The games industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving market sector that now encompasses a diverse range of genres, platforms and services. While mainline console titles grow ever more expensive to produce and purchase, outside these blockbuster franchises disruptive organizations within the industry are delivering value to gamers of all stripes. From comparison platform oddschecker apprizing its patrons of the latest bonuses and promotions for top online casinos, to the ever-increasingly popularity of Free2Play games delivering top-tier gaming without any upfront costs, many consider this moment to be a minor golden age in the history of gaming.
But this may look set to change, as a slew of new technologies, some of which are already making their presence felt, look set to ensure that the industry of the future will top even today’s heights of immersion, variety, accessibility and excitement. Below we’re taking a look at each of these technologies in turn, and will be seeking to answer both how, and why, they stand to make such an impact across this sector.
Cloud gaming has been around for a number of years already, with Nvidia’s GeForce Now initially pioneering the concept back in 2013. But it wasn’t until the release of Google Stadia in 2019 that the real potential of this technology began to become apparent to the wider industry. Cloud gaming enables users to play titles without the need to own the expensive proprietary hardware ordinarily necessary to do so.
This is because game content is streamed over the internet from server-side gaming rigs, which frees people up to play cutting edge games on nothing more than a smartphone or Wi-Fi enabled TV. This is a truly disruptive departure from the current shape of the industry wherein people are expected to spend in excess of $500 for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, or even $1000+ for a high performance PC, to access the latest games. Issues with latency and lag are still a problem with this tech at present, hence why its roll-out is taking place at a slower pace than some would like.
Furthermore, until internet infrastructure improves in remote regions, it’s unlikely that cloud gaming will replace the existing model, but in time this is thought to be an inevitability. Amazon Luna, Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Now are all cloud gaming platforms under development at present, and their eventual adoption will fundamentally alter the way the industry operates.
Whether gamers like it or not, NFTs are extremely likely to eventually become commonplace in the games industry. The decentralized blockchain technology is a perfect fit for the existing microtransaction model that is in the ascendancy across the sector at present.
Many are cautious of how NFTs may bolster some poor business practices witnessed in the way some games and publishers handle these microtransactions, with the much derided “play-to-win” model – wherein gamers can pay to gain an advantage over their opponents, deemed to be an obvious fit for minting tokens. While this is true, there are still certain ways that NFTs could positively impact the gameplay experience, by fairly awarding gamers with rare or unique items or accolades based upon the merit of their effort or skill.
Effectively a 21st century re-brand of the 80/90s notion of “cyberspace”, you could be forgiven for thinking the metaverse is a concept owned and devised by Facebook’s recently rebranded parent company, Meta. While it’s true, to date Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of a VR-enabled “Facebook of the future” is the best known example of a metaverse, at least among the public, virtually all the major players in big tech, including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, are busy building-out their own rival visions of this new format.
At present, most of the existing pseudo-Metaverses are actually games, such as Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox. Increasingly, these titles are seeking to expand beyond providing mere gameplay. Evidence of this process is abundant, such as in Fortnite increasingly putting on virtual music concerts with stars like Lil Nas X, or design house Gucci opening a virtual store-front inside Roblox. As time goes on these lines will continue to blur, and before long defining precisely where a game ends and a metaverse begins will become challenging to pinpoint with any accuracy.