It is often through watching the video games industry, which is a $90 billion global industry and known for a number of the tech trends that impact our lives, that many people first get a sense of how these trends work. The same can be said about robotics, supercomputers, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), blockchain technologies and – perhaps more relevant today – the metaverse.
As video games have evolved over the years from the primitive and blocky sprites that many of us were used to in our youth, today’s gamers are used to exploring worlds in realistic 3D settings and interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of other players simultaneously. To make this possible, the games industry has created an infrastructure that will use some of the latest cutting-edge technology, starting with super-fast supercomputers all the way up to ultra-fast 5G networks and cloud apps. I thought I would take the time to look at some of the most exciting and important trends affecting the fast-paced world of gaming in the coming year:
The Cloud Gaming Industry
The advent of home video gaming in the 1970s has resulted in the acceptance of the need to purchase a new console or computer every five to seven years in order to guarantee that their gaming experience is not limited to the last few releases. It is now emerging that this paradigm might soon change.
Almost all of the major players in the video games industry now offer their video games through a cloud-based subscription service. These include Microsoft, Sony, Google, Nvidia, Tencent, Amazon, and Sony. According to this model, gamers don’t have to continuously purchase and upgrade expensive and power-hungry hardware such as PCs or consoles and keep them in their homes – instead, all they need is a smart TV and a lightweight streaming box (like Chromecast or FireTV). It is as if everything takes place in the cloud data center and then streaming video is delivered to homes through the internet. Moreover, the emergence of super-fast networks such as 5G is bringing us closer and closer to a time when people will have more and more access to this new way of delivering games. While we certainly can’t assume that dedicated home gaming systems will disappear from our lives anytime soon, it appears that 2022 will be a year in which the movers and shakers in the industry will put even more resources into their vision of a streaming, cloud-based future.
The world of virtual reality
The gaming community fully embraced virtual reality long before it became a rage among real estate agents, surgeons, and even the military. There has been gradual growth in the adoption of virtual reality gaming in recent years, especially the last five years, with a growing number of high-profile franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and Doom gaining access to headset technology. It is set to offer some of the most exciting gaming experiences of the coming year, especially in comparison with its cousin, augmented reality (AR). AR still hasn’t really seen widespread mainstream adoption as it has been six years since Pokemon Go. As consumer headsets like the Meta Quest 2 become more affordable due to the falling costs of hardware, these products are becoming increasingly popular. The benefits of these devices include the fact that they can both function as standalone units and be connected to a PC in order to take advantage of the dedicated hardware and enable an even more immersive and graphically rich VR experience. A cloud-based VR service could soon be a reality – resulting in even smaller headsets in the future. Perhaps by the year 2022, Apple’s long-rumored VR headset may be released, which could have a significant impact on VR gaming, just as iPhones had on mobile gaming.
It’s funny how Facebook and Microsoft talk about plans to create immersive, persistent virtual worlds for work and leisure, when millions of gamers are already aggregating in virtual worlds and participating in every form of entertainment, such as chess and bridge to blowing up each other with homing missiles. We believe that by the year 2022, this concept of in-game worlds growing to include branded marketing “pop-ups” as well as music concerts within the Fortnite universe, or music concerts within the Roblox universe, will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the games industry as a whole as well as the culture surrounding games. In the upcoming years, more and more large games and franchises will repurpose themselves as “platforms,” enabling a much wider range of possibilities for the user. There will still be many users who want nothing more than to log in to the latest Call of Duty and start shooting guns at their friends, there will also be many others who will find the ability to socialize, chat or engage in other shared interactions within these virtual worlds. In terms of game creation, game creators will find value in keeping users hooked onto their platforms, either by increasing their loyalty as subscribers or by turning them into captive audiences for marketers. The next trend on our list would tie in with all the others mentioned in this article, but most specifically with the next trend that we have mentioned…
NFTs and blockchain
There was some controversy recently when several of the biggest game developers (such as Square Enix and Ubisoft) announced plans to incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into their respective games. These tokens would let players earn, trade, and win unique in-game items. By the year 2022, it’s likely that you will be able to see some of these plans come to fruition.
Most gamers don’t agree with the idea, particularly since many believe that these energy-related tokens are a wasteful use of resources. This is due to the fact that a considerable amount of processing power is required to be able to carry out the functions needed for the blockchain algorithms. There is no doubt that this convergence of gaming and non-forming telecoms will be possible in the future, as publisher after publisher has stated they see this as a bright future and are willing to spend money in order to make it happen.
The explosion of “play to earn” games, which reward gamers with cryptocurrency when they play every day, is another trend that can be seen growing steadily. It has more than a million daily active users, many of whom earn upwards of $250 a day check this page, according to Axie Infinity. Despite the game being widely played in developing nations, such as India, where the income gained from the game is pretty decent!
Generally speaking, esports refers to the evolution of video games into a fully professional structure, including a range of elements characteristic of professional sports, such as teams, leagues, tournaments, sponsors, and salaried players. The 2022 Asian Games will be the first time that esports will be included in an international multi-sport event, which will mark Esports’ debut as an official event. A number of forms of digital entertainment, including Esports have experienced growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are forecast to generate over $1 billion in revenue for the first time during 2022, primarily through media rights and sponsorship. In 2022, Esports are expected to grow to nearly $2 billion, exceeding the current $1 billion mark in 2021. 73 million viewer are expected during the final of the League of Legends World Championship in 2021 – a 60% increase over 2020, and this record is expected to be smashed once again in 2022 as 73 million viewers watch those events. The results of this study clearly illustrate that gaming has evolved into a spectator sport, and we expect to continue seeing both a rise in both the number of professional gamers and the size of prize pools over the coming year.