Published May 3, 2021
Few industries have grown and developed as the gaming industry. From being a market that only interested a specific group, there are now target groups of all ages. The global gaming industry is growing and the future forecast looks bright.
Opinions about what trends will shape the gaming industry in the 20s are many, but some stand out more than others.
Today’s gaming industry
Today’s gaming industry is worth billions. According to figures from Statista, global sales of computer games amounted to 37 billion US dollars in 2020. In Sweden alone, it amounted to total game sales the year before to SEK 19 billion.
The current gaming market consists of a mixed compote. There are mobile games, computer games and console games of various kinds. At the end of 2020, the long-awaited consoles PlayStation 5 and X-Box Series X were released. It had been seven years since Microsoft and Sony released new consoles. The differences between it new generation consoles and the predecessors are seen above all in the technical specifications. The consoles have new sound systems, faster image refresh rates, 4K resolution, beam tracking and much more. At the same time, the two companies have chosen to release their respective budget consoles. The biggest difference from the full versions is that they do not have a turntable. All games are played digitally.
Digital games have begun to take over more. Most are downloaded from the internet, but some can be streamed from a server. Google Stadium was one of the first platforms where players got access to a number of games for a monthly fee. They still needed some hardware to play, such as a controller and a Chromecast Ultra, but they did not need the games themselves.
The current mix in the industry has led some to believe that some units will take over the others and gradually phase them out. These ideas are based to some extent on the trends that are believed to dominate during the rest of the 20s.
Five major gaming trends
The following five trends may have a major impact on how we play.
Cloud gaming takes over
Cloud gaming can be translated as cloud games. These are games that are streamed directly from a server instead of being downloaded to a device. This is what Google Stadia is based on.
Both Microsoft and Sony have, and are developing, their own cloud platforms. For a monthly fee, they allow players to access a large game library, without having to purchase each game separately. However, they need to have the respective manufacturers’ consoles.
Cloud gaming is expected to be more free. Stand-alone services that offer games for a monthly fee can eliminate the need for specific consoles. Players could then start playing a game on their mobile phone and then end it on a console. This would not only give more freedom, but also open up opportunities for more people to be able to play with or against each other.
Streaming is a growing concept in gaming. It is common for players to stream themselves when they play. The clips or live feed are then uploaded to platforms such as Twitch or YouTube Gaming. Game streaming has led more people to discover the gaming industry and it has helped esports grow. Among other things, the streaming platforms have made it easier for fans to follow their favorite teams.
Live streaming came to the gaming industry as early as the early 2000s and is an important technology in the casino industry. It is used within the category live casino and lets players meet a livestreamed dealer who is at a casino. The gaming experience will be the same as if the player had been in front of the gaming table. There are a large number of games to choose from, such as roulette, blackjack, poker and hold’em.
Since live streaming is an important technology both for and around games, there are high expectations for better video quality, more platforms and a more immersive interaction.
Free-to-play with microtransactions
If games without hardware requirements will become more common, many people expect a change in the buying process.
There are those who believe that subscription services will become more common. Others believe in an increase in so-called “free-to-play” games. These games can be played for free but they only provide access to a basic game. If the player wants extra equipment or longer courses, they need to make microtransactions.
This type of game increases the opportunity for gaming companies to continue to make money from their games, even while they are being played. It also gives the player more opportunity to control the cost and content.
Increased mobile gaming
In 2020, the market for mobile games amounted to 77 billion US dollars. The increase in mobile gaming is somewhat disputed. There are many who wonder if the growth is due to more people owning a mobile phone that they can play on, or because better games are actually being launched.
As a faster mobile network is rolled out, it will open up more opportunities to play advanced games in the mobile. This has led many market experts to believe that more people will prioritize mobile as a gaming device. It is already noticeable that many game developers are thinking about mobile players. There have been more and more mobile versions of traditional TV and computer games, such as Fifa and Call of Duty.
The sport is growing
The sport is expected to be even bigger. There are few sports that have grown as fast as the electronic and there is already talk that it will have the opportunity to enter as a test sport in the Olympic Games. According to Esport Insider, the forecast for 2024 is that there will be approx. 290 million fans who follow esport. Another approx. 285 million will be spontaneous viewers or those who choose specific tournaments.
There are plans to start more leagues and tournaments. It is possible that it starts to compete in more games. A growing esports, and above all in terms of the number of viewers, places great demands on other areas, including better livestreaming and stronger servers.
The gaming industry stands for an exciting future. The trend forecast indicates an upcoming gaming market that is more accessible and where each player has greater freedom, whether in terms of cost or choice of unit. The quality of the technology will develop and provide even better live casino and sports streaming.
Digital games are likely to become more common in cars, but computers, mobile phones and consoles will probably continue to share the market, at least for a while longer.