The gaming sector is growing rapidly, and technology is one of the key drivers of that. Key gaming technology trends are transforming the video game industry. These trends are as follows:
1. Cloud gaming
Cloud gaming is an important trend in the world of gaming technology.
The gaming world before cloud gaming
Since the launch of the first video games, you needed a PC or console for video games. That’s a cost that you incurred.
Now, the gaming industry is highly competitive. Game development companies are continuously trying to offer a better user experience. They often upgrade their design, content, and gameplay scenarios for this. These could include better graphics, gesture control, etc. You want to take advantage of them when you are playing games.
While more exciting, the improved games require computers or gaming consoles with considerably more processing power. You needed to periodically upgrade your gaming consoles or computers. Many users upgrade them every 5 years. This can be expensive.
Cloud gaming eliminates hardware upgrades to play games
Video game majors are offering their games via cloud providers. You can subscribe to these cloud-based services. You can use Smart TVs to access these games. Furthermore, lightweight streaming devices like Fire TV also enable you to play these games.
Cloud computing technology does all of the “heavy liftings”. You don’t need to upgrade expensive gaming systems frequently anymore.
Cloud gaming market and key providers
The cloud gaming market is likely to grow rapidly. An Allied Market Research report estimates that this market will grow from $244 million in 2020 to $21,954 million by 2030. The roll of 5G will further augment this growth.
Giants like Amazon, Nvidia, Microsoft, Sony, and Google have made purposeful entries into the cloud gaming market. Vortex, Boosteroid, Shadow, Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Nividia GameStream are some of the prominent cloud gaming services.
2. Virtual reality (VR)
VR gaming has a prominent place within the video game industry. We expect that VR games will become even more popular in the future.
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Why VR gaming continues to grow
Virtual Reality (VR) provides an immersive experience. When designed well, this immersive experience can be very appealing in the gaming world. Various game developers realized the appeal of a virtual world early.
Several recent and work-in-progress technological advancements are boosting the prospects of VR in the gaming sector. These are as follows:
- VR headsets like Meta Quest 2 are becoming cheaper. Gamers now find them more affordable.
- The infusion of new technology has helped designers to improve the standards of digital content. When you combine amazing graphics with the immersive experience of VR, you can attract and retain more gamers.
- The roll-out of 5G will drive the growth of VR, and that includes the gaming industry.
- Cloud VR will increase the adoption of VR in the future. That will happen in the gaming industry too.
VR gaming market
The VR gaming market is growing noticeably. A Fortune Business Insights report estimates that this market will grow from $7.92 billion in 2021 to $53.44 billion in 2028. The report estimates a CAGR of 31.4% during the 2021-2028 period.
The best-known VR games are as follows:
- Arizona Sunshine;
- Astro Bot: Rescue Mission;
- Batman: Arkham VR;
- Beat Saber;
- Elite Dangerous VR;
- Half-Life: Alyx;
- I Expect You To Die 2;
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes;
- Lone Echo 2.
Argentics, Whimsy Games, and KEVURU GAMES are some of the well-known VR game development companies.
The market for Augmented Reality (AR) games
We often talk about virtual and augmented reality together, however, these technologies have different growth trajectories. That’s true with AR games too.
There’s a growing trend of using AR in games. An imarc group report estimates that the global AR gaming market will grow from $6.39 billion in 2021 to $38.03 billion in 2027.
The following are a few well-known AR games:
- Pokémon Go;
- DC: Batman Bat-Tech Edition;
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite;
- Jurassic World Alive;
- Zombies, Run!
- The Walking Dead: Our World;
- Kings of Pool.
3. The Metaverse
There’s plenty of talk about the Metaverse, and it’s an important trend in the gaming world too.
The intersection of gaming and the Metaverse
The Metaverse is the online world of the future that is currently taking shape. It will have digital representations of the entities and substances in the physical world. The digital “avatars” of real people will interact with other “avatars”, and they will experience a digital representation of things.
The Metaverse will use technologies like VR, AR, mobile, and blockchain/cryptocurrencies. It will be the online world that people will use for work and social interactions.
While much of the Metaverse is still work-in-progress, the gaming industry has already embraced the concept with gusto! The Metaverse isn’t a start-and-stop system. This immersive online world is always present, and users can interact with it whenever they want. Gaming companies take advantage of this persistent immersive online world. We expect this growing trend to pick up further.
The following games are already very popular in the Metaverse:
- Axie Infinity;
- Chain of Alliance;
- My Neighbor Alice;
- Alien Worlds;
- Farmers World;
Examples of the synergies between the Metaverse and the gaming world
It’s not just about the popular video games utilizing the Metaverse. There are synergies between the Metaverse and the gaming world. The following examples illustrate that:
- Musicians like Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmello Scott had concerts using the Metaverse. The immersive environment of the popular game Fortnite was used for this. Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite has made considerable investments in the Metaverse.
- Microsoft has grand plans to make the Metaverse useful for work. The technology giant has invested heavily in this project. It has also invested in the Metaverse games with the acquisition of Minecraft and Activision Blizzard.
- Roblox, the game development company has created a platform on the Metaverse. Developers can create games and digital assets on this platform, and players can trade them. Reports indicate that this platform has nearly 50 million daily users.
4. Blockchain and NFTs
Blockchain and NFTs are becoming important parts of the gaming world.
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What makes blockchain and NFTs click in the gaming world?
