Current Gaming Trends and Innovations
As the years have progressed, the gaming industry has seen a huge surge in popularity and revenue, completely overshadowing other industries including music and film. In 2021 alone, the industry generated a whopping $180BN in revenue which is greater than Hollywood and the music industry combined. Innovations and technological leaps have become a mainstay in gaming, with developers having to employ state-of-the-art technology and algorithms to deliver high-fidelity graphics and gameplay in their games.
Cloud Gaming, sometimes called on-demand gaming or game streaming, is a type of online gaming that implements remote servers, and streams video games directly to the user’s device. In essence, a user plays games remotely from a cloud server. This onus shifts to the infrastructure set up by the gaming company that acts as a backbone to deliver high-resolution and framerate gameplay. A major factor or concern in the quality of cloud gaming is latency, that is the amount of delay between the user’s input and when they are registered as an input in the videogame, especially in fast-paced videogames such as first-person shooters and fighting games. Microsoft’s Xbox has bet big on its Cloud Gaming service that utilises Microsoft’s 54 Azure Cloud Computing centres scattered around the world in 140 countries. The better the networking infrastructure laid by the company, the less taxing it is on the user when it comes to bandwidth. Because of Xbox’s vision to provide a top-of-the-line user experience with their service, means a user can simply sit back and not have to worry about connectivity issues as long as they meet the minimum required bandwidth. Plus, Xbox Cloud Gaming comes with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate so it’s a win-win. But sheer bandwidth and throughput alone may not be enough to sway people toward Cloud Gaming if the platform has no games, to begin with. It is for this reason that heavily investing in first-party titles and studios is one of the most crucial steps.
Esports or electronic sports, are video games that are played in a highly competitive environment. The esports market is valued at $1.38BN in 2022 and is forecast to grow to as much as $1.87BN in 2025. Their enormous popularity in 2022 alone, drew more than a 532mil concurrent viewers worldwide. Because of this, esports athletes make for attractive investment opportunities for lucrative corporate sponsorships. A slew of videogames is competitively played in the esports community; from fighting games like Tekken and Mortal Kombat to MOBA’s like League of Legends and Dota, to tactical shooters like CSGO and Rainbow Six Siege, each drawing cult followings and dedicated communities. Mobile gaming as well is seeing a steady growth rate within the millions. As the esports industry continues to grow, game publishers and developers are beginning to subdivide into “hands-off” and “hands-on” categories that affect their participation in the organisation of these events. Whereas the former prefers not to interfere with said events, but allows the community to organise competitions and tournaments, the latter actively organises competitions and events often spending millions of dollars on advertising and recruitment. In spite of all this, the esports industry still has a long way to go in terms of creating laws and regulations that protect esports athletes from exploitation.
Cross-Platform Gaming describes the freedom of players using differently configured gaming hardware to play games with each other simultaneously. For better or for worse, a game becomes instantly more competitive due to varying platforms and systems. For online multiplayer games, cross-play brings with it a large player base and greater interaction for the users. A game’s longevity in some cases, is dependent on whether or not the game is cross-play. To make games more far-reaching and have large player bases, developers are taking it upon themselves to partner with hardware developers to integrate cross-play features and reduce exclusivity. Cross-save, a feature that allows the player’s progress to be saved in the cloud on one hardware platform, and immediately resumed on another, is slowly becoming popular.
Regardless of the outcome of these trends, gaming will continue to see a new rise of technological innovations from varying industries all converging to create rich user experiences and gameplay. The sky is not even the limit.
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This is so interesting