Gamasutra put together their list of Top 20 gaming trends for 2008.
As someone who got back into games heavily this year (to the point of where I had to cut myself off) I would say that the biggest gaming "issue" was DRM and the. As far as big changes to the whole landscape, I would say the Wii Fit is a monumental genre-changer.
My favorites from the list (20 is a lot):
3. You Don't Want DRM - You Want Services
2. Casual MMOs? For Kids!
5. The Inevitable User-Created Content Entry
9. Free To Play, Pay For Items
18. Games & Social Connectivity, Duh
Recession aside, gaming continues to be a bellwether technology segment and has been largely successful this year. I suspect next year will be a bit rockier for many studios as large public companies like EA andstart to feel serious investor pressure which likely dry up M&A activities. Smaller studios will have a harder time getting funding and casual games will continue to proliferate but not be well-monetized.
Casual games (for the sake of argument, let's consider them Flash-based) have seen a rise in popularity but revenue has been disappointing due to the reliance on advertising, an area that only looks to be getting worse. Conversely, free-to-play games where you pay for add-ons have been growing withof the gaming ecosystem. My bet is for this trend to continue in 2009 and we'll start to see a backlash toward goods.