Online gaming has become huge in recent years, and today, there are several discussions and debates going on around the issue of what the future holds for online entertainment and gaming, especially where the technology is concerned. There are those who believe a new era will soon begin, but others believe that things are likely to remain more or less the same for some time. Still, there are people who are of the opinion that it is difficult to predict a major technological change in a world like the gaming industry, considering how quickly technology can develop.
It is said that the only constant thing in this world is change, and that certainly seems to be the case with online gaming. The field is so dynamic that it has changed so much over the years and continues to do so even as you read this article. This is what makes the future so difficult to predict for online gaming. The good news is that the constant change, plus a few other factors, make the field so interesting to watch.
- The world of online gaming involves a good mix of big and small corporate names, with Microsoft and Sony being two of them.
- There is an incredible rate of innovations that thoroughly disrupts the industry and shakes things up quite frequently. This includes skills-based gaming and multi-player gaming.
- There is a global community of online players who are very demanding.
- The online gaming sector has an ecosystem that includes technology such as hardware development, augmented reality, virtual reality, and the Internet. All of these technologies are rapidly growing and progressing.
It is, therefore, safe to say that the future of online gaming will be quite phenomenal on several levels.
Areas of Online Gaming Expected to Thrive
If we trace the history of online gaming from the time of the black-and-white 2D games such as Computer Space to the 3D offerings of the 1980s like Atari’s Battlezone, as well as from the first shooter games of old like Half-Life to the battle royales of today such as Apex Legends, it is easy to see how much the online gaming industry has evolved in terms of technology.
The question now is, ‘Has online gaming technology reach its peak? If not, then which areas of online gaming are most likely to thrive in the future?’
While it’s almost impossible to predict the future of the gaming industry, we could get a few clues by carefully analysing current trends. Here are a few areas of online gaming we expect to gain a considerable amount of traction in the coming years:
1. Mobile Gaming
There was a time when games were mostly concentrated on either desktops or dedicated gaming consoles. There was even a time when the most popular games were puzzles for kids. That time, however, is practically gone by now.
Although some of those games and the devices you play them on are still around today, more and more people are now choosing to play games on their mobile phones and other handheld devices. In fact, mobile games accounted for 51% of the gaming industry’s global revenue in 2018. Console gaming and PC gaming are way behind, with a 25% 24% contribution to the revenue, respectively.
Owing to the convenience it offers and the portability of mobile phones, the preference for mobile gaming isn’t expected to change anytime soon. More and more smartphones are also being developed with powerful chipsets to give them the ability to handle any game smoothly. These days, it is no longer just the ordinary shooter games that you’ll find on mobile platforms; betting games have also started taking a fair share of the mobile pie, as there are now several casino games available to mobile gamers.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise when top online casinos like Casumo started launching mobile versions and apps for both the iOS and Android systems. Just by downloading these online casinos’ apps, you’ll have the ability to play your favourite games on the go. Going further into the future, game developers will likely start going for the mobile-first approach when they conceptualise and develop their new games.
2. Immersive Gaming: VR Dominance
Introduced by Ivan Sutherland back in 1968, virtual reality isn’t really a new concept; it just didn’t gain as much traction then as it has in recent years. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that people back then did not completely understand the technology’s potential. It was only when Oculus Rift was developed in 2012 that people really started to see what VR could possibly do, and the breakthrough headset successfully defined a new era of gaming.
VR is actually quite an interesting concept, and it is now making giant strides in transporting people to different worlds to interact not only with the games but also with other players. The technology’s supremacy and power took it all the way to mainstream gaming in 2014, and the market saw a sudden swathe of VR games and headsets being released. More players also decided to join the fray that year, including Samsung, Nintendo, Lenovo, Sony, and HTC, among others.
Today, VR has penetrated the world of gambling, and major betting game developers are leveraging the technology to gain a competitive edge. The market has, in fact, seen a rise in VR-based online slot games, one of which is Net Entertainment’s Gonzo’s Quest. And judging by the rate at which VR casinos have been launched in the UK market, it is safe to say that VR is most definitely a huge part of the future of online gaming.
3. Multiplayer Games
When online gaming first gained traction, it became a sort of haven for the socially awkward. It provided these people with a venue where they could let loose without fear of been judged or laughed at. Those who didn’t quite know how to handle face-to-face conversations found a place where they could actually voice out their opinions and share their knowledge, secure in the anonymity provided by the online world.
