Different demographics look at video games in completely different ways. Seniors see gaming as a childish, flippant pastime, and blame it (for lack of a better scapegoat) for a series of problems with today’s society. This in spite of the scientific proof that they not only don’t cause violence but video games do have practical uses and benefits, too. Other demographics, in turn, see video games as a legitimate form of entertainment, one that is not only a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work or school but also a fast-growing industry with many career opportunities and a lot of money to be made. Their opinions are supported by the periodical reports published by industry specialists that show the constant growth of the gaming industry’s revenues.
Now Newzoo, one of the leading providers of gaming and esports intelligence, has published a handful of gaming trends that shed a bit of light on the coming year in the industry. And as you might expect, the future looks bright.
Both major console makers plan to release their own next-generation hardware in 2020 but this won’t have much of an influence on the overall growth of the market, considering that both the new Xbox and the PlayStation 5 will be released close to the end of the year. This will, of course, drive growth in 2021 – but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Even without these two, the gaming industry is expected to show an almost 10% growth in 2020, reaching a total value of $160 billion globally.
As usual, mobile gaming will be the fastest-growing segment (as it has been for the last few years), with the biggest growth in revenues (procentually, that is) coming from emerging markets in Southeast Asia and the MEA area (the Middle East, and North Africa) while the revenues of the more “mature” markets will also grow, they will stay well within the single-digit area.
Subscription services to grow, cloud gaming – not so much
Newzoo expects more services like Xbox Games Pass, Apple Arcade, PlayStation Now, and Uplay+ enter the market next year and beyond, offering their subscribers libraries of content for a fixed monthly fee. Although many would’ve thought otherwise, 2020 will not be the age of cloud gaming. Even though it seems like the “perfect storm” in gaming, transforming the need for expensive hardware and software into a flat monthly fee, it will stumble upon issues like the often precarious infrastructure, doubts in the seamless gaming experience, and the lack of exclusive titles that would draw gamers toward it.
This doesn’t mean that there won’t be competing in this area. Google’s Stadia has already launched, and Microsoft’s own contender, codenamed Project xCloud, is also expected to launch next year.
VR gaming might finally go mainstream
VR gaming as we know it has been around for quite some time now but to this day, it lacked the title that would’ve truly pushed it into the mainstream. This will change next year, in turn, with the release of “Half-Life: Alyx”, Valve’s first Triple-A VR title. If Valve used “Half-Life 2” to attract gamers to Steam, its strategy seems similar in the case “Half-Life: Alyx” and Valve Index, its own VR headset. It is definitely not a cheap option to choose – the complete Valve Index VR kit that includes the headset, the controllers, two base stations, and “Half-Life: Alyx” currently costs around $1200, and it also requires a decent gaming PC. But the fact that Valve is willing to use its most valuable property – the Half-Life series – to show its commitment to VR is promising, to say the least.
Even without the two major consoles, we have an interesting year ahead of us, don’t you think?