The COVID-affected global gambling market isn’t showing any signs of weakness: having reached $162.32 billion in 2020, it is projected to climb to $295.63 billion by 2026 to demonstrate an unprecedented for such a huge industry CAGR of 10.5%.
As for the reasons behind the numbers, there are more of them than the overall digitalization of the world and the natural love for games among millennials, zoomers, and Gen Alpha. The main prerequisite for the rapid development of gaming is technological advancement itself.
In this regard, the notorious ‘if you build it, they will come’ concept works with gaming just fine: first, the developers identify the demands of the audience, then they see if they are capable of building the technologies to make that happen, and finally – if the stars align – the new big thing wins millions of hearts.
So what will propel gaming to new heights? Let’s identify the top-5 trends in 2021.
#1 Convergence of Gaming and Gambling
You might think that there’s an insurmountable gap between gaming and gambling, but it’s getting tighter and tighter as many games include gambling features and vice versa. Social casino games through social media, loot boxes in video games, and gambling-like games inside traditional video games, among many other examples, are gradually making gambling an integral part of gaming.
The two worlds haven’t yet converged in a single point, but gamers are no longer frowning upon gambling as they realize that with the right approach and a classy casino at hand – be it Wazamba casino or any other reputable brand – the gambling pastime might be just as entertaining, relaxing, and profitable.
#2 New Business Models
The traditional business model when the game developer sells the game to the user is no longer relevant as the new reality dictates the need for new flexible models. Gamers are not willing to pay until they know the game is worth it, but they are willing to socialize and reward the fellow gamers and streamers.
Even in 2018, as according to SuperData’s year-end report, free-to-play games generated an impressive $88 billion, and the figure must be at least a few dozen percent higher in 2021. Paired with mobile gambling, which now accounts for more than half of the global gaming market and will likely increase as 5G unrolls, free-to-play games are here to stay and win an even more significant market share.
#3 Cloud Gaming
Arguably the most powerful driver of the gaming industry, cloud gaming is offering access to cloud gaming libraries of instant games. While the server stores the data and performs all computations – including streaming – you can play the game on your device without any hassle and strings attached.
The niche is now developed by StreamMyGame, G-Cluster, Nvidia, Onlive, and several other companies, each of which is already offering cloud gaming services. The question is, though, will cloud gaming be a competitor to the traditional game market, or will they both enjoy the benefits of the new technology?
eSports and streaming are truly on the crest of a wave. In 2021, the global eSports market is valued at $1.08 billion and is projected to reach $1.62 billion by 2024 with the majority of revenues coming from advertising and sponsorship, as well as publisher fees, media rights, streaming, and merchandise in the three most advanced eSports markets – Asia, North American, and China.
With thousands of professional players in eSports, $36,986 as an average check for a major tournament, $30 million as the total prize money earned this year so far, eSports is becoming a full-fledged industry with the potential to build your career in it.
#5 Female Gamers
It’s no wonder that the majority of gamers are male. But, first of all, that doesn’t hold true for all games; secondly, the share of female gamers has increased from 38% in 2006 to 41% in 2020. It might seem not too significant of a change, but not for the gaming software providers, who create more and more female-oriented games, female protagonists, and attributes attractive to females. However, only 21% of the game developers are female, which is yet another gap to overcome in the coming years.
What’s in the Cards for the Future of Gaming, Though?
No one can predict the future, but if the experts’ opinion is of any importance, then maybe it’s worth listening to Dr. Jethro Shell and Dr. Edward Powley, the U.K.’s leading gaming professors, who predicted mixed reality and artificial intelligence as the two key components of the future gaming. On that note, many great technologies are already there…so maybe it’s time to launch your favorite game and spend a few exciting hours with it?