming soon, like E3, Gamescom, the Tokyo Game Show, and more were canceled or moved online (PAX was conveniently scheduled for just before everything got corona-ed).

While the online versions were better than nothing and nobody can blame the organizers, we all want to get back to the in-person experience as soon as possible. We’ve got our fingers crossed that these events will come back in 2021—if there’s a silver lining to the problems this year, it’s that we’ll all be that much more excited to see everything live and up close!

The year of live streaming

With so many activities and so much entertainment moved online, it’s no surprise that there was a visible increase in video traffic, accelerating the already existing trend. This includes live-streamed gaming, which became even bigger than before. 

It’s free and easily accessible, something to enjoy when you’re stuck at home and you’ve finished watching everything on Netflix, or simply want to discover something new. Many live streaming websites such as Twitch or YouTube Gaming ended 2020 with great results. What about after the pandemic? How quickly will people go back to their old habits? That remains to be seen.

Console Wars

On the hardware side of things, the big news was of course the debut of new consoles from both Sony and Microsoft—the PS5 and the XBOX Series X and Series S. While the roll-outs didn’t go as smoothly as many would have liked due to supply chain chaos largely caused by the pandemic, the ninth generation of consoles has definitely arrived. 

As is always the case when a new generation starts, the launch titles were maybe not as impressive as many gamers would have liked but we can be sure that tons of amazing games are on the way. With technical boundaries and processing power pushed to new limits, along with the spread of exciting new technologies like ray tracing, the next few years should be full of jaw-dropping gaming experiences on both consoles. 

Also, this generation has introduced some innovations with huge potential that will be revealed with time. 

On the PS5 side, haptic feedback in the Dualsense controller takes immersion to another level. We can’t wait to see how developers will take advantage of these new capabilities. The XBOX Series X appears to have refined the user experience through an edge in loading times and the ability to quickly switch between installed games. 

Both consoles offer a fully-digital version without an optical drive and consumer response will tell us a lot about how ready console gamers are for what has long been standard among PC gamers. With direct-to-consumer digital distribution increasingly competing with the traditional disc-based model, who knows where this might lead?

Don’t forget Mario, Yoshi and friends…

How about some love for Nintendo? The astonishing success of the Switch continued throughout 2020 and has probably broken more sales records since you started reading this. Animal Crossing: New Horizons became a worldwide phenomenon, giving gamers of all ages reasons to obsess over decorating their islands while selling fruit & shells. Three years after its release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still on bestseller lists and Nintendo’s extensive library of first-party titles continues to enchant gamers all over the planet. 

The world’s most famous Italian plumber celebrated his 35th anniversary with a special remastered re-release of some of his classic titles, including the incredible Super Mario Galaxy, one of our all-time faves. Nintendo is famously tight-lipped when it comes to announcements about upcoming releases so we can only guess about what they have in store going forward but we think it’s safe to say that last year was definitely one to remember for all the right reasons. 

PC Master Race

Yes, we hear you, PC people! But what can we say about your kingdom of the gaming world apart from mentioning the incredible titles released this year and the ever-increasing hardware advantage you enjoy (even after the new generation of consoles…)? 

Can you at least try to keep that smirk off your face when PS5 and XBOX owners brag about their specs? 

Heavyweight titles

A full listing of all the titles that made waves last year would go way beyond our purpose here, so let us just mention a few of the best of the best to come out in 2020:

  • The Last of Us II – How many awards can one game win???
  • Among Us – Ok, technically this was released in 2018 but it really blew up in 2020
  • Demon’s Souls – They can remake a game, but can they remake all the controllers you destroyed while playing it? 
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator – You’ve played simulators before but you haven’t played a simulator like this before
  • Hades – GOTY pick for lots of players and publications and deservedly so
  • Half Life: Alyx – It’s Half Life, enough said
  • Cyberpunk 2077 – Some temporary, fixable problems are distracting from what is an amazing game
  • Ghost of Tsushima – Being a samurai warrior has never been so beautiful
  • New entries in the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises – Whether they’re for you or not, you have to admit they’re a big deal in our world

Other bits and pieces

Here are a few other random facts to help round out a review of 2020 in gaming

  • Fortnite continued to reach new heights in its mission for world domination
  • 14 games made more than $1b in revenue, while zero Hollywood films reached that mark. Not fair to use 2020 stats for Hollywood? Fine—zero Hollywood films reached $1b in revenue in 2019, either. 
  • Pac-Man celebrated 40 years of chasing ghosts
  • More mega-$$$ mergers, acquisitions, and buyouts than we can list here took place throughout the industry, showing the value of game studios and IP’s that connect with the gaming public
  • Google, Facebook, and Amazon all announced gaming-related projects
  • Video game-related revenue worldwide reached just short of $180b in 2020. By way of comparison, the most recent pre-COVID revenue years for the NFL, NBA, and the biggest professional football leagues in England, Spain, Germany, and Italy combined was around $40b. Flawless victory! 
How have video games benefited our mental health through the COVID-19 pandemic? For more insight, check out our article: A Video Game State of Mind.

2020 at All in!

Allow us to put the spotlight on ourselves for a moment and take some pride in what 2020 meant for All in! Games.  Last year saw the release of many titles from All in!, including Red Wings: Aces of the Sky created by our internal development team, Metamorphosis, and Ghostrunner, our one-hit-one-kill cyberpunk game, on all platforms.

Fort Triumph left Early Access on PC and is heading for consoles next, while Arboria was released in Early Access on Steam.

If you haven’t already, check out their websites:

You can also see which of our games are on sale on your platform on our new All in! Deals website:

Just as many other publishers had to, we attended the online versions of several events last year. Though it may not sound exciting, in reality it was a great experience that helped us learn a lot and apply some new solutions. Gamescom, PAX Online, PC Gaming Show and Tokyo Game Show were just a few of our virtual destinations in 2020 and you know what? They were amazing! 

And on top of being showcased at various events, our games won awards. Ghostrunner received first prize at Digital Dragons Indie Celebration and Chernobylite won the CEEGA award for Best Technology. 

On the business side of things, last year we entered into partnerships with some amazing companies: 3D Realms, 505 Games, and Qubic Games to name a few. We also became a joint stock company, listed on the stock exchange in Warsaw, which was a huge leap forward for us and proof of our growth from a small team to a developed company making waves in the gaming market. We’re proud of this recognition of our efforts to publish and create games that bring joy to everyone!

But that’s still not all. Our e-sport team, Wisła All in! Games Kraków, was one of the highest-ranked Polish teams in the HLTV Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ranking in November this year. Different aspects were taken into account in creating the ranking, such as consecutive victories, and we’re extremely proud that our team made it. Congrats!

And there are even more great moments to look back on. All in! Games got lots of mentions in the media as a company and several outlets reviewed our titles. But the most precious moment for us was when All in! Games placed 8th in Forbes’ ranking of the Polish video game industry.

We kept growing as a team, too. Lots of new employees joined us and we moved to a brand new office to accommodate everyone.

So that was 2020 for us. What’s coming in 2021? Lots of great titles and surprises, for sure!

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