By almost any measure, the game industry has grown by leaps and bounds this year. The total value of the gaming industry now exceeds $300 billion, more than the combined markets for movies and music. In truth, most years in recent memory have been good for games and game makers, but this year seems especially good.
The growth this year was driven by some huge milestones, such as the release of both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 next generation consoles. The new hardware combined with better real-time engagement and other technologies have accelerated this growth by allowing gamers to connect remotely for a unique (and fun) user experience.
This success has even encouraged growth in other areas that make use of video game technology. For example, the iGaming industry has had its best year ever, generating $1.66 billion in the first quarter of 2021 alone, backed by strong new gaming opportunities that make it fun for players to explore and see more of what that side of the industry has to offer.
And unlike most other industries, the pandemic actually was not terrible for the game industry. Video games offered a fun and safe way that gamers could get together virtually, have fun, and not have to worry about lockdown, social distancing or other restrictions. Now, as the world tentatively looks at leaving the pandemic era behind, experts are making predictions about where the game industry will head next.
One such expert in all things gaming and engagement is Ranga Jagannath, director of growth at Agora, a pioneer in real-time engagement. He has made some really interesting predictions about five things that we should expect to see in 2022 and beyond. His predictions include:
Live streaming in the gaming space will steadily grow in 2022
Today, consumers expect information and interaction at their fingertips in a virtual post-pandemic world. In gaming, live interactive streaming capabilities integrate video chat, inviting live voice or video calls from fans, incorporating stats into the stream, and including virtual gifting opportunities for the audience. Technology like real-time engagement platforms provide excellent, consistent audio and video quality.
Multiplayer gaming will provide more social opportunities
Multiplayer gaming is a staple of video games, but it became prominent during the pandemic when people craved virtual social interactions. Features such as in-game voices, live interaction streaming, and fun AR effects have helped create an engaging social experience around gaming. The jury is still out on whether voice and video capabilities are needed in multiplayer games, but most gaming companies are already leveraging them, and will continue to do so in the coming year.
Cloud gaming will reach new heights
Cloud gaming works by hosting and running games on powerful remote servers and sending a video stream of the action to your gaming device via the internet. One reason cloud gaming has become so popular is that it negates the need for expensive gaming consoles or high-powered PCs, vast amounts of storage space, or a high-resolution screen. Subscription-based cloud gaming is a trend that’s on the rise, and soon could become as commonplace as any OTT platform.
AR and VR technologies will simulate real-life
AR and VR bring in 3D, a captive experience, real-time interaction and creative content like never before. When people think of video games, they think of entertainment, but the potential is far greater. Video games and digital worlds have the power to simulate real-world environments and exceed the limits of reality to improve lives in many ways. The game publishers of today are already looking to make this leap.
5G adoption will change how we game
The launch of 5G-enabled networks and devices is gaining momentum, and will continue to in 2022. Its impact on real-time communications and user engagement, especially for gaming, will be transformative. 5G will revamp real-time audio and video experiences. Ultra HD experiences will become the norm across all real-time engagement-enabled features to deliver genuinely immersive mobile experiences.
Our thanks go out to Ranga Jagannath for sharing his predictions. It looks like 2022 will be another great year for gaming, so keep those controllers, keyboards and mice warmed up and ready to go!