Online gaming has never been so popular. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that more of us have been at home enjoying entertainment online whether that’s streaming films on Netflix or playing games on our mobile phones and games consoles. But what are the latest gaming trends? Here we pick some of the latest developments that are taking the world of gaming by storm.
Gaming on your mobile has been growing for some time, but lockdown has seen interest surge. According to a recent survey by mobile phone company EE, one in five turned to games on their phone for entertainment for the first time as they looked to fill their time, with more women (54 per cent) giving it a go than men (44 per cent). And while Call of Duty: Mobile still tops the list of most popular mobile games, there’s now a wide variety of games to choose from for your smartphone including titles such as Pokemon Go, Minecraft and Genshin Impact.
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Related to mobile gaming (see above) is the growth of 5G. Although most of the focus is on higher data speeds that 5G offers over 4G, the really significant thing for gamers is the reduced latency – or lag – that the new technology offers. Whereas 4G has a latency of around ten milliseconds, on 5G it’s less than one millisecond. This means games played on 5G can be a lot more responsive than on 4G. And with the number of smartphones in the world now topping 3 billion, 5G potentially offers a massive market for companies to offer new types of immersive and engaging gaming content.
Virtual reality gaming has been talked about for a long time, but it does finally seem to be taking off – in part because the outbreak of COVID-19 has forced us all to find new forms of entertainment indoors. According to a recent report by ResearchandMarkets.com, the virtual reality (VR) in the gaming market is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 32.75% over the forecast period (2021 – 2026) while the worldwide user base of AR and VR games is expected to increase to 216 million users. Currently, the best VR games for platforms such as Playstation VR and Oculus include Star Wars: Squadrons, and Tetris Effect, but there are many more too.
Cloud gaming isn’t new, but it is growing extremely quickly too. Rather than having to buy the game or download it which can take hours on some very slow servers, you simply stream it using services like PS Now. Newzoo’s latest cloud gaming study shows that the market should generate $1.4 billion by the end of 2021. That’s more than twice the research firm’s estimate for 2020, which put the market at $633 million last year. This increase in revenue is partly due to the growth of cloud gaming users as well as the proliferation of new services from Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, as well as increased interest from consumers as a result of the pandemic.
Rise of eSports
Esports is now the fastest growing sport in the world with nearly half a billion spectators tuning in to eSports events during 2020, double the recorded number in 2015. Last year it was announced that the top 5 eSports players in the world earned a combined total of over $30 million in just eight months, with one gamer, Johan Sundstein, worth nearly $7 million from his winnings. Live streaming service Twitch has even launched a new academic partnership in the UK – teaming up with the University of Chichester for an eSports degree!
There’s never been a better time to get into gaming. Not only can you enjoy it as a form of entertainment, but also some people are even able to make a decent living from playing games too!