The gaming industry has developed a lot since the first video game was created back in 1958. The original video game design was similar to the popular 1970s arcade title, Pong. When Physicist William Higginbotham invented the game all those years ago, he would never have imagined the industry that would emerge from such a simple idea.
Today, the world of gaming is a multi-billion pound industry. In 2019, the gaming industry generated $120 billion in revenue. These figures look set to maintain an upward trajectory as this sector of entertainment continues to grow.
Video games are no longer just fun activities to play in your downtime. While that is their primary function, there are many more ways in which the industry branches out. Live streaming of games and Youtube gaming content creation are now viable career choices. Video game streamers are major celebrities to all generations.
Twitch (the largest video game streaming platform in the world) has already had 696 billion minutes of content consumed this year. This is more than the total figure for 2019 and we are only three-quarters of the way through 2020. People are consuming more content than ever. Video game fans consume more video content than almost any other industry.
Video games bring people together. Gaming communities are extremely popular, particularly for games that have a loyal following. Not only do people play together online, but they also contribute to discussions and debates on forums. Reddit has endless subreddits dedicated to various games.
Video game fanatics also attend conventions where they can socialize with fellow gamers and connect with major industry figures. These events take place all over the world every year. I’ve been to a few of them over the years, they’re an incredible and unique experience.
As technology advances, so too does the world of gaming. Improvements in smartphones, the internet, television, and computing have had a major influence on the progression of gaming. There are some emerging trends that could go on to shape the industry for the coming decade.
Here are some of the top trends to look out for in gaming.
1. Virtual reality
For generations, people have been expecting virtual reality (VR) to take over as the main component of video games. A fully immersive alternative lifestyle where you can truly become the main character of your favourite video game series has been predicted for years. Although there have been advancements in virtual reality technology, it is yet to take off as a major player in the video game world.
The current reality is that VR gaming is more likely to be an experiential event, rather than a regular gaming session. Trends are pointing toward VR theme parks and specialized gaming services where people gather to take part.
2. Augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) gaming looks set to have a major influence on the mobile gaming market. Games such as Pokemon Go demonstrated the potential for AR gaming when people took to the streets with their phones in their hands to catch virtual monsters back in 2016.
Although its initial popularity cooled off relatively quickly, many still play and the blending of virtual and real locations has made for an exciting game style. Games that interact with reality are currently more popular than those that completely separate you from it.
5G is going to revolutionise mobile gaming. Lightning-fast internet speeds open up a serious potential for mobile gaming, particularly when it comes to AR.
3. Next-generation console upgrades
Games consoles continue to evolve with each new release. Expect incremental changes over the coming years when it comes to game consoles. Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo are the main players, remaining well ahead of any competitors.
Xbox and Playstation are releasing their latest consoles toward the back end of 2020. For the first time, we’ll be seeing cross-generational gaming. This is where titles from older consoles will be available to play on the newer ones.
While its difficult to predict what the future holds for games consoles, expect significant upgrades over the coming debate.
4. Mobile gaming continues to flourish
The mobile gaming industry has been experiencing double-digit growth for the last ten years. It’s expected to reach a value of $100 billion by the end of 2021.
With 3.5 billion smartphones currently in circulation around the world, the rising figures start to add up. What’s more, the quality and capability of phones are improving rapidly. Smartphones are more like miniature computers than phones in today’s world.
People spend up to five and a half hours a day on their phones. Games provide a fun outlet to pass the time during commutes, breaks, and laid back evenings. Many mobile games are free, increasing their appeal.
As phones improve, mobile games are set to continue flourishing.
5. Streaming is on the rise
Today’s gaming industry is as much about streaming and content creation as it is about the actual games. Millions of people tune in to Twitch and Youtube to watch live streams of their favourite gamers playing a variety of games. 2020 has seen viewership of live streaming increase significantly.
As streaming grows in popularity, the monetary opportunities increase too. The number of views, channels, and streamers will increase over the coming years.
6. Gaming as a service
When it comes to the biggest platforms for gaming, such as major consoles and PCs, games as a service are the future. With the increased emphasis on online gaming, as well as the constant need for patching, bug fixes, and updates, subscription model services are much more suited to modern gaming.
Over the last number of years, we have seen music, TV, and other entertainment companies lean toward subscription models. As certain major players of the entertainment world enter the gaming industry, expect to see a shift in how games are sold.
7. Increased career gaming opportunities
Streamers, content creators, and e-sports professionals are showing how possible it is to have a lucrative career in gaming. The younger generations are now viewing these avenues as genuine career paths.
Increased popularity in e-sports and gaming content is beneficial to video game companies too, leading to further opportunities to make it as a professional gamer.
As people continue to consume more and more gaming content, there will be more career gaming opportunities.
8. Life simulation games are going nowhere
One of the most popular genres of games in the world is life simulation. Games such as “The Sims” have been around for twenty years and are seen to be beneficial to many people’s lives.
The Sims offer a form of virtual escapism that can positively impact your reality. By simulating relatively normal aspects of life, people can explore their personality and expand themselves mentally. This can help reduce stress and harness creativity.
Life simulators enable you to live in a world designed for your own amusement, which can be used to help with issues you’re struggling with in real life.
9. Casino style games
Video games have led to the creation of virtual versions of many industries. Virtual casinos and casino-style games are extremely popular. Gambling is a thrilling pursuit and gamers will always jump at the opportunity to make some money.
Many casino-style games are free to download. You can get popular titles such as Thunderstruck II free of charge. Although they are not likely to replace real casinos, virtual substitutes continue to increase in popularity.
10. On-demand gaming content
Much like with TV, gaming content is now expected on demand. Gaming content has been popular since high-speed internet became common, but the demand continues to increase. Apart from live game streaming, content creators are putting together high-quality edits of all types. From walkthroughs to highlight videos, there is content being developed constantly.
Although Youtube and Twitch are the current go-to’s, we may see an emergence of a content rival over the next few years.
11. Apple, Amazon, and Google to become major players
Apple TV has already established itself as somewhat of a gaming hub. While Apple Arcade doesn’t yet rival mainstream consoles, it is an entertaining service and they are laying the foundations for a successful gaming platform.
Google has entered the marketplace with its Stadia gaming streaming platform. Although Google is taking a slow approach, its impressive service is built to have a future in gaming.
Amazon has several ties to the gaming industry already. Their gaming studios have been developing titles since 2014. The Twitch streaming service is a subsidiary of Amazon.
Over the next ten years, we are likely to see these major companies become serious players in the gaming industry.
12. Game remastering
Nostalgia is a common theme in entertainment. Whether it’s remaking famous movies or remastering iconic music records, there will always be a market for the rejuvenation of popular material. Just take Disney’s live-action remakes for example. Although these movies are simply retelling existing stories, they have been huge box office successes.
In the last few years, many classic games have been remastered for modern consoles. Games that trigger nostalgia tend to sell very well between first-time players and older fans.
With the advancements in gaming technology every year, there are endless opportunities to remaster popular titles from the best. Game developers can improve graphics and gameplay while delivering the elements of a game that everyone loved.
Game remastering will continue through the next generation of gaming.