The gaming industry has changed drastically in the last 12 months and experts are predicting that even more changes are on the horizon. As with every other industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the industry, its performance, competitive landscape and future outlook.
That being said,the gaming industry is predicted to exceed $180 billion by 2021 as the industry grows and develops. The industry is innovating everything from monetization strategies to gaming platforms and players are responding by playing video games in record numbers. Below are some of the top predictions for the gaming industry for 2021.
Changes to online gaming and gambling
If nothing else, 2020 has taught us that you never know what the future may hold, however, 2021 will likely see the continued explosion in growth of online gambling platforms and apps. The restrictions related to COVID-19 have meant that most casinos have completely shuttered their windows and closed their doors to all business. Many avid gamblers have transitioned to online gambling and apps to make up for the lack of access to casinos.
The extra time everyone has spent at home has also led many people to try gambling and online gaming for the first time. It is likely that many of these players, after becoming comfortable with online gambling and apps, will continue to gamble online in 2021. The industry is attracting new players and maintaining the interest of veteran players by continually innovating and offering new game types, platform options andpayment options like crypto.
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Gaming monetization innovation
You have likely noticed that the way we consume media has drastically changed and shifted towards a subscription model. Rather than buying DVDs to watch movies or paying for cable, more and more consumers are instead opting to pay for subscription services such as Netflix.
The same innovative approach to monetization has been adopted by many of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Instead of players having to buy consoles and then also buy individual games, many companies are launching PC and online games.
Many of these games, such as Fortnite, are free to play and have massive followings of dedicated players. The companies have monetized the games by creating options for in-game purchases or giving players the opportunity to pay for higher levels of the games.
The pandemic has led to a global recession and many people – particularly young people who worked in the service industry or tourism sector – have lost their jobs. Games that are free to play ensure that everyone can play these games, and help them to develop a following of fans.
Esports scores big
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all areas of life, including amateur and professional sports. Sports fans were understandably upset and left looking for an alternate form of entertainment to fill weeknights and weekend afternoons.
Esports has been a growing industry over the course of the last decade, and even if the COVID-19 pandemic had not occurred, it would have steadily continued to grow in popularity. However, the halting of professional sports due to COVID-19 has caused the interest in esports to positively skyrocket.
Avid sports fans turned to esports to fill the sports-shaped hole in their hearts and as the pandemic continues, so has their interest in esports. Market research has also shown that many of these fans are likely to continue watching esports events and following esports teams. Even if the viewer counts do decline sharply after the pandemic, many more people who otherwise never would have heard of it have already been exposed to esports.
The rise of streaming
Streaming and streaming platforms are predicted to grow in popularity in 2021. Platforms such as Twitch allow streamers to make a living from playing video games, chatting with fans and engaging with other players. Popular streamers on streaming platforms have accrued large, dedicated followings and have led to the creation of spinoff communities on forums and messaging boards.
Streaming is particularly attractive now as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people feeling more isolated and alienated than ever before. Streaming provides a level of socializing for players and fans alike.
Market research also shows that mobile streaming, which is currently underdeveloped, is likely to continue to grow in 2021. Facebook has also recognized the potential in streaming and has launched Facebook Gaming, a streaming platform within Facebook.