In a very short span of time, the internet has vastly changed how we live our lives. It’s changed how we communicate, how we work, shop and spend our leisure time. Whether someone plays adventure games interactively on their console or enjoys playing bingo or other online casino games on their smartphone or are trying the latest virtual reality game, studies show that online gaming is here to stay.
Not only that, it’s growing. The numbers don’t lie. According to Deloitte, there has been at least a steady 12% rate of growth each year in the online gaming industry. It is projected that the figure is projected to reach $6.22 billion by 2018.
Part of the driving force behind this growth can be attributed to advances in technology. The screen resolution of computers, tablets, smartphones and television is becoming more and more realistic as are the graphics within the games themselves.
Some may fear that this will continue to lead to more isolation among people while others have found that families are spending more time together through gaming. Virtual games are being installed in restaurants and even doctor’s offices to keep visitors engaged.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are starting to hit homes. These experiences, while new, can give the illusion of holographic reality. These technologies aren’t just being used for games, either. Both VR and AR are already in use in the industries of medicine, real estate, and brokerages as well as being used by archaeologists and other scholars. Ancient structures and places have been virtually reconstructed.
VR and AR have been holy grails for the gaming industry for decades. They provide an immersive experience that previous gaming generations cannot match. Now they are here. As the technology matures and prices come down, it may cause a change in lifestyles similar to the ones caused by the internet and by smartphones.
Gamers don’t have to book a flight to go to Las Vegas in order to play real-time casino games. Online gamers can have the excitement and experience of playing poker, blackjack, roulette or bingo with other players across the globe. The mobile gaming and gambling industry has noticed that the market seems to have shifted away from a U.S. market toward Asia, specifically with the growth in personal affluence in China. However, if regulations about online gaming get looser in the West, we may see a shift back.
Gaming industry experts predict that the next logical step may very well be creating virtual online casinos where players can play in the utmost comfort and excitement without ever having to leave their homes. There are already a number of stars in the game of poker and virtual bingo halls are under development.
Gaming as Spectator Sport
There are plenty of people who either lack the hand-eye coordination or the desire to be gamers themselves. Enter the growing number of those who like to watch gaming as they might watch any other kind of sport on television. The very best online gamers have themselves become superstars in their own right. Some of these individuals are able to support themselves not only through high-stakes gaming competitions around the world but also through monetization of their YouTube channels.
The gap between real sports and virtual is closing. Gaming as a spectator sport has gained thousands of viewers and subscribers in the last five years and the numbers keep growing. There are all types of fantasy football, basketball and a host of other sports that have millions of fans throughout the world.
These are just some of the things that are on the cutting edge of gaming technology. What will happen in the future? We’ll see what game developers come up with and what the public demands.