Sponsored By

Should You Still Make That 2D Game?

To some gamers and developers, it appears as if the 2D gaming market is dying. But is it really in its final stages? Understanding the gaming market today, in general, will basically give us the answer.

Ben Sim, Blogger

March 23, 2017

5 Min Read

Today, you will see 3D titles saturate the game market and only an occasional few indie games in 2D make an appearance. This is because there’s something about 3D visuals that speak higher quality. For instance, what if the makers of Civilization series continue to harness 2D graphics up to this day; will the general market take them seriously against the competition?  Apparently, the answer is no unless they would switch to 3D. For this reason, budding game developers and even big budget studios seem to avoid making 2D games. To some gamers and developers, it appears as if the 2D gaming market is dying. But is it really in its final stages? Understanding the gaming market today, in general, will basically give us the answer.


Who Are the Gamers of Today?

Gone are the days when gaming was a hobby exclusive to geeks, kids, and kids at heart. With the aid of different platforms today on the internet and smartphones, the gaming scene has become livelier and more diverse than ever. These platforms, especially social media re-introduced gaming to the global community and managed to engage with not just avid gamers, but even those people that are not into this type of recreation traditionally. Basically, everyone is a gamer today. The only thing that sets these gamers apart is the type of game that they play and the device that they use to play. But, at the end of the day, a video game is a video game, whether it’s a smartphone game or Final Fantasy XV on PS3.


The New Breed of Gamers

Unlike before, a gamer is someone who owns a gaming console or a PC. Today, almost everyone can be a gamer by just having a smartphone. Though gamers who only play games with their smartphones or on Facebook are not at par with those who play games on their PS3 or PC, but a game is still a game. These new platforms provide access to gaming for those demographics that are not typically the gaming type. Here is where 2D gaming becomes relevant.


Vast Demographics

Demographic-wise, the gaming scene of today is very diverse. It’s not just kids and hobbyists that play games, but even adults in all walks of life. Many of the games that came to rise on Facebook managed to hook adults ages 40 to 60 (and sometimes even those at their 70s) with their simple yet intuitive 2D games like Candy Crush Saga.  On top of that, the younger audience play these games as well. On the other hand, talking about the younger audiences, there are also games made for this demographic which are most often than not educational. Of course, they have to be simple in terms of graphics, and so the majority of these games are in 2D because they’re fairly simple and easy to play.


New Definition of Casual Gaming

Many of these new breeds of gamers only play games just to kill the time while they’re commuting, waiting for someone, or maybe waiting in line for their doctor’s appointment. These are the types of gamers that don’t really need to play the games in full 3D, which explains the success of 2D titles such as Candy Crush Saga, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, etc. that gained popularity through social media and the internet. The good thing about this new breed of gamers is that, most often than not, they focus on the challenges of the game rather than its overall aesthetics. With that being said, 2D gaming has become more relevant than ever.


Are 2D Console Games Still Alive?

Did 2D games die in the mid 90’s? If so, popular 2D games such as Tetris and SpaceChem would not have been present today. Even though the 3D format is the staple in most major release titles these days; some developers and publishers will experiment for a unique or specialized game visuals. Such is the case of Mega Man 10 that is an 8-bit retro game which is basically 2D in nature. Here are other popular titles that prove 2D gaming graphics is here to stay regardless of how saturated the industry is with 3D games.



Preferably for those who love rogue-likes, Spelunky is filled with retro elements such as a health bar that is the number of hits the player has to endure before dying. The gameplay consists of obtaining treasure, rescuing damsels, slaying enemies, and avoiding traps. Despite its 2D nature, popular online review sites that often critique 3D titles such as IGN gave it an Editor’s Choice award and a score of 9.0. It received a lot of praises for its fun gameplay and design.



Limbo is a minimalistic, 2D indie game with black and white tones. Along with an eerie atmosphere and uncanny music, it sets you off an unnerving yet exciting journey as you lead a little boy through Limbo. The game is littered with puzzles and fast paced sequences that create a compelling gameplay. Limbo found great success through word of mouth and impressive scores from many review sites. It sold 300,000 copies in its first month of release, which is something inspiring for indie game developers who want to make 2D games.  Not to mention, Limbo had no marketing backing or advertising campaign yet it garnered a huge revenue and a lot of accolades. 



Declared by PC gamers as Minecraft’s 2D counterpart, Terraria is nearly as popular as its ringer. Just like Limbo, Terraria started as an indie game before it gained huge success, selling 432,000 copies within a month of its release.  It is a sandbox video game that hosts feature similar to that of Minecraft such as building, crafting, exploration, and combat with a number of enemies in a procedurally generated 2D terrain.


2D games are not dead

The abovementioned titles along with their impressive accolades and revenues are the testament to the age-old appeal of 2D games. With all those being said, 2D gaming is not yet done and dusted.  It is typically the platform for budding game developers as they are easier to design even with limited resources. So, if you want to make that 2D game, then have no hesitations because 2D games are more relevant now than ever.



This post was written by Reymart Sarigumba from iPrice group, a price comparison and meta-search engine based in MalaysiaSingaporePhilippinesThailandVietnamIndonesia and Hong Kong.


Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like