The video gaming industry has enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past decade and it has an extremely bright future ahead of it. The sector continues to attract many of the world’s leading innovators, which is spurring it on to greater heights with each passing year. It is sure to maintain its upward march long into the future, and these are some of the key trends that will develop:
Industry will be worth $300 billion by 2025
The global video gaming industry was worth $131 billion in 2018 and it is forecast to rise to around $152 billion this year. Mobile gaming has long since eclipsed PC and console gaming in terms of revenue, and that has driven the sector’s impressive growth.
Billions of people across the world own smartphones and developers are able to target a broad range of demographics with games that they can play while on to go or at home. The industry is also growing increasingly savvy when it comes to generating revenue: free-to-play games that follow a microtransaction model now make a lot more money than paid-for titles.
This trend will continue to grow, as gamers love to personalize the experience and unlock extra content through these in-game transactions. The average Fortnite player spends $58.25 on in-game purchases and there are hundreds of millions of players, so it is extremely lucrative. This will only grow in future.
Experts now forecast that the industry will be worth $300 billion by 2025, which means it will double in size over six year.
That shows just what a healthy future the sector has. Video gaming is becoming more socially acceptable all the time and it is no longer the pursuit of teenage boys and young men – there are plenty of games that appeal to all demographics and genders, and the untapped potential remains huge.
No more consoles
Excitement is building among gamers as Microsoft and Sony prepare to launch their next-gen consoles. Microsoft’s is codenamed Project Scarlett and it will be launched in “Holiday 2020”, according to the firm. Sony has already unveiled plenty of details about its next-gen console, which is all but certain to be called the PS5.
The PlayStation and Xbox have dominated the gaming industry for the past decade, but this will be the last generation of physical consoles. Cloud-based gaming is growing in importance, mobile devices are becoming more powerful all the time and 5G is being rolled out around the world.
Google has just launched its streaming service, Stadia, while Microsoft is already investing heavily in cloud-based gaming. Facebook and Amazon are also muscling their way in.
Gamers prefer to rent games instead of buy hardware, they play games for free and pay for microtransactions and they watch others play games online. This is all helping cloud-based gaming emerge as the dominant force in the sector. It means that video game developers are finally feeling the disruptive power of the internet, years after newspapers, TV and radio did.
Everyone will be streaming after the next generation of consoles. PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo will become apps. All-digital storefronts will come to the fore and there will be no brick and mortar game stores.
Players will download triple-A games on their smartphones, and when smartphones become obsolete they will be downloaded into a smart contact lens, glasses or a chip in the brain.
Esports will become more popular than traditional sports
There are now 454 million esports viewers across the world, and competitive gaming is big business. NewZoo puts the industry at $1.1 billion in 2019, and that is just from commercial sponsorship deals, media rights, ticket sales and merchandising. The actual games that are popular within esports – League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO et al – make billions each year through microtransactions.
This year’s Fortnite World Cup took place at the world’s largest tennis stadium, which hosts the US Open. The winner of the Fortnite solo tournament, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, earned a similar amount of money as Rafa Nadal and Bianca Andreescu for winning the US Open.
Prize pools are soaring as developers inject huge sums into the competitive gaming scene and blue-chip companies pile in with big sponsorship deals. Increasing numbers of gamers are turning professional and the global viewership base continues to soar.
Tournaments are now well-oiled machines and the viewing experience is thrilling, with platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Mixer all allowing gamers from around the world to enjoy the action.
There are now hundreds of esports betting markets, as you can see at Unikrn.com, which helps drive an increase in viewership figures.
Dozens of big traditional sports teams are investing heavily in esports because they know the writing is on the wall. More people watch the League of Legends World Championships than the Super Bowl, and it will not be long before esports totally usurps traditional sports in the popularity stakes.
Games will be used for learning and behaviour modification
For many years, video games were purely about entertainment, but they are increasingly being used as pedagogical tools. Humans learn best through play and simulations allow gamers to fall without hurting themselves or anyone else, making them crucial for developing new skills.
Gaming can improve your concentration and focus. It also makes downtime productive, blending entertainment and education in exciting new ways.
It can make transform a dull lecture on history or biology into an immersive, thrilling event. In future, teachers will educate through accessible, entertaining mediums, and that brings us onto our next point.
VR and AR will take centre stage
In future students will be able to learn in fully immersive, engaging, 360-degree virtual environments thanks to improvements in VR technology. VR and AR can bring the curriculum to life, allowing students to visit far-flung corners of the world and hold a human heart in their hands. This can be done through the medium of gaming, making learning fun and thrilling.
VR and AR will also transform esports in the not too distant future, making it a more compelling viewing experience. It will bring gamers out of their chairs and make the whole event a greater spectacle.
VR has had many false starts since Ivan Sutherland revealed the Sword of Damocles in 1968, but it is finally starting to gather pace. Research firm IDC expects 7.6 million virtual reality and augmented reality headsets to be sold worldwide in 2019. There is a long way to go, but those figures should increase in the future due to a technological arms race between big companies.
Facebook, Sony, Samsung, Google and more are all battling for VR supremacy, and that should lead to massive advancements in the next couple of decades. Devices will reach a resolution of 10,200 by 7,800 pixels for each eye and a field of view of more than 220 degrees, making VR indistinguishable from reality. Today’s clunky headsets will be replaced by slick wearable technology.
VR will revive cinema, theatre and more, but gaming will dominate. If harnessed correctly, it will bring people together in virtual spaces and promote community rather than isolation. AR can make the world more joyful and whimsical, or it can be used for education, and it all helps point to a very bright future for video gaming.