New technological developments are being released all the time. Much of the technology we enjoy today was little more than a creative concept a decade ago.
Many of these technologies have enabled the development of the gaming industry. For example, in recent years advancements in Virtual Reality (VR) have created new and more immersive gaming experiences. Also, the newly released 5G has significantly improved connection and download speeds, making gaming online even more accessible and seamless.
Online gaming is a huge industry that is growing year on year
There are three main types of gaming platforms that enable players to play and interact online, these are consoles, PCs and mobiles. The mobile gaming segment is by far the largest and accounts for around 45% of the market, around 80% of this revenue is from smartphone games. This is followed by console games that account for around 32% of the market and finally PC games with a 23% share.
Many games on mobile can be accessed by players for free, with advertisements being used as a source of revenue by developers. Short playing ads, usually no longer than ten seconds, are inserted into games. Due to their short timeframe, they have very minimum impact in terms of disruption for the player.
The core audience for online gaming is young people aged between 18 and 24, however there is a growing interest in gaming amongst those around the age of 35. This age group shows a particular interest in esports gaming.
Many of the most popular online games are esports, these include football games like FIFA and first-person shooters such as Call of Duty and Counterstrike. Action role playing games like Fallout 4 and Diablo are also favourites amongst gaming fans.
There is also growing demand for online casino games and sports betting, with the online gambling industry now worth around $40 billion US dollars per year. The most popular casino games are poker, blackjack and roulette. Playing casino games on mobile or PC offers players convenience and more variety in game choice in comparison to visiting a physical venue, with most providers also offering bonuses and promotions for playing, something that is not seen as often in a land casino.
Another reason for the growth of online casino gaming and sports betting is partly due to changing legislation in the USA. Recently, a number of different states have legalised online betting, such as West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With people more freely allowing to gamble, it means more providers have entered the market giving consumers more variety to choose from.
Technology has had a significant influence on the growth of the gaming industry
The role of technology has also had a huge influence on all types and genres of gaming.
Online gaming first developed in the 1990s when the internet became widely available. By 2003, the first digital storefront selling games was released and by 2009 Apple’s in-app purchase feature propelled developers into creating many more profitable mobile games.
Augmented Reality (AR) was introduced to the masses in 2016 with the release of Pokémon Go. The smartphone gaming app uses AR and GPS location tracking technology to enable Pokémon trainers (players) to catch and train Pokémon in real locations. When players walk around in the real world, they appear on the game map where they can look for Pokémon and train or battle at Gyms located at real-life landmarks. The game was a huge success and achieved the highest revenue grossed by a mobile game within its first month.
Online gamers are encouraged to play by the loyalty systems that technology has enabled developers to create. For example, players can often earn rewards such as points or extra lives for watching adverts in game. Games are also becoming increasingly social, with many games creating environments that encourage competition and teamwork through completing missions or trading virtual goods.
What does the future look like for technology in the online gaming industry?
The future of gaming tech is exciting. As audience sizes continue to grow, there are endless possibilities to create new immersive gaming experiences.
Virtual Reality has been tipped to become much more widely used in the years to come. VR headsets, such as the Oculus, are becoming more affordable and therefore much more accessible to the wider gaming market.
More comprehensive data gathering will enable more personalised gaming experiences. Using player data, games will be able to be customised in real-time to meet the audience’s interests. This of course could widen concerns about data protection and privacy. With this in mind, it is likely that players will begin to pay more attention to the terms they accept and how their data is being used.
Lastly, the introduction of the 5G network will also make technologies like cloud gaming possible. With better and faster connections, gamers will be able to stream games rather than having to download them or buy disks. We already use streaming for watching TV shows and movies, and soon we will be using it as a method of gaming too!