Give Gaming a Try in 2021

For most people 2020 was a difficult year. Lockdowns and quarantines kept people at home for extended periods of time. Even with the easing of restrictions there were those reluctant to go out. Many turned to video games as a way to pass the time and socialize with others. Even people who hadn’t played video games much before gave it a try, selecting games based on reviews or recommendations from friends. The past year has definitely contributed to some of the video game trends of 2021, while different factors have influenced others. Here are 10 gaming trends to look out for in 2021:

Top 10 Gaming Trends for 2021

  1. Mobile Gaming Continues to increase: Globally, mobile gaming revenue exceeded $160 billion in 2020. Currently it is estimated that 2.2 billion people use their smart phones to play games and that number continues to rise. Mobile esports have started to garner a lot of attention with games like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire having a higher peak of esports viewers than PC games like Dota 2 and CS: GO. PