From cloud gaming to virtual reality, trends gamers should watch out for

Consoles have become a staple of consumer technology since popular model like the Atari 2600

Gaming is now a huge global phenomenon that is challenging the traditional entertainment industry like never before. Nearly three-fourths of the entertainment market today is made up of online and mobile gaming platforms. Online gaming, as a segment, is estimated to become a $1.1 billion opportunity by 2021, according to Google-KPMG. This growth is coming on the back of relentless innovation and development in the gaming sector. The gaming industry has been marked by innovations and changes and this trend is expected to continue with more fervour in the future.

Cloud gaming

Cloud gaming is potentially one of the next big things. With the launch of Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, and the scheduled launch of Microsoft’s xCloud in 2020, the era of cloud gaming revolution is expected to be one of the biggest trends of 2020. With cloud gaming, games will actually run on powerful cloud servers as users stream game data, not needing powerful or dedicated hardware to run the game on their side. This will potentially mean that users will be able to play high end games using relatively low-end systems. Consequently, games will stream much like movies and music. One of the major benefits of a cloud-based gaming service is that the same game can be made available on multiple platforms and one can play any game, on any device, at any location.

Consoles wars

The year 2020 is also likely to see the arrival of a new generation of video game consoles and the rekindling of the long running feud between manufacturers. Consoles have become a staple of consumer technology since popular models like the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo Entertainment System blazed a trail back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Each generation of consoles has pushed the envelope on processing and graphics capabilities as well as overall functionality. The 9th generation of consoles, which are slated for release next year, will push the processing and graphics capability to new heights. Expect games with 4K and 8K resolution to become common place. Sony has announced that the PlayStation 5 (PS5) will be launched this autumn/winter, putting it in direct competition with Microsoft’s forthcoming next Xbox.

Continued rise of e-Sports

Electronic sports, or esports, is one of the fastest growing, and most exciting segments, of the gaming industry. eSports involves video games being played as a sports competition. The games used for such competitions are mostly multiplayer games like Dota 2, Fortnite and Counter Strike Global Offensive. Thanks to streaming services like Twitch and YouTube, professional gamers have become their own breed of celebrity and have built legitimate fanbases that will come out, wear their teams’ jerseys and swarm arenas to watch them play. Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a recent report about the new subsection of the video game industry and estimated the monthly size of competitive esports gamers, 167 million as of year-end 2018, will hit 276 million by 2022, basing their forecast on a NewZoo survey.

Dominance of mobile gaming

As the gaming industry grows, a number of start-ups and gaming app developers are also entering the industry. Mobile games will continue to put in a strong performance, helped by elements such as Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, 5G, and Auto Battlers. APAC will continue to be the biggest region by gaming revenue. Constantly improving smartphones have allowed for true gaming experiences on modestly priced models, unlocking a huge new market. Mobile companies have also filled gap by allowing gaming experiences regardless of budget. The market value of mobile gaming in India is estimated to reach approximately$405 million by 2022, with the number of mobile phone gamers hitting 628 million, according to Statista.

Virtual reality gaming

After a disappointing 2018, VR Gaming began to come into its own in 2019. Standalone headsets such as the Oculus Quest took the spotlight, selling units as fast as Facebook could make them. The worldwide VR market volume is expected to reach 98.4 million sales by 2023, generating an installed base of 168 million units with a population penetration of 2%. Growth is forecast across all regions and countries. Also, three trends and advancements will influence VR in 2020: The first is control methods and how people interact with experiences; the second is the merging of PC and standalone experiences into one system and the final one canters around data privacy.

Manvendra Shukul is co-founder and CEO of Lakshya Digital, a game art creation company.

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