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GUEST ARTICLE: Top trends shaping the gaming industry

The infrastructure set up by game creators is based on cutting-edge technology.

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Mumbai: Today’s gamers are accustomed to exploring realism-based 3D environments and interacting with hundreds or thousands of other players in real-time, a far cry from the blocky, unsophisticated sprites that many of us played as children. The infrastructure set up by game creators to make this possible is based on some of the most cutting-edge technology, including super-fast 5G and cloud networking, as well as powerful processors.

Some major trends in the gaming industry are: 

1. Cloud gaming

The majority of the major video game developers now offer their titles through cloud-based subscription services. As long as gamers have smart TVs and small streaming devices, they won’t need to keep purchasing and upgrading pricey, power-hungry hardware and keeping it in their homes. The cloud data centre serves as the hub for everything, and streaming video is the result that is delivered to households.

Furthermore, the continued adoption of lightning-fast networks like 5G will lead to a time when more people than ever will be able to access this new method of game delivery. All things considered, even though it’s not a given that specialised home gaming systems will vanish from our lives, 2022 is a year when business leaders will increase their investments in their vision of a streaming, cloud-based future.

2. Virtual reality

Over the previous five years, VR gaming has rapidly grown in popularity. One of the most thrilling gaming experiences of the coming year is anticipated to be provided by VR. Consumer headsets are becoming more and more accessible because of the declining cost of hardware. Additionally, they benefit from being able to operate both alone and when linked to a gaming PC to take advantage of the latter’s specialised skills to offer even more realistic and visually sophisticated VR experiences. Cloud VR may become a reality soon, further shrinking the size of headsets.

3. The metaverse

Millions of gamers now assemble in virtual worlds to participate in every sort of entertainment, and this concept of in-game worlds expanding to include various forms of entertainment will surely have a significant impact on the gaming business and culture in 2022. The largest franchises and games will increasingly reinvent themselves as "platforms," enabling a considerably wider variety of user experiences. Others will find space in these worlds to participate in networking, conversing, or other sorts of shared interaction.

The benefit of retaining users on their platforms will be seen by game developers, who can do this by increasing their loyalty as subscribers or by turning them into a captive audience for advertisers of all stripes. 

4. NFTs and blockchain

In a rather contentious move, a number of major game developers announced plans to incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a mechanism for players to win, earn, and trade exclusive in-game items. Some of these initiatives may start to materialise in 2022.

Not all gamers are on board with the concept, especially because many believe that these tokens are a waste of energy. This is because the complex blockchain algorithms required to run them require a lot of processing power. However, it’s likely to become a reality because game publishers have stated that they believe the convergence of gaming and NFTs has a bright future and that they are willing to pay money to accomplish it.

The proliferation of ‘play-to-earn’ games that give players cryptocurrency rewards for participating in regular play is another emerging trend.

5. Esports

Esports mostly refers to the evolution of video games to incorporate elements more frequently found in professional sports, such as live audiences, tournaments, leagues, sponsorships, and paid athletes. Esports will be included in a significant international multi-sport competition for the first time at the 2022 Asian Games, where they will make their official debut as a competition. Esports experienced a boom in popularity during the covid pandemic, as it did with many other forms of digital entertainment. In 2021, it earned over one billion dollars in revenue for the first time, primarily from media rights and sponsorship, and it is anticipated that it will reach nearly $2 billion in revenue by 2022.

Furthermore, 73 million viewers watched the League of Legends World Championship final in 2021, a 60 per cent increase over 2020, and it is anticipated that this record will once again be broken in 2022. This proves that video games have indeed developed into spectator sports, and over the upcoming year, we should expect to see both an increase in the number of professional players and a rise in prize money.

The author of this article is Glued founder Vikram Narula.

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