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The global gaming market exceeded $150 billion for the first time in 2019 and the sector shows no signs of slowing down. The release of new titles backed by clever innovation means that the gaming industry has scope to develop further and experts are already predicting a significant increase in those figures.
There’s no doubt that the digital age and its subsequent inventions are behind the more recent surges but how, exactly, have they changed the industry and what can we expect in the future?
We can trace original board games back to around 3500 BC. Gaming slowly developed over time before gaining steady growth in the 20th century. From the start of the 1900s, some of our most popular board games began to emerge but in the second half of the century, attention started to turn to digital innovation.
In 1970, the first video game, known simply as Space, was introduced and the remainder of the decade saw computer gaming develop. The introduction of consoles began to revolutionise gamers’ lives through the 1980s and beyond but by far the most significant changes began with the birth of the internet.
As we take a leap into the present day, the word ‘flexibility’ is key to where the gaming industry stands right now. Of that global figure of $150 billion in revenue, it is stated that $68.5 billion comes from mobile gaming alone. In the future, the numbers from mobile play may well exceed all others and it’s easy to see why.
The hunger for gaming can only be sated if our favourite titles are available on a 24/7 basis. Static play, with its bigger screens and direct competitive action between two players will always have its place but mobile play is simply more flexible.
Mobile gaming allows users to access their favourite games at their own convenience.
There have been other, significant innovations too. In certain areas of the gaming industry, a sense of community has been built up by the use of chat rooms. The addition of multiplayer options and wider payment facilities for in-play purchases have also been important. Developments continue to help gaming evolve and some sectors are benefiting in obvious ways.
On the Cards
One area of gaming that has seen significant growth in the 21st century is bingo. It’s easy to forget that the gaming sector covers a wide range of titles and it’s not just about shoot em up battles or traditional sporting themes. Bingo has been enjoyed in the physical world for decades where it was known for a great night out. The social side was just as important as winning a prize and that’s a factor that online bingo games had to work hard to replicate.
That level of social interaction means that chat rooms are an integral part of online bingo. Players can still log in and talk to their regular friends and they can also make new connections at the same time. By introducing this sense of community, online bingo can aid the elderly and isolated and it can also provide a positive effect on mental health.
It’s all part of a great package and it underlines just why online play is attracting so much interest and revenue.
Old to New
Bingo is another perfect example when we consider how the physical world has given way to the digital realms. A night out at the bingo hall was a big event and, to an extent, it remains that way. However, due in part to the success of online play, several bricks and mortar establishments have been forced to close their doors.
Physical bingo halls can still provide a social experience but in other ways, they simply cannot compete. Online operators provide a bigger choice of games and, in many cases, greater prize money. In turn, greater revenue goes towards the overall gaming sector.
On the Boards
Classic board games also offer examples where physical play has failed to compete with innovation. Titles such as Monopoly and Scrabble are still being made but online versions exist, and they are proving to be exceptionally popular.
Once again, the element of convenience is an obvious reason as to why digital variants of board games are winning the race. Monopoly is a perfect example of a game where there are many component parts: It’s perfect for a family night in but it’s not a game that travels well. By taking the concept online, Monopoly can now be enjoyed on mobile phones and tablets, thereby increasing its reach. The original version will always have its followers but, by placing the game online, it develops in the digital age and sales continue to boost gaming industry revenue.
Traditional boardgames like Monopoly are also making the transition online.
If we look towards the projected future of the gaming industry, the emphasis appears to be on those two key elements of reach and flexibility. Virtual reality is a big consideration, and, to an extent, it is already here. The concept hasn’t, perhaps, caught on as successfully as many thoughts but it still has a projected role to play moving forward.
Affordability needs to be looked at while flexibility may also be hampered by some of the more cumbersome VR headsets. Work continues to improve the concept, but we can look forward to continued developments in the Virtual Reality sector.
Regarding reach, one interesting development has seen gaming consoles introduced to fast food restaurants. With a captive audience on hand to enjoy the fun, this seems like a logical and potentially productive step.
The future will continue to unravel but it’s clear that digital innovation has been key to the recent success of the gaming industry and it will continue to drive the sector forward in the years that follow.