With every year that passes, the world of gaming becomes more advanced. The way we play games today is almost unrecognizable from the start of the millennium. Twenty years ago, who would have predicted that technologies like virtual reality and live-streaming would be at the forefront of mainstream gaming experiences?
Things have progressed so much that most people need help understanding all the new technological developments in gaming, such as colocation and data centers. Considering the evolution that has occurred, it’s only natural that gaming will continue to advance well into the future. As we prepare to move into 2021, let’s take a look at some of the gaming trends set to dominate the scene next year.
One of the most unexpected trends of recent years is how popular it has become to simply watch people playing video games without interacting. In fact, studies show that most 18 to 25-year-olds would rather watch people live-streaming games than watch sports. And it’s predicted that the number of spectators will surpass the number of active gamers in 2021. Platforms like Twitch allow serious gamers to stream their efforts to millions of subscribers worldwide while providing a running commentary, and it has fast become a career that many young people aspire to.
Games as art
There has been a great deal of debate over the best decade over whether video games can be considered art. Back at the start of the millennium, it was much easier to argue that they are nothing more than popcorn entertainment, but looking at the quality of the indie releases each year, this viewpoint is becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Games like Braid, Dear Esther, and Red Dead Redemption 2 all feature heart-breakingly stunning visuals, compelling and emotional storylines, and fantastically complex puzzles and gameplay. Perhaps the clearest sign that video games are being taken seriously as an art form is that the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival will include them in its line-up from 2021.
Mobile gaming has existed ever since the first cell phone, but it has always been of inferior quality and depth to its console counterparts. Yet, with smartphone technology continually advancing, we are starting to see console-quality mobile games become the norm. We have seen this crossover happen with games like Fortnite and PUBG, and it will only continue as we move into the new year.
Some of the most popular games like Fortnite have come under fire in recent months for encouraging children to spend vast amounts on in-game purchases. Younger kids who play games are particularly susceptible to advertising and promotions and are less likely to understand the consequences of overspending. As parents become more concerned about their children’s gaming habits, we can expect to see an increased number of regulations around in-game purchases.
Games will have a rating icon to denote the potential for in-game spending, in much the same way that happens for swearing, nudity, and violence. This will provide a challenge for many gaming brands regarding monetization, yet it shows that the industry is becoming more responsible and is taking steps to protect children from its influence.