Top Video Gaming Trends Set to Dominate in 2019
The past year has offered gamers all over the world some great developments in the video gaming market. With the release of much-anticipated titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 andAssassin’s Creed: Odyssey and eSports tournaments keeping us on the edge of our seat all year round, 2018 has truly left us with some great memories. The new year seems set on surpassing our expectations – so let’s take a look at what 2019 is set to bring to the gaming community and what trends are projected to dominate the market.
What once seemed like an unlikely development in the face of console popularity and PC loyalty, is hardly a secret any more: mobile gaming is set to dominate the industry. Fueled by our desire for convenience and our need to have quality entertainment on the go, the mobile gaming market has truly flourished in the past couple of years. Aided by the ubiquitous presence and high penetration of smartphones, mobile games have captivated casual gamers worldwide – and developers finally started to notice. While games like Candy Crush and other match-3 puzzles are still going strong, developer studios have turned towards designing titles that offer more sophisticated gameplay and visually compelling graphics.
The immense success of games such as Fortnite or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has proven that mobile gaming is no longer an underserved market; instead, it is capable of retaining gamers with highly entertaining content. That is also true in more niche markets, like mobile casinos. As Oddschecker reports, online casinos like Leo Vegas offer bonuses that are exclusive to their mobile customers, in order to tap into the potential of the mobile market. In fact, in 2018, mobile gaming for the first time surpassed console and PC gaming to take the lion’s share in the industry – and it looks like 2019 will be the year when that dominance is consolidated. With new exciting titles lined up, like Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s new mobile game featuring the world’s most popular plumber, and older games still getting traction, it seems that mobile gaming will rise even further in 2019.
Augmented reality and virtual reality have been on developers’ agendas for years – but it looks like 2019 might be the year where the gaming industry finally moves into widespread adoption of AR and VR tech. It all builds up from the steps forward taken in the past couple of years, after the unexpected frenzy created by Pokémon Go truly put AR games on the map. The trend continued well into 2018, with research showing that over 50% of developers took AR and VR applications into consideration when designing new titles, while 64% of gamers are familiar with devices that apply AR and VR tech, and the VR industry alone is projected to surpass $800 million by 2022.
If our collective gaming experience in 2018 taught us anything, it is that immersion is the name of the game and everyone – from players to developers – is focused on achieving that. AR and VR tech can be harnessed to transfer players right at the core of a game and allow them to engage with the storyline and action on another level. This makes for enriched and more entertaining gameplay and increases a game’s replay value – which is why the trend is set to skyrocket this year. Relevant gaming gear continues to strive for better performance at lower prices, which makes it affordable for more and more gamers, and specialized eSports tournaments are established for some of the genre’s top titles. This has helped familiarize gamers with this niche market and will increase its popularity even further in 2019 – and we might even see some classic video games relaunched with a VR or AR twist.
eSports and Live Streaming
Home video gaming has slowly evolved in the past couple of decades from a mainly solo pastime to more of a social event – and even a spectator sport. eSports, organized multiplayer competitions where professional gamers battle it out for a prize, have only grown bigger in recent years to attract impressive crowds all over the globe. They have also evolved into a multimillion-dollar industry: as of May 2018, the total prize money awarded to players taking place in Dota 2 eSports competitions amounted to a staggering $141 million, while Epic Games has announced that Fortnite will receive a $100 million prize pool for the 2018/2019 season. Counter Strike: Global Offensive enthusiasts vied for $53 million, League of LegendseSports gamers split a total of $52 million, while StarCraft II saw a prize pool of $27 million.
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Following the incredible popularity of eSports in 2018, these numbers can only go up in 2019. It is not just tournaments that are turning the industry into a spectator sport: following the launch of online video streaming services that focus on gaming content, like Twitch, the community has undergone a major change. More and more people now tune in to their favorite gamers to watch a round instead of simply playing on their own – that way they can also learn how to play the game better. Video gaming has not lost its entertainment value when it comes to playing – but it seems that it has found a complementary function in watching other people play. Coupled with the impact of eSports, we can expect 2019 to be a year where video gaming is irrevocably blended with streaming tech and viewership count.
Emphasis on Security
Video gaming trends are not only shaped but what happens within the industry, but also by what happens beyond it. 2018 has been a year of terrible cybersecurity breaches, and as gaming has mostly moved to an interconnected digital world, it could not possibly remain untouched by these developments. It has only been a few months since Epic Games announced that Fortnite players might have become victims of a hacking incident, yet according to research only 5% across gamers would rank their gaming account within their top 3 online accounts that require the strongest protection.
In the past, industry giants like PlayStation and Xbox have also faced their share of hacker attacks. Yet, after a series of nasty ransomware incidents in 2018, internet users and online gamers alike have entered the new year with much more information about the devastating effects of getting hacked. Coupled with the fact that blockchain tech has broken out of the cryptocurrency niche market and is being applied in a wider manner, including to boost security, 2019 might just be the year where we see blockchain in the service of gamer security.
Gaming has gradually grown to incorporate a much broader target audience, with more and more casual gamers added every day. With crowd-pleasers like mobile gaming and extended reality set to dominate in 2019, along with focusing on a more secure gaming experience and well-rounded eSports tournaments, it is likely that the global gamers’ numbers will grow even more.