From the fringe activity, gaming has become one of the most valuable industries on the planet. Currently, it is worth about $120 billion and is expected to grow to more than $200 billion by 2022. In some countries, it is worth more than the video and music industries combined. The number of gamers in 2021 is projected to reach 2.7 billion worldwide. This decade may very well be the generational tipping point, in which we get to see more people playing games than not. This rapid expansion has been fueled by equally rapid technological development in the past and this trend will continue. Some of the tech trends currently being developed and even deployed will undoubtedly help grow these numbers even more.
New 3D MMO Worlds
If you enjoy MMO titles like World of Warcraft, you might want to pay attention to the new generation of MMO games that will be coming out in this decade. The biggest bottleneck in world creation has always been the graphic chip, but as the Internet speeds increase, it is becoming possible to create a world that will be completely rendered on the server-side. This way, the only limitation is bandwidth and the developers can create truly immense worlds. That means that 3D is finally an option for most players, especially for those unable to shell out a couple of hundreds of dollars for powerful GPU cards. Technologies like AMD’s Fusion hold a lot of potential and will see massive implementation in the coming years.
Natural User Interface AKA Full Motion Control
The day when I would be able to control every aspect of a game through full motion control seems to be upon us. It is called Project Natal and represents one of the biggest paradigm shifts in gaming history. The transition from traditional controllers, like pads or keyboard and mouse for PC users. Developed by Microsoft, the project already has strong backing from the gaming industry. The biggest challenge, according to some experts, will be getting the players to adopt the new technology. Although it has a lot of potential, at this moment we are still not clear how much the equipment needed for it to work will cost. As with all new gaming technologies, it will take some time before a critical point is reached and developers start to take it seriously.
Blockchain is potentially the most disruptive technology that has the potential to completely redefine the gaming market. The changes it brings to the table are numerous, so we will focus on the most important ones. Perhaps the most important benefit of blockchain technology is fraud prevention. Thanks to its inherent characteristics, blockchain is almost impossible to hack or decode, which is the reason why so many popular cryptocurrency casinos are using it. It will also change how we handle in-game purchases, making it much easier to buy something, but also sell your in-game assets. Blockchain will allow players to cooperate in a game on a level we have not seen previously. All of this will have a huge impact on how we perceive and play video games.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
The 2020s can be the decade where we will finally get to see a massive use of VR technology. It has been around for a long time, but never really took off. One of the reasons is that the investment was simply too much for many players and game developers didn’t have the incentive to develop titles for such a small market. This of course further limited the implementation, as players didn’t want to spend money on equipment that would let them play only a limited number of games. This vicious spiral may finally be broken, as the price of equipment falls and more and more people can afford it, spurring developers into action. Pokémon Go was the latest game that used AR and it was a massive success. We eagerly await to see how developers will implement these technologies in the future.
As possibilities for server-based gaming, or cloud gaming, increase, we may very well be seeing the end of consoles. After all, why spend all that money when you can enjoy the same game on your PC and internet connection? Of course, brands like PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox will not go quietly into the night and we can expect them to put up a fight. It will be interesting to see what they can come up with to counter cloud gaming that threatens their existence. Perhaps the solution is a super-console, all-in-one solution that will cover your every entertaining need, from gaming to music, movies, and TV, all streaming live from the Internet.
The future of gaming holds many interesting promises, but this isn’t the first time this has been said. Often, those promises don’t pan out for various reasons. Whether it is a lack of funds or interest, some promising technologies never get developed. Hopefully, it won’t happen to the ones on our list.