Over the last few years, the global digital media market has grown at incredible rates. Unsurprisingly, online gaming has played a defining role in this market’s growth. In 2020, gaming generated roughly $21.1 billion in revenues.
There are many reasons for the increasing popularity of the gaming industry, including improved storytelling and gameplay mechanics. New niches like eSports becoming mainstream have also aided in this. However, advances in virtual reality and live streaming have been the primary driving forces in this market.
In particular, live streaming technologies have helped the gaming market push even further into mainstream entertainment. Primarily, we’ve seen its benefits in the iGaming sector, otherwise known as online gambling. For example, most online casino platforms offer live games to create an authentic atmosphere. Modern iterations of casino classics like blackjack or roulette operate the same as a regular game on an online casino, but rather than use a random-number-generator, these games use a real-life dealer. The dealer is in a studio and communicates with the players via a live stream.
These games have become so popular that there are now dozens of variations, including game shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and sports-themed live casino games. For instance, casino operator William Hill has the Live Football Roulette game. Developed by Playtech, a leading gambling technology company, this live casino game features traditional roulette play, but the real dealer also provides commentary on live football events worldwide, including the English Premier League.
Virtual reality has been a big player in the growth of the online gaming industry too. A large part of this is because the industry has adopted VR technology in a contemporary way. We saw this approach first in 2010 with the Oculus Rift prototype. Since then, the market has progressed rapidly. In 2016, we saw Sony introduce PlayStation VR, its VR-ready games console and headset. In three years, Sony sold over four million headsets, while companies like Microsoft joined the trend, releasing in 2017 its own VR console and headset, Xbox One X.
Virtual reality attractions have even been used to promote big titles in the video game industry. For instance, in 2018, there was an event in California based on Ridley Scott’s Aliens movie franchise, which also has a rich history in gaming. In fact, the latest Aliens video game came out in August 2021. As for the event, Alien: Descent was an immersive four-player experience that tasked players with taking distress calls and saw each have their own VR weapon for self-defense.
The Future Of Online Gaming
Many gaming experts predict cloud gaming will become even more popular in the new year and beyond. Of course, that doesn’t mean the influence of virtual reality and live streaming will fade away. It is not a one or the other situation: the rise of cloud-based technologies will also propel the global VR gaming market even higher.
Cloud gaming is a type of online gaming.
It lets individuals play video games via remote servers. In other words, players don’t have to download games on a console or PC — it is all done through online streaming, and you can play on the go. The technology has benefited all gaming areas, but as mobile gaming continues to see rapid growth, it’s suspected the cloud gaming market for smartphones will also increase.
All the excitement around cloud gaming is justifiable, but it does make one wonder: if cloud technologies are driving online gaming, what’s driving the cloud market? The answer appears to be the commercialization of 5G technology. 5G technology is not only the latest buzzword — web3 is also taking over the Internet — but it is creating shorter latency times, which enables quicker response reactions.
Quick reactions are crucial in gaming because what happens if a player throws a sword at an enemy and nothing happens until a few minutes later? Maybe they’ll still escape, but it is a bit anti-climatic in terms of gameplay. 5G technology also reduces lag times, which means players won’t be left out of a multi-player adventure with their friends if the game won’t load properly or fast enough. As we’ve mentioned before, there are other ways to reduce lag times, but 5G is the best. As such, the technology is providing an opportunity for cloud gaming services to change the world of online gaming.
Years later, and online gaming still isn’t going anywhere. However, the industry will continue to evolve, and no two days will look the same, which has been the case since the introduction of technologies like virtual reality and live streaming. Moving forward, much of the market’s attention will go on cloud gaming and 5G, but these technological innovations deserve all the praise they can get. They are, after all, the future of online gaming.