The gaming industry is constantly evolving. Every few years we see new technological innovations that make games more impressive and easier to craft. Not only that but as our society becomes more dependent on technology and the power of online media consumption improves, we see the gaming industry adapt to these changes, too.
The constantly shifting and changing dynamic of the games industry makes it impossible to predict precisely what is coming over the next few years, but we can still make an educated guess on what will change and how. Here are some of our predictions.
Game Subscription Services Will Get Stronger Than Ever
Gaming is currently experiencing the same streaming transition that film and television have over the past couple of decades. Netflix began as a DVD rental company, much like Blockbuster, before they led the charge towards online subscription-based streaming services and ditched physical rentals altogether.
Whilst the gaming industry definitely left physical CDs behind many years ago in exchange for online storefronts like Steam, it has taken longer for a subscription-based ‘Netflix-esque’ gaming service to become popular. This is beginning to shift, though. With the growing popularity of several game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, EA Play, and Apple Arcade, we can expect to see more and more investment in this area as companies compete to become the ‘Netflix of gaming’.
The Continued Rise of VR
Virtual reality games continue to carve out a space for themselves within the industry. In particular, multiplayer party games like VRChat and Among Us VR have been further popularised by streamers around the world.
This growth extends beyond playing the games to making them too. VR game development processes and technologies are constantly improving as tech companies compete to improve the hardware and software behind virtual reality experiences, especially due to VRs potential outside of gaming. VR is here to stay, and is likely to get even bigger than it is today.
Esports May Struggle to Find its Feet
Esports is in a very unique position at the moment, with both positives and negatives leaving its fate in the balance. The International Olympics Committee announced an official esports series taking place in 2023, serving as a massive endorsement for the future of esports as they see representation in one of the world’s most established sporting events. That said, there has been a lot of concern surrounding which games are being showcased at the Olympics, as the most established esports titles have been snubbed and missed out. This could risk a poor showing at the event, which may do more harm for esports than good.
On top of this, the esports industry is also currently experiencing a lot of investor doubt. Several major esports organisations are terminating positions and pulling out of the sector, potentially due to a reduction in sponsors and investors. Esports has always been a costly business and without this support, it may struggle to establish itself for long-term success.
The Future of NFTs and Blockchain Looks Sour
There’s no doubt that NFTs are a contentious topic amongst gamers. As a community, most players have a negative view of blockchain-related products and games. Despite this, there are rumours that some major publishers and development studios are looking into bringing together gaming and NFTs.
This scepticism over the blockchain has only been accentuated by the recent collapse of FTX and the worldwide fall of cryptocurrency popularity, suggesting that NFTs and the blockchain will struggle to find a welcome place in games, even with large organisations interested. Whether NFTs play a role in the future of games is uncertain, but their current prospects look bad based on player attitudes and behaviour.
Whilst these four predictions are by no means guaranteed, it will be interesting to reflect on them in five years’ time and see just how much has changed. There are sure to be new innovations that shake up the industry in ways we couldn’t imagine, especially with the advent of AI technology which is already beginning to reshape how we work.