The year 2020 has not been very kind to many businesses and yet gaming industry has been one of the few to bloom during this pandemic. Lockdown and staying indoors have limited outdoor entertainment options, because of which gaming and esports attracted audience of almost all age group. According to Statista forecasts, in 2021, the number of gamers could reach one third of the world’s population. Most of the players are from Asia – about 1.4 billion. It is followed by Europe with 386 million, Middle East and Africa with 377 million, Latin America with 266 million and North America with 210 million.
The market of computer and mobile games by the end of the year will reach $ 159.3 billion, following the Newzoo forecast. This is almost three times the market for other entertainment sources. It is estimated that by 2022 this market will grow up to $ 196 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 9% in 2018-2022
With the world still adjusting to the new normal, best gaming technology will continue to rise. Keep reading to know the gaming trends 2021.
Rapid growth in Cloud Gaming
Cloud Gaming bypasses all of the annoying issues faced by gamers like time required for downloading, system storage and compatibility for smooth working of the game. Instead of buying and downloading a game, with cloud computing you stream it.
Across gaming industry cloud based games have seen the most drastic popularity especially during pandemic. Cloud based gamers are increasing by the day at the same similar rate to that of Netflix subscribers in 2020. With the success of software-as-service (SaaS) and platform-as-service (PaaS) which has introduced the model adopted in gaming industry as Gaming-as-service (GaaS) the trend has spread rapidly. This will revolutionalize the gaming industry as many companies are planning to adopt this model in coming future.
The most beneficial feature of this model is that it will be compatible with any device and configuration allowing players to have uninterrupted online gaming experience. In short, the end users will be able to play online games on any device without affecting the performance of the gamer.
Also these systems will not need software updates as all the games will come updated and ready to play.
Technology is already making games more democratic. The new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are still favourite game sales from online services such as Amazon and Google is much higher than physical games. The cloud gaming industry is beneficial not only for consumers but also to the service providers. Services like PS Now, also gives Sony a valuable recurring revenue stream. Also Google Stadia, Playstation Now, or Playkey run resource-intensive applications which help them gain freedom from hardware limitation. Overcoming these hardware barriers will give the developers the creative freedom and also make gaming hussle free for the players. The cloud gaming scheme gives them the ability to outsource their computing needs to remote hardware.
As there is no need to download or install games the only requirement is high speed internet. In 2021 there will be exponential growth in hustle-free online play options.
5G Internet adding to gaming experience
Cloud gaming development raises the demand for high speed internet, this is where 5G comes in picture. 5G will increase speed and make transferring bulk data uninterrupted and seamless. The year 2019 actually marked the transition into the 5G era and 2020 amplifies its acceptance and availability due to the pandemic. 5G will pursue to influence the latest advancement in the gaming business especially cloud gaming.
This will lead to rapid rise in the gamers who play from their phone. There are already more than 2 billion such users, and the availability of 5G see exponential growth in these numbers. People are always unsatisfied and frustrated with the low speed internet that causes interruptions in streaming of data. 5G is the solution to these problems.
With 5G games can be downloaded 10 times faster than 4G network. Mobile gaming will particularly be benefiting more as they can get the ability to download anything anywhere. In order to remain competitive, the device will require to heavily strengthen their broadcasting abilities and continue updating its library to serve its growing audience.With the availability of 5G, online gamers will be able to get optimum results.
Moreover, it is going to grow the Indian gaming community as more users would be able to take advantage of 5G for streaming and playing games on their mobile phones or tablets with relative ease.
Enhanced Virtual Reality Experience
The pandemic has brought great reforms in the gaming industry and especially with use of virtual reality (VR) being used to enhance the experience for gamers. Face recognition technology is already being in used in many fields, and gaming is one of them. The development in VR in future may lead to technology allowing scanning the players face and projecting the players on screen. A similar change is expected with development of human voice recognition.
The AR and VR are providing the new immersive gaming experience that holds the most advantage. These technologies have picked up pace and demand as they could provide experiences closer to reality particularly in the times of lock down. Gaming trends 2021, will see the technology behind both AR & VR likely to transition into offering a more realistic visual experience. Best gaming technology will take advantage of this to make more enhancing experience even without a video game monitor. Going by the numbers both these technologies are going to pump up revenues close to $20 billion by 2021.
