Over the past few years, the gaming industry has been on a stellar trajectory of growth. To put it mildly, gaming is thriving, with new technologies and gaming experiences leading the charge in terms of consumer engagement. The sector has already overtaken the film industry and the sports industry combined for revenue generation ($165 billion in 2020) and, come 2024, the global gaming industry could well be worth over $218 billion – according to Newzoo.
With the eyes of the world’s 3 billion gamers now watching the industry to see where it will go next, let’s dive into the key trends and developments that lie in store for gaming over the coming years and decades.
Playing video games is no longer a solitary activity. Gaming has already been revolutionised by the introduction of multiplayer gaming at the end of the 20th century. More recently, innovations like MMORPGs and their ilk have opened up new worlds for players. Now, it’s the turn of social gaming to forge a new, community-focused path for the gaming industry.
Today’s gamers are no longer solely interested in just the mechanics of games; very often, who they’re playing with and how they communicate with each other is just as important as the game itself. Wanting to connect and belong to a community is a significant driver in why some people decide to take up gaming in the first place.
Even gamers without pre-existing social circles can meet and form new communities playing online games. In-game text or voice-based chat is a fundamental tool for forging this social element; with it, players can meet and talk with just about anyone else, no matter where they are in the world.
Additionally, in-game chats are proving to be useful for team games like battle royales. As well as forming friendships, gamers can use chat functions to easily share and coordinate strategic moves in games such as Fortnite, Overwatch and League of Legends.
The gaming industry, in its entirety, has made some significant leaps in advancement when it comes to immersive gaming experiences. On the video gaming side of things, titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 have really amped up the engagement factor with immersion-focused mods.
Meanwhile, another hugely popular gaming genre, iGaming, has been pioneering immersive gameplay since the mid-2010s. The segment is best known for its online casino and poker gaming platforms that provide an array of interactive casino games. Online slots titles like Eye of Horus and Fishin’ Frenzyare just two examples of games that deliver an authentic digital slots gaming experience.
The future of immersive gaming, however, no doubt lies in the realm of Virtual Reality (VR). The technology has been in its infancy for several decades now, but in recent years gaming has proven to be the catalyst for its mainstream integration. We’ve already seen innovations like VR gaming headsets released into the mass consumer market; meanwhile, more accessible products like Google Cardboard and add-ons for established gaming consoles like the Sony PlayStation have proven to have mass appeal.
According to research, the VR gaming sector could grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.2% between 2020 and 2027, indicating just how much potential this market has for expansion.
Thanks to its global popularity, the eSports segment has already established itself as a crucial part of the gaming industry. With a continuous commitment to pushing the boundaries of competitive video gaming, it’s safe to say that eSports will be a major gaming market for several decades to come.
The future of eSports, however, could well lie in the mobile realm. Since 2020, mobile eSports has been steadily claiming dominance, and now, with 5G poised to unlock new gaming on-the-go possibilities, it’s likely to emerge as the frontrunner. To challenge the stronghold that PC and console gaming has in eSports, robust internet connections and seamless gameplay are a necessity. 5G promises to deliver all that and more, which, combined with the low barriers to entry that already characterise mobile gaming, makes it a key development to watch.
Mobile eSports is currently experiencing the biggest uptake in Latin American and Southeast Asian markets. Still, the UK and other mature gaming markets will likely follow the surge in growth as new games enter the arena. Riot Games, Tencent and Moonton are just a fraction of the development studios hoping to follow in Garena’s footsteps as they release new games to compete with Free Fire.