What is the future shape of gaming?
There are major industries in the world – and there are truly huge ones. It is into this second category that video games must surely fall.
In the space of just a few short decades, video gaming has emerged to be worth a staggering $178 billion a year, and its growth isn’t stopping anytime soon. In fact, by 2025, it is projected that it’s going to be worth a truly jaw-dropping $268 billion a year, making it the world’s premier form of entertainment.
It might be seen as a leisure pastime, but there is also no denying that gaming also has many other benefits for players. These are wide-ranging, covering both the physical and mental.
For the former, there is strong evidence to suggest that it is a positive influence in improving everything from hand-eye coordination to attention to detail. Mentally, it can assist with logic and problem-solving and foster more rapid decision-making skills.
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Gaming in the UK
While the focus on gaming often places its epicenters in the US and the Far East, the UK is also a thriving market. In 2021 it was found to be worth over £7 billion a year, a 32% increase over the 2019 figure.
It is also estimated that around 36 million Britons play games at some time in the year, making over 50% of the population fans of the activity.
The question that UK gamers, and others all over the world, are now asking themselves is where gaming is heading in the future. Fortunately, there does seem to be a certain consensus amongst industry observers about what we can expect to see over the coming years.
Six developments we can expect
The changes are expected to be diverse, including modifications to the business model as well as the inevitable technological advances.
The rise of the metaverse
There has been a considerable buzz about the metaverse and how it’s set to transform the way that we relate both to the world and to each other. The bringing together of both the real and the virtual worlds will certainly have an effect on gaming, too, with real-world brands appearing more and more in games and real-world events like live music concerts starting to be built into gaming experiences.
The increasing importance of cloud gaming
Remember a time when many people had rows of books, CDs and DVDs lined up on shelves in their homes? Now, look around, and you’ll find these are distinctly lacking.
It seems that we have fallen out of love with actually owning our forms of entertainment. After all, when they’re not being enjoyed, they’re just filling up space.
Far better, it seems, to stream them as and when we want them, and this is going to mean that cloud gaming is certain to increase in take-up. All of the major players have already set up subscription-based cloud gaming services, and even Netflix, that pioneer in streaming services, has now hired a vice president of gaming.
Virtual and augmented reality
It may have been a long time coming, but virtual and augmented reality certainly does seem to have arrived. Already, there are plenty of games that include elements of these, and it’s not just the pure gaming sector that’s set to see even more.
The online casino world has steadily risen in importance and influence over the last couple of decades, mirroring the progression of gaming. It, too, has seized on technological advancements with the best of operators driven by the desire to make the online experience as lifelike as possible. With the growing competitiveness of the market, operators such as Bet365 now offer promotions to their players to attract them to play at their website; they also enhance the online casino gaming experience with the latest technology advancements to put them ahead of the competition.
Already they have introduced the live casino concept with real action being streamed to a player’s PC or mobile device. But VR and AR promise to be a real game-changer as they will place the player actually in a virtual casino environment.
Microtransactions are becoming big business
The changing way that the gaming industry operates is also leading to different ways that it is set to fund itself. While they have been around for a while now, in-game microtransactions are set to grow. In some aspects, this may be linked to the increasing intrusion of the metaverse into gaming with brands selling virtual products – for example, outfits for characters in games. Or it may be to purchase extra lives or weaponry in games. Either way, microtransactions are set to be worth $67 billion this year in terms of revenue – a figure that’s set to rise even more in the future.
The other big buzz at the moment is the rise and rise of artificial intelligence in not just gaming but all aspects of our world. So we can look forward to games that have the built-in ability to change to suit the ways that players like to interact with them and even adapt their difficulty level according to their ability
Vintage is back!
Ironically the final trend for the future of gaming is distinctly backward-looking. There is a growing appetite for the games of yesteryear like Space Invaders, Pac Man and Missile Command. So, we can expect to see many of these titles being given a whole new lease of life and being discovered by a whole new generation of gamers.
Of course, there will be many more changes on the horizon for gaming in addition to these. So, there’s never been a better time to be a gamer – or a games developer for that matter. But that’s a whole other story!