As mentioned earlier introduction and acceleration in 5G is going to be most profitable for mobile gamers as it will provide accessibility irrespective of data size and place.
About half of smart phone users play games. According to estimates, over 2.2 billion people have used their mobile phones for playing games in the last 10 years. It is interesting that in the mobile direction, there is no significant quantitative difference between genders. 51% of mobile players are women, 49% are men. By 2021, these numbers will not change.
With the rate of development in technology like improvement in Chipset technology, mobile devices are going to be at par with gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
This not only means increase in number of gamers but also that it lead to rise in overall online gaming experience and an positively impactful gain for companies associated with gaming. This also means more companies joining the online gaming space. The increase in competition will only mean better games at affordable rates, a win-win situation for both gamer and service providers. So this is not a surprise that the mobile gaming technology will continue to expand over the coming years. This expansion also means increase in potential customers for smart phones.
The biggest advantage of mobile games is the handy availability of the device. We carry our phone everywhere. So essentially the game is accessible to us at all times. Therefore the developers continue to develop online games that will allow people to stay connected.
In a latest trend major consoles and PC game companies are releasing mobile versions of their games to match the market requirement.
An example of such a transition is the long-awaited Call of Duty: Mobile. Introducing a mobile segment, the franchise has managed to reach a huge number of new players: more than 300 million downloads since the release in October 2019 speak for themselves.
Older trends like Fortnite-style battle royale games have added to the development of mobile gaming.
They have proved that smaller device does not deter the experience of gaming, in turn leading popularize mobile games. People can use their smart phones without the need of expensive and bulky hardware to experience the games.
Also Epic Games has demonstrated the ability to combat the monopoly of famous corporations. Ditching the Apple Store and Google Play, Epic has hosted its iconic Fortnite game in its own store with a much lower commission and no restrictions.
Advancements in Multiplayer games
Multiplayer games have always been popular markedly, now when meeting and playing together is not possible these games have kept friends engaged in activities they enjoy together. There are games based on cooperation and competition, two characteristics on which the multiplayer games work. This time is appropriate that offers different players in line with the innate skills of characters to be developed and introduce new genera in multiplayer games.
Fresh background and narratives
Gone are the days when games had pre programmed narratives, today with updates in gaming industry there are options when the players can change background and also the narrative and back story of the character. This helps avoid the boredom when the gamer is revisiting the game.
Gaming, cybersport and Esports gaining popularity
Growth in loyalty to industry and legalization of online casinos have largely contributed to the gambling industry. Also there is a mobile application or supports mobile games via mobile browsers are linked to all online casino. There also a visible evolution in slot gaming. These games are now moving from single player to multiplayer to keep up with the trend in gaming technology, encouraging more player to play at the same time or to observe the competitors. It is predicted that 2021 will see a steady rise in the number of player trying their luck at these games.
Call of Duty is an example of a cyber sports game very popular with bookmakers. Activision, the game’s publisher, stepped in and created the Call of Duty Championship League, which shows how big, established brands are taking advantage of online technology. While they may not be promoting sports betting themselves, the fact that they are so heavily involved in eSports now speaks volumes about what to expect next year.
The limitations of physically enjoying live sports has greatly increased people’s interest in online or esports. This has also provided great opportunity to gamblers to bet on online spots to increase the thrills.
If in 2019 the audience of people who watched sports events at least once a month was about 440 million, then by the end of 2020 it is expected to grow to 495 million. In 2021, the number of eSports enthusiasts can increase to 550 million.
These rise in numbers though look appealing also tend to show us the dark side of increased popularity of alternate sources of entertainment.
What does the future hold for gaming industry in 2021?
As the pandemic situation is still looming over us, for safety reasons people will prefer to spend more time indoors, they will keep turning to indoor options to keep themselves engaged and entertain. This past year has seen much increase in gaming industry revenue and will continue doing so in the coming year. Exponential growth is expect in gaming industry in the years between 2020 and 2026.
We have been talking about video games in general where as there is also the arena of fantasy sports and esports that is growing at a frantic rate. With the inability to play or participate in sports the popularity of these fields is also growing fast. The NITI Aayog in India which has called for a self-regulatory body only for online fantasy sports in India. The interest in the gaming area has accelerated the shift to cloud based platforms and mobile gaming. With technological innovations gaming industry has a bright future ahead.
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