In a challenging year, gaming has been one of the few crutches people can rely on for a good time. Now we ask: what does the state of gaming look like for 2021?
The gaming industry is in a state of constant evolution, adopting new trends and embracing groundbreaking technology. In this article, we explore the following trends to expect from your favorite hobby in the year to come:
- Mobile gaming to support recent upswings in online casino players
- Gaming as a service likely to hit the mainstream after a strong showing
- The rollout of new consoles to be a slow process
Read on as we delve into these trends and discover what this could mean for your most anticipated games of 2021.
Mobile gaming will continue to boost the online casino market
The pandemic accelerates a variety of trends in the gaming market, but the big beneficiary of lockdown living is peoples’ engagement with their smartphone — and, by extension, online casinos.
The two elements (mobiles and online casinos) go hand in hand, particularly through 2020 where millions turned to accessible gaming to alleviate external pressures of the worsening pandemic.
Online casino games play into this role because:
- They don’t require specific or expensive hardware to run
- Unlike RPGs, games like slots and roulette require little emotional investment
- The games are easy to pick up and play without much of a learning curve
While mobile games see trends in a positive direction for the short term, the low barrier of entry also means it has the lowest barrier to exit as well. So, whether such a casual platform can hold onto its new audience is anyone’s guess.
But the market is likely to take inspiration from Playojo and similar online casinos by investing in realism and encroaching on the offerings of brick and mortar casinos once they re-open. For example, here’s what Playojo currently offer in terms of realism:
- Live poker
- 3D roulette
- Live blackjack
These games often feature a live dealer — or some other ‘real’ element — which adds to the overall atmosphere. So it’s not unthinkable to envision a scenario where audiences opt for convenience over returning to the real thing.
Expect gaming as a service to hit mainstream audiences
Gaming as a service (or cloud gaming) has been around for a while, but the idea is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence through new breakthroughs in the technology that makes the process tick.
The purpose is simple: allow anyone to play at any time by streaming titles over the internet. It shouldn’t matter if you’re struggling along with a low-performance PC or a steadfast believer in mobile gaming, you should be able to run major games at peak performance without worrying about the lofty prices.
The brightest example of cloud gaming in action is Google Stadia — a service that facilitates 4K, 60FPS game streaming across a number of devices.
Google Stadia had a rocky start to life, with a limited library and various missing features, but the service has come into its own over the past year. Though its crowning moment came with the release of Cyberpunk 2077.
Much to the anguish of fans, CD Projekt Red’s ambitious Cyberpunk 2077 launched with a number of performance issues on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but Stadia being a hardware-less system experienced no such problems, thus gamers could enjoy optimized graphics without worrying about what was underneath the hood.
Cloud gaming showed its potential in 2020, keep an eye out to see how it evolves in 2021.
The new console generation will slowly catch up with demand
Transitioning consumers from one console generation to another is a mammoth task at the best of times, but with the pandemic disrupting supply chains, orchestrating this effort is proving to be an impossible task (at least for the time being).
As gamers continue to wait with bated breath for a second mass release, the last console generation is continuing to be the main money generator for Sony and Microsoft, particularly with the latest third party games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Horizon Forbidden West releasing on both (past and present) generations.
Therefore, the AAA gaming market for 2021 will largely be driven by last years factors:
- Digital spending from the already embedded PS4 and Xbox One ownership base
- The continuing success of the Nintendo Switch
While the PS5 and Xbox Series X are likely to become more commonplace in people’s living rooms through 2021, see this as a slow, trickled process — and not the sudden tidal wave of hardware we’ve grown accustomed to in the past.
From online casinos focusing on realism to streaming games as the next generation hits shelves, the gaming industry is always looking to make the next big step — and after a bumper year for engagement in 2020, this year is where it makes its next leap.