Although gaming has been popular for decades, 2020 saw one of the largest increases in the adoption of gaming for entertainment. Global events led to people around the world spending more time at home, hungry for new sources of fun and entertainment. The gaming industry has developed and matured over the course of the last 40 years and there is now a game on the market for everyone.
The gaming industry is one of the biggest players in the entertainment sector and is predicted by market analysts to continue growing at an exponential rate. Below are five of the emergent trends likely to cause a shake-up in the industry in 2021:
Augmented reality and virtual reality take center stage
Augmented reality and virtual reality, or AR and VR, have been steadily developing in their capabilities and popularity over the last five years. We are now at a point when the design quality, game play design and features have become better and easier to use and interact with. In 2016, AR and VR technologies and games generated roughly $1 billion, and market analysts have predicted that AR and VR will generate an estimated $19 billion in 2021 – which is quite a testament to the growth of this technology. The technology has matured, the audience has grown and now it is time for AR and VR to take center stage.
New gaming consoles
The launch of the PS5 spawned endless memes, jokes and fan videos and this level of excitement is likely to continue increasing. Microsoft and Sony are both entering the fray and plan on launching their own, new consoles in 2021. It is evident from the increase of new design, technology and innovation that the gaming industry feels very confident about how the next few years will go.
Innovation in the online casino sector
The online casino industry has experienced a massive boom in attendance over the course of the last 10 years and market analysts are predicting that online gambling will only increase in popularity over the course of the next few years. There are now thousands of different online casinos for gamblers to choose from. As a result of that heightened, tough competition, online casinos are becoming more innovative and offering highly competitive incentives and bonuses to players.
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Payment options expanded
We have been in the midst of a payment revolution since the launch of PayPal decades ago. Now, companies such as Stripe and Wise (previously TransferWise) are revolutionizing the industry, and online banks and micro payment platforms have completely changed how most of us process transactions online and between one another. The payments revolution has also affected the world of gaming, and payment options such as PayPal and cryptocurrency payments are slowly becoming the norm and taking over from traditional bank transfers.
Also, the biggest gaming production houses are now looking to change the way in which they monetize games. Producers are starting to move away from the model in which gamers pay a large sum up front for a game, and instead are moving towards subscription models and in-game purchase options.
Spectatorship and gaming
Gaming has seen a rise in the popularity of spectatorship and social gaming options and it looks like this trend will continue to increase in 2021. A few years ago, e-sports was viewed as a fairly underground, niche sector with very limited appeal. However, e-sports matches rack up millions of views now and both players and teams are developing followings. E-sports will likely continue to grow in popularity as the sport's spectator numbers increase and more funding is brought in.
Alongside e-sports are other social gaming platforms such as Twitch, which allow popular gamers to livestream their playing. Gaming streamers are able to play, engage with fans and even earn impressive incomes from their streams. Streaming is becoming so popular that even politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jagmeet Singh are starting to use streaming platforms to engage with voters, discuss political issues and have fun. The industry is likely to become more mainstream over the next year.