Online gaming has been growing in popularity and taking over more and more of the gaming industry over the last decade. Now, the reports make it obvious just how big online gaming has become – recent figures show that the income generated by the online gaming market has surpassed $200 billion globally.
What makes this number even more staggering is that much of that revenue is fueled by microtransactions – the small payments that players make in-game to progress or to gain access to special items or limited-edition wares. These transactions have changed the entire gaming industry and how developers think about monetizing their games.
In this article, we will look at some of the most successful elements of the online gaming world and what’s next for this titan industry.
Expansion of online casinos
The online casino industry is one of the most lucrative sectors of both the online gaming and the gambling industries. After rampant growth in the first years of the decade, progress has slowed but online casinos remain both popular and lucrative.
Online casinos are not just basic gambling sites, they are places where small online game developers are testing their skills and innovating. When players play bingo at SkyCity, they’re not just enjoying a classic community gambling game – they are also engaging with top-tier graphics and streamlined gameplay.
While slot machines and classic table games will always be at the core of the online casino industry, the current trend is towards increasing the number of live casino games offered. Live casino games are games that feature a real dealer that players interact with, thanks to an impressive blend of streaming technologies.
Today, most live casino games are table games. Poker, blackjack and roulette are the most popular and have the most varieties offered. The next steps are to move into other types of games. There are already some creative variations inspired by popular game shows and classic board games. In the next few years, we are likely to see a massive expansion in creative new live casino games.
A move towards creating more sustainable businesses is being embraced by all forward-thinking individuals and businesses, and this includes the gaming industry. Online gaming brands that embrace sustainability initiatives will see a major return on their initial investments.
Cloud gaming has helped to spur and maintain the online gaming boom. Cloud gaming, much like cryptocurrency mining, consumes massive amounts of energy. The server rooms required to support cloud gaming consume energy and give off a considerable amount of heat, which then requires more energy to cool things down.
What gaming companies are moving to do in the coming years is to implement strategies to make themselves more sustainable. Finding ways to use this excessive heat include heating offices or providing power to the local community. These green solutions are not just good for the planet and a company’s image, they also free up financial resources that can then be reinvested into creating more and better online games for players.
How we pay for games has been changing in recent years. From the one-time purchase days, we’ve moved into a period of free games with in-app purchases – the microtransactions we discussed above. We are also entering a period where subscription services for gaming are going to become the norm.
Subscriptions for entertainment are something that we’ve accepted, even if we often complain about having to subscribe to tons of different services just to watch all of the shows and movies we want to see. The trend in online gaming is to move to subscription plans as well.
The major console companies have already launched their own subscription services. Nintendo has Nintendo Switch Online, Sony has PlayStation Plus (PS+) and Microsoft has launched Xbox Live. The sheer variety of content that these services offer has led to them being called “all-you-can-play” subscriptions.
As disappointing as it might be for players who are tired of having to subscribe to so many different services, there is no evidence that this trend is anywhere close to slowing down. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the next decade.
Online gaming is an exciting area in which technology is developing at an impressive rate. It is also revolutionizing how people pay for the games they play. Given both of these factors, we are likely to see a further increase in the scale of online gaming over the next few years.