Gaming has always been a popular choice for entertainment for the young and old alike, although admittedly, the youth connects more to the world of games than any other demographic. While video games have been around for a considerably long time, online gaming has become more popular in recent years due to the intense variety and convenience it offers. Perhaps one of the more popular reasons online games have caught on is that they help increase social relations. As per cloudwards.net, close to 78% of U.S. gamers agree that online gaming plays a key role in forging new friendships.
The social aspect isn't the only factor, though, that has ushered online gaming to greater heights. As per reliable statistics, 90% of U.S. gamers claim that they get joy from playing online games, while 87% claim that online gaming provides them with mental stimulation. With the progression of technology, virtual games have become even more challenging and interesting, making the online gaming industry one of the most lucrative business spheres out there.
High definition displays are one of the leading technologies that have increased the popularity of online gaming. Ordinarily, the full high definition means a resolution of 1920 x 1080p, and this one shows a reliable and natural image and has been used in online games for a considerable while. However, ultra 4K is what's in nowadays – this extraordinary display with 4K capabilities boasts of compression technology and bandwidth that will take it beyond Full HD.
Although it is a little expensive, it will soon become the go-to standard in online gaming. It has incredible crispness and colour choices, making it one of the best technologies to influence games online.
VR gaming is the latest in thing today – the jargon describes next-gen online gaming embedded with virtual reality technology that delivers a highly spectacular, truly immersive experience. Basically like a first-person perspective of the game in question. Some VR games can be as thrilling as placing players in physical combat environments, while many others involve lighter pursuits, such as acrobatic flying and auto racing.
Players can essentially influence as well as experience the game environment via VR gaming devices such as VR hand controllers, VT headsets, VR sensor-attached gloves, and so forth. One can play VR games on game consoles, advanced laptops, or even standalone systems.
Another popular technology driving the online gaming sphere, augmented reality, is also used to deliver an immersive experience. However, unlike virtual reality gaming, which needs a confined area for the same, AR gaming uses an actual environment and creates a playing field within it. Also, AR gaming does not require specialized headsets or other equipment; it can be played on portable gaming systems, smartphones, tablets, etc.
One of the most popular and well-known AR apps for gaming is Pokémon GO. This one uses your smartphone's camera, GPS, clock, and gyroscope to enable a location-based AR environment. The current environment displays itself on the screen in the form of a map, while a rustle of grass indicates that a Pokémon is nearby. Tapping the screen leads players to the capture display – basically, AR helps display Pokémon in the player's real-world environment.
The development and adoption of technologies such as AR and VR are poised to push the world of gaming toward a gesture-controlled future. Gesture controls are basically used to control and connect with a computer sans direct physical contact. They can be implemented in the gaming systems via 3D cameras, gaming gloves, etc. In cool gesture-based interfaces for online games, basically, gestures are used in place of commands for the games as opposed to using the mouse or keyboard to initiate action. In such interfaces, continuous gestures and unintentional movements are supported to provide the player with a more natural interface.
The Kinect is a popular gesture control-based game controller that uses a motion sensor and depth camera.
Facial recognition has already gained traction across a number of sectors; the online gaming industry is one among a series of business spheres that has started deploying this technology. One of the principal reasons facial recognition software is gaining momentum in online gaming is that it helps companies understand how players respond and react to the game – which is an important part of their tactic to understand customer behavior, since they rarely interact with them otherwise.
Using facial recognition to learn to react to players and enable them to affect the next move in the game will considerably up the ante of online gaming experiences.
Similar to facial recognition, voice recognition is also garnering substantial popularity in the online gaming business. It allows players to have conversations with non-playing characters – indeed, voice recognition technology has been featured in popular eSports games such as Call of Duty. Usually, the software is used by the players as a viable means of communicating with one another. It also enables players to immerse themselves into gameplay through an extra layer of integration.
Although many companies have integrated speech recognition in online games, they come with a lot of challenges. Several hundred hours of speech data are needed to build the required voice-recognition engines for these games to run smoothly. In addition, companies are required to consider many languages, accents, and dialects to ensure a fine gaming experience.
Undoubtedly, using amazing graphics is essential to ensure an eye-catching gaming experience. The days of deploying basic 8-bit graphics in gaming are long gone; today, cutting edge advancements enable players to experience games in worlds that boast of photo realistic textures. Using advanced graphics helps increase the playability with higher image quality, making it seem as if one was right inside the confines of the game rather than the actual environment.
Graphics are essentially a vital yardstick of a game's worth given the power that visuals possess to influence player emotions, perception, thoughts, and immersion in the game. Although experts consider it less significant than gameplay, it is still a major contributor to a game's worth; in fact, reliable surveys claim that a major number of gamers subconsciously write off games with low-quality graphics even before they have a chance to play them.
Wearables have already made their mark in the healthcare industry. Presently, as they pave their way into online gaming, they are found to be making gaming portable without being too invasive. While wearable companies have been using the technology for fitness applications, they are now on the verge of integrating entertainment in the sphere as well.
Wearable gaming technology essentially enables players to immerse themselves deeply in their favorite games and allows them to create movement in the game's map. It creates halo deck like experiences using virtual reality and augmented reality and generates a fully immersive experience for the user.
The advent of COVID-19 and its variants had a profound impact on major industry verticals the world over. While most industries such as manufacturing and energy suffered a temporary loss of sorts, some sectors soared high on the success quotient, such as healthcare. Not surprisingly, the forecast of the online gaming market was observed to have remained strong during and after the pandemic. Given the nationwide lockdowns and increasing social distancing measures put in place by regional governments, one of the many ways the masses were able to entertain themselves was through online gaming. This is especially true for the younger generation – the Gen Z and millennial populace spent considerable time on gaming as it was a rather convenient way to spend time during lockdowns.
Statista states that global digital gaming spending on paid downloads and in-game content increased by 21 percent and 12 percent in 2020. As of June 2020, time spent on video games during the COVID-19 pandemic increased in Latin America by 52 percent, while Asia-Pacific was ranked second concerning increased user engagement – the continent registered a 42 percent increase in gaming time. Almost all gaming companies earn substantial revenue via digital gaming. Consider Nintendo, for example – it had a considerably well-performing gaming hardware segment, yet, it reported an admirable 42.8 percent digital revenue share in 2020.
While online gaming popularity increased during the pandemic, its sales are expected to remain stable in 2022 and beyond, even after the world has opened up, given the increasing need to socialize online.
With much of the global population immersing themselves in online gaming through 2020 and 2021, the industry is likely to depict a very strong forecast. In 2020, mobile games held USD 77.2 billion in revenues, increasing 12% in players, reaching 2.5 billion. This number certainly is poised to depict only an upsurge in the years ahead. Moreover, the sector is a remnant of a plethora of technological developments such as widespread cloud adoption, 5G, and more.
Numerous companies apart from core firms are now attempting to penetrate the online gaming arena. Amazon, for example, introduced a cloud gaming service called Luna, in October 2020. Luna provides all-you-can-eat game access and uses an optional local gamepad controller with a separate Wi-Fi connection.
By the next decade or so, online gaming is likely to emerge as one of the most remunerative hotspots for companies. The deployment of advanced technologies and efforts by companies to introduce a lively next-gen gaming experience will further increase the popularity of online games.