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are cryptographic tokens much like cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether. However, NFTs have two distinct characteristics. They are unique and indivisible. These characteristics make NFTs ideal for tokenizing any digital asset.
People use NFTs to tokenize artworks, music, real estate, etc. Blockchain offers immutability by virtue of its computer algorithms called consensus algorithms. The decentralized security and immutability offered by blockchain ensure that no one can tamper with the ownership data of these assets.
For this reason, NFTs can be used for tokenizing game characters. You can use them to tokenize trading cards in card games. CryptoKitties, the first NFT game built on blockchain technology was launched in November 2017. Many NFT games have become very popular since then.
In fact, many of the popular Metaverse games are NFT games. Examples are Axie Infinity, Sandbox, Chain of Alliance, My Neighbor Alice, and Farmers World. The trend of “play-to-earn” games is possible due to blockchain and NFTs.
The market for blockchain-NFT games
The market for blockchain-NFT games is growing rapidly. Reports state that the number of crypto wallets connected to gaming grew from 29,563 at the beginning of 2021 to 754,000 in Q3-2021.
These reports indicate that blockchain gaming generated a revenue of $2.3 billion in Q3-2021. They mention that Axie Infinity dominates this market.
The popularity of eSports is growing, and the demand for eSports management software will grow.
eSports involve video games. However, they also involve many important aspects of traditional competitive sports. Like traditional competitive sports, eSports have audiences, leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, prize money, salaried players, and media buzz.
Managing all of these requires high-quality eSports management software. Many developers in the gaming sector will develop games for eSports. Quite a few developers will also create eSports management software.
Experts estimate that the number of eSports enthusiasts will grow from 197 million in 2019 to 285.7 million in 2024. They say that the number of occasional eSports viewers will grow from 200.8 million in 2019 to 291.6 million in 2024.
Such growth in popularity will increase in a bigger eSports market. Reports estimate that the eSports market will grow from $1328.48 million in 2021 to $3820.37 million by 2027.
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Gaming
We expect a greater penetration of AI in gaming. AI is helping developers create games that are far more exciting.
Video games have non-player characters (NPCs). Players have extensive interactions with NPCs while playing these games. Before AI became commonplace, game developers coded the possible responses of NPCs.
AI now infuses NPCs with the ability to learn. NPCs can use this AI-enabled learning to dynamically modify their responses. This makes video games more challenging.
Popular games like Counter-Strike, Need for Speed, Civilization, Minecraft, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Halo: Combat Evolved use AI. Apex Game Tools, Blizzard Entertainment, DeepMind, and Opsive are examples of companies that create AI-powered games. Market research reports predict a steady growth of AI in the gaming world.
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7. Mobile Gaming
Mobile apps have become important in all spheres of our life, therefore, the popularity of mobile gaming isn’t surprising. Mobile gaming will grow further. Monetizing games has become far easier in recent years, which will be a key catalyst for this growth.
Some of the most popular mobile games are Raid: Shadow Legends, Genshin Impact, Elevenar, Forge of Empires, Rise of Cultures, Rush Royale: Tower Defense TD, and Monument Valley. A Research and Markets report estimates that the mobile gaming market will grow from $95.448 billion in 2019 to $420.386 billion by 2026.
8. Cross-platform gaming
Cross-platform games are video games that you can play on multiple platforms like PCs, consoles, tablets, Android phones, and iPhones. They are often known as “cross-play” games.
Players of multi-player games might use different devices. Cross-platform games enable their participation regardless of the device. Fortnite, Rocket League, Minecraft, Chess Ultra, and Ark: Survival Evolved are well-known examples of cross-platform games.
Developers need to ensure that no player gets an undue advantage due to the device they use. Experts state that the demand for cross-platform games is growing. Therefore, we can expect game developers to work more on cross-play game development projects.
9. Open-source gaming
We all know about the big game publishers that dominate the game development landscape. Open-source gaming is allowing independent game developers to compete in the gaming industry too.
Independent developers can use open-source game engines like Godot, Cocos2d-x, CryEngine, Armory, and Openage. Market research reports indicate that the gaming industry is embracing open-source gaming platforms noticeably.
10. The growth of mobile-based puzzle games
Mobile gaming is already popular, and mobile-based puzzle games form a key niche within that. Observers state that puzzle games amounted to 8% of the mobile game market in 2020. Mobile puzzle games generated $6.9 billion in revenue in that year. We can expect mobile game developers to work on more puzzle game projects in the coming years.
11. The growth of hyper-casual games
Hyper-casual games have become very prominent within the mobile gaming landscape. Observers report that the number of hyper-casual game downloads on mobile devices has grown from 7.8 billion in 2019 to 11.8 billion in 2020.
Mobile game developers can expect to work on many more hyper-casual game development projects in the future. These entertainment-focused games have a very lightweight design, and game developers need to focus on that.
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The top video games of all time are The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, SoulCalibur, Super Mario Galaxy, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto V, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, Perfect Dark, Metroid Prime, Batman: Arkham City, and Elden Ring.
The best game development companies are Epic Games, Nintendo, The NineHertz, iTechArt, Zero Games Studio, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Activision Blizzard, Gameloft, Square Enix, and Bungie Inc.
The best video game consoles are Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 Pro, Nintendo Switch Lite, SNES Classic Edition, Sega Genesis Mini, and PlayStation VR.
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