Trends in the world of online gaming are about as changeable as the UK weather, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the forecast now and again.
What’s particularly exciting about the gaming industry’s latest trends is that they point to much larger societal and economic changes, which will impact peoples’ lives far beyond which game they play of a Sunday evening or on the bus as they commute to work.
Here are some of the most intriguing gaming trends of 2020. Which ones do you see being the most influential come the end of the year?
These are the trends set to take the gaming world by storm
South America is the Boom Continent for Gaming
When most people think of gaming, they imagine hordes of Chinese, American or perhaps European youngsters piling online to do battle or test their wits.
However, it is, in fact, South America where the most dedicated gamers reside, with over half of all internet users on the continent identifying as gamers.
There’s little to suggest that this trend will change anytime soon, although the proliferation of mobile gaming in Africa means that it may be the next continent to experience a gaming boom, especially as technology and connectivity comes down in price.
Gamers Now Command Huge Audiences, As Well As the Online Battlefield
There was a time not so long ago where the idea of people tuning in to watch other folk play games online would have been laughed at. But that is exactly what’s happening now.
Esports, for example, were even drawing huge offline crowds, who flocked to traditional sports stadiums to watch their heroes duke it out on big screens.
Forces outside of the industry’s control have altered the playing field yet again, with more and more followers of popular gamers and esports teams heading online to streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer, whose streamers have seen a huge uptick in viewer numbers in recent months.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in poker, where many of the world’s best players stream themselves every day of the week, filling the content void that currently exists on cable television channels and even other streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. There’s no sign of this trend losing any popularity, as poker streamers continue to break records in viewer numbers, fast catching up to those streamers who play first-person shooters and battle royale blasters.
Video games are always at the forefront of new tech advances
Nostalgia is a Big Player in Gaming
With online gaming most popular among GenX and older Millennials, the nostalgia factor is due to play a major part in shaping which games are brought back to life to satiate demand.
This trend stems from the movie and television industries, who have recently gone on a rash of remakes and remasterings, to tap into generations who want to relive their past.
The current craze for the N64’s Goldeneye game, as evidenced by the rise in popularity of the previously forgotten 007 Legends game, is further proof that this trend will only grow.
Consoles Go Head to Head with Clouds
The next few months will be a watershed moment for the gaming industry as tried and tested console systems such as the PlayStation and Xbox go up against new cloud-based gaming platforms such as Google’s Stadia.
Although the initial skirmishes between the rival formats are likely to see consoles come out on top, technological advances down the line may well mean that cloud systems will eventually supersede their rivals, as players get tired of lengthy download times, an issue that cloud game streaming could do away with for good.
Battle Rages for Market Share
The online gaming industry is predicted to be worth around $160 billion in 2020, a number that’s only set to grow in 2021 as new technology and consoles hit the mainstream.
This means that the major tech players such as Stadia (Google), Horizon (Facebook’s VR gaming platform), Sony and Microsoft will continue to do battle for their share of this ever-burgeoning market.