When it comes to many tech trends that impact our lives, the $90 billion global video game industry is often one of the first places many people see them in action. This is the case with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), blockchain and, in particular, the most popular buzzword today: the metaverse.
Video games have come a long way from the primitive, blocky sprites that many of us enjoyed in our youth, and today’s gamers are used to exploring realistic 3D worlds and interacting with hundreds or thousands of characters. other players in real time. The infrastructure game developers have put in place to enable this relies on some of the most advanced technologies, from super-powered computers to super-fast 5G and cloud networking. So let’s take a look at the most exciting and important trends that will impact the rapidly changing world of gaming over the next 12 months:
Since the birth of home video gaming in the 1970s, gamers have come to accept the need to upgrade to a new console or computer every five years or so to ensure they can play the latest and greatest. versions. But this paradigm could be coming to an end.
Almost every major player in the video game industry now offers their games through cloud-based subscription services, including Microsoft, Sony, Google, Nvidia, Tencent, and Amazon. With this model, gamers don’t have to constantly buy and update expensive, power-hungry hardware, like consoles or PC GPUs, and keep them in their homes. Smart TVs and lightweight streaming devices like Chromecast or FireTV are all they need. It all happens in the cloud data center, with the output delivered to homes as streaming video. Additionally, the continued spread of super-fast networks such as 5G will bring us to the point where this new way of streaming games will be accessible to more people than ever before. All in all, while it’s not a foregone conclusion that dedicated home gaming systems will disappear from our lives, 2022 is a year in which we’ll see industry players commit more resources to their vision of a cloud-based future.
Gamers were fully sold on virtual reality long before it became fashionable among real estate agents, surgeonsand the military. The last five years, in particular, have seen a gradual growth in the adoption of VR games, with an increasing number of high-profile franchises, including Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft and Doom, becoming accessible via headset technologies. More so than its cousin, augmented reality (AR) – which still hasn’t had a truly successful mainstream gaming implementation since Pokemon Go six years ago – VR is poised to provide some of the most popular gaming experiences. most exciting of the coming year. Thanks to falling hardware prices, consumer headsets such as the Meta Quest 2 are becoming more and more affordable. They also benefit from being able to operate both as standalone devices and be connected to a gaming PC to leverage their dedicated hardware to enable even more immersive and graphics-rich VR experiences. In the near future, cloud VR could become a reality, further reducing the size of headsets. 2022 could even see the release of Apple’s long-rumoured VR headsetwhich could have the same impact on VR games that the iPhone had on mobile games.
While Facebook and Microsoft speak eloquently of plans to create immersive and persistent online worlds for work and play, millions of gamers are already accustomed to congregating in virtual universes to participate in all forms of entertainment, from chess and bridge to blowing yourself up with autoguiding. missiles. In 2022, this idea of in-game worlds will extend to other forms of entertainment such as music concerts in Fortnite or brand marketing “pop-ups” in the hugely popular universe of Roblox will undoubtedly have a big impact on the gaming industry and culture. Increasingly, the biggest games and franchises will morph into “platforms”, allowing for a much more flexible range of user experiences. While many may just want to tune into the latest Call of Duty to shoot their friends, others will find room in these worlds for socializing, chatting, or other forms of shared interaction. Game creators will find value in keeping gamers hooked to their platforms, either increasing their loyalty as subscribers or turning them into a captive audience for marketers of all flavors. This trend will tie all the others mentioned in this article, but especially the next one on our list…
NFTs and Blockchains
Somewhat controversially, several of the biggest game creators (such as Square-Enix and Ubisoft) have announced plans to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into their games to allow players to earn, earn, and trade unique in-game items. In 2022, it’s likely we’ll start to see some of these plans come to fruition.
The idea is not popular with all players, especially since many consider these tokens to be a waste of energy. This is due to the large amount of processing power needed to run the blockchain algorithms needed to run them. However, with game publishers stating that they see a strong future for the convergence of games and NFTs and a clear willingness to spend money to make it a reality, it will likely become a reality.
Another growing trend can be seen in the explosion of “play-to-earn” games that reward players with cryptocurrencies for participating in daily play. Axie Infinity has over a million daily active users, with some earning over $250 a day. That’s a pretty decent income in some of the developing countries where the game is widely played!
Esports primarily refers to the evolution of video games to include aspects more commonly associated with professional sports, such as live audiences, tournaments, leagues, sponsorships, and salaried players. In 2022, Esports will debut as an official event at the 2022 Asian Games, marking its first inclusion in a major international multi-sport tournament. As with many forms of digital entertainment, Esports has exploded in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, generating over $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2021, with the majority coming from media rights and sponsorship, and should reach close to $2 billion in 2022. Additionally, 73 million viewers tuned in to watch the League of Legends World Championship Finals in 2021 – a 60% increase from 2020, and that record is set to be again. broken in 2022. This shows that the game has truly become a spectator sport, and over the next year we can expect to see both the number of professional players and the size of the prize pools continue to increase.