In today’s world, however, online gaming is no longer the exclusive domain of those who struggle to socialise in person. It no longer matters whether you belong to the nerd classification or the jocks. The only requirement for taking part in online gaming is that you want to play and are looking for a convenient way to enjoy your favourite games.
The change in demographics, however, does not change the fact that online gaming is mostly regarded as a social function where people with similar interests can meet, play, and interact in various ways. Game developers have begun to create more highly-interactive multiplayer games. These games are meant to boost social interaction among players, both online and offline.
One interesting report that involves multiplayer games is that 75% of parents say they now play video games with their children. This may be good news for families, as it could very well mean there is now an increase in the number of multiplayer online games that appeal to a wide range of age groups. This will help end the era where there is a serious divide between the gamer and his family. Now the games can be an avenue for family bonding.
With families starting to bond moreover online games, game developers are expected to start developing more social-friendly features for their games. A rise in the number of multiplayer games being released is also expected to be seen in the near future. Soon, the days when a gamer would hole up in his attic or basement to play all by his lonesome would become a thing of the past.
4. Augmented Reality Games
If you’re not quite sure what the term ‘augmented reality’ means, then think “Pokemon Go”. The whole world witnessed the revolution caused by this interactive game, which required players to step out of their homes and go looking for Pokemons. This is what AR is all about; it brings the game out of whatever platform you’re playing on and into your own physical surroundings.
It differs from VR because it does not contain you in a single location. Rather, it requires you to explore the world around you. It can perhaps be likened to a modern version of a hero’s quest. The success of Pokemon Go now poses a challenge to game developers: Any future AR game they develop is now expected to be judged based on the parameters that either differentiate or make it similar to Pokemon Go, rather than the positives and negatives of the game itself.
Another thing that is expected where AR is concerned is the emergence of two streams of modern games: Gaming for self-improvement and gamified self-improvement. What is the difference between these two streams? Well, the first one is all about online games that are meant to help hone your memory skills. The second stream includes online gaming competitions that can be hosted on learning platforms such as FitBit. Most predictions concerning AR these days are focused on the process of bridging the gap between these new game streams.
5. Crypto Integrations
When they were first introduced, cryptocurrencies were mostly treated like an alien invention that people didn’t really trust. There were numerous reports of scams being done via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It got to a point where people would immediately back out of an online transaction as soon as they heard the term ‘crypto’.
The technology has advanced significantly since then, and people now have a clearer understanding of what cryptocurrencies are. In fact, cryptocurrency is now hailed as one of the safest ways to process payments over the Internet. Proponents are even starting to market it as the best mode of payment for all types of online transactions. And just recently, it has finally penetrated the online gaming world, with a number of online casinos now accepting cryptocurrencies for wagering.
Advancements in technology came with an increase in the incidence of identity theft and cybercrime. It is for this reason that people are always on the lookout not for more convenient, but most especially for safer and more secure online payment options. Everyone wants to enjoy the convenience offered by online transactions, coupled with 100% security if possible for their sensitive personal data.
The good news for you is that Bitcoin technology has evolved so much in recent years that when it comes to privacy and data security these days, nobody does payment options better than they do. Besides online casinos that now accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as modes of payment, operators have also started launching online betting sites that take cryptocurrency as their exclusive mode of payment. Initial reports point to players actually preferring the exclusively crypto sites, which is why this trend is expected to continue in the future.
High Stakes for Game Developers
Considering the recent technological advancements and the current state of the online gaming sector, it certainly looks like the stakes are high for game developers. There are two major risks they will have to face, moving forward: the risk of burnout and the risk of talent drain. Given the restricted freedom game developers have as they work around a mandatory development process, they are likely getting sick and tired of doing the same thing and using the same tricks over and over. And as these developers age, their interest in gaming, in general, will likely wane as well, making it imperative for operators to keep seeking new talent.
With so many predictions being made, and with the stakes getting so high in the world of online gaming, gamers could most likely look forward to a wide range of changes that will make the gaming world a lot more enjoyable for them. And given the rapid changes that are likely to take place in this entertaining world, it could pay off for gamers to indulge in their favourite online games as much as they can. It certainly looks like the online gaming industry will be anything but boring in the coming months.