Published on May 28th, 2019 | by Sumit Bhowal0
5 Trends in Online Gaming to Look Out For
Interactive media is one of the fastest accelerating industries on the planet today—and there is no indication whatsoever of this current hot-streak losing its momentum. In fact, market research conducted by the Nielsen affiliate SuperData found that worldwide digital games revenue skyrocketed to $119.6 billion in 2018, a number which has been further projected to reach $128.8 billion in 2019.
From mobile to desktop to TV consoles, from a living room pastime to an international tournament, from the casino style of Texas Hold ‘Em and the battle royale genre of Fortnite–there is a mode of gameplay on the market for just about any skill or interest level. And since this uber-popular entertainment form is a cultural mainstay now, here are five trends that will take the online game mania to even loftier heights this year.
Virtual Reality Platforms Are Now Mainstream
When this 3-D technology first came on the scene, it did not exactly feel accessible—more like an abstract idea out of a science fiction universe. But with the introduction of virtual reality (VR) headsets and other wearable devices from notable companies such as Google, Amazon, Sony, Apple and Samsung, now this immersive experience is wildly in-demand. As the VR craze becomes more and more ubiquitous, industry forecasts, like Jabil’s 2018 Augmented and Virtual Reality Trends Survey, anticipate that its influence in gaming will prompt other business and commercial sectors to also embrace this technology. Moreover, with hyper-realistic audiovisual features, it’s not difficult to understand why gamers are drawn into this powerful medium for the senses.
The Mobile Gaming Sphere Is Still on the Rise
With a diverse marketplace of free-to-play Android and iOS apps, which can be accessed right on a smartphone or tablet, mobile games are not just a niche segment—they dominate the whole industry. The revenue from this platform accounted for more than 50% of total game sales in 2018, based on the data from Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, and is poised to earn around $106.4 billion in 2021. Some of the most familiar titles in gaming are created for mobile devices such as Alto’s Odyssey, Clash of Clans, Pokémon Go, Monument Valley and, of course, the phenomenon Fortnite. These games rake in their money with a “freemium” business model that does not charge a player for the download, but requires some additional features to be unlocked with an in-app purchase.
eSports Attracts Both Players and Spectators
Since its launch in 2016, the competitive arena of eSports has turned amateur hobbyists into professional gamers—some whose careers yield a net-worth of six or seven figures—and has spawned major tournaments around the world. The most prestigious of these events, such as the League of Legends World Championships, award million-dollar prizes to the winner, but it’s not only the contestants who take an interest in eSports. This year alone, a projected audience of 427 million viewers will tune in to watch these tournaments streamed in real-time on channels like YouTube and Twitch, reported ESPN. In fact, this type of gaming has become such a spectacle that BBC has announced the International Olympic Committee could recognize eSports in the 2024 Paris Games.
Using Cryptocurrencies Has Become the Norm
After a drop in their value within recent years, cryptocurrencies now seem to be headed for a comeback in 2019. CNBC recently verified the bitcoin has increased its worth by 120% in the stock market. What this resurgence means for the online game sphere is that players can avoid the risk of entering their credit or debit information to make purchases. The bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, once again have the cachet to be used as acceptable, secure and convenient forms of payment. Some games like Worldopo, Alien Run and Huntercoin, for instance, even make it possible both to earn and store a cryptocurrency account as part of the gameplay interface. However, it should be noted, in the U.S.,this kind of transaction is illegal on virtual casino platforms.
The Popularity of Online Poker Is Here to Stay
Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies have not been deemed lawful for online gambling, poker still remains a classic, and this is not about to change. Both the mobile and desktop gamification of poker has moved this pastime beyond the smoke-filled rooms of Atlantic City and placed it at the average internet user’s fingertips to attract a wider, more versatile audience of consumers. In its annual market growth and share analysis for 2018, the online gambling operator GVC Holdings indicated that one of its main websites PartyPoker amassed $154 million in revenue, a 42% increase from 2017. Not only is this a profitable game—it’s also easy to learn, with outlets such as Global Poker offering tutorials for different poker iterations, from Crazy Pineapple to Texas Hold ‘Em.
Whether you are an online game aficionado or a total novice who stumbled across a console, these trends are worth paying attention in 2019 and the years to come. There is no doubt this industry will continue to dominate in global entertainment and this is likely just a taste of future innovations down the pipeline.