Online gaming: we do this differently now than two years ago

Since the end of 2019, more and more people have been at home. Social isolation and limited options for other entertainment allowed the gaming industry to boom. Millions of people signed up for the first time with a cloud gaming service, bought their first physical video game or watched their first esports tournament.

According to figures from a study of Facebook those new gamers continue to play en masse, even now that life is back to normal. In this article we look at which evolutions the gaming industry has gone through in the last two years and what this means for the future.

1. Mobile gaming is champion

Mobile gaming is a trend that goes back several decades (think of the Gameboy). But where it was previously a small niche within the gaming industry, mobile gaming has become almost as popular as non-mobile gaming in recent years.
That’s not really surprising. As smartphones and tablets become more powerful, so does their capacity to offer quality games. The fact that you can also use smartphones and tablets for other things is also an important factor in their increase in popularity.
Gaming is becoming more accessible and simpler than before, greatly lowering the barrier for non-gamers. If you use your mobile device every day for work or for your social life, it is easy to try out a video game.

2. Strong increase in online gambling

Gambling and gaming are starting to look more and more alike. Online casinos are constantly expanding their offer and are investing heavily in its quality. Think of graphics, but also of replayability and a more elaborate plot. Regular games are increasingly incorporating elements of gambling into their gameplay, such as casino mini-games or loot boxes in major games such as FIFA.
The line between gaming and gambling seems to be blurring more often. In addition, more and more people are looking for the thrill of online gambling. It is nowadays very easy to create an account at an online casino, free spins as a welcome bonus, and to play and gamble in the growing range of quality games.

3. Women throw themselves into the market

Gaming is traditionally a man’s hobby. This has already led to stereotypes such as gamer “nerds”. When you used to play online (about twenty years ago), it was quite rare to meet a lady.
Today it is quite different. Globally, there is a strong increase in the number of women who frequently game. This is often still the case with the more popular and simple games such as Candy Crush, but also in the more serious work you come across more and more “female gamers”.

4. A shift in the revenue model

In the past, making money from video games for companies was pretty straightforward: They produced a number of physical games and then distributed them to thousands of stores around the world. However, that business model is dying out. Video game companies increasingly earn their money with (monthly) subscriptions.
Nowadays you will regularly find free games that you can download and play without paying. But if you want access to all features or want to keep playing, you will be able to cough up a monthly sum.
After all, gamers buy fewer games in total than in the past, but they do spend more time with those games. Companies therefore focus on things such as achievements and events to make their games as attractive as possible and to keep gamers playing for as long as possible. In this way they keep the games interesting and the monthly subscription costs continue to drag on.
This also manifests itself in more “in-game” purchases, such as DLC (Downloadable Content), skins, cosmetic items, and of course loot boxes.

5. Collaboration with other sectors

Overall, gaming is a bigger market than movies and music combined. Other industries are not blind to the many millions of people who play games. They try to profit from this by strengthening their presence in games, often through product placement or sponsorship of events.
Some games have become so popular that they have become part of the culture of certain countries. Think of Pokémon Go, Minecraft and Fortnite, all of which are known outside the gaming world with extensive coverage in the mainstream media.
Fortnite, for example, has already had live concerts, first showings of new albums by major artists and sponsored content from movies.

6. More eSports adoption

eSports are not only wildly popular with gamers, but are also gaining cultural acceptance among the wider population. Tournaments from games such as Counter-Strike, Fortnite, and DOTA 2 are broadcast on live television, gambling sites include eSports, and the industry is booming thanks to sponsor attention.
The success of eSports was partly due to the fact that many real sporting events could not take place, so they wanted something to fill the gaps in programming on sports channels. But in the meantime it has become clear that there is an increasing demand for eSports. This upward trend will therefore not level off any time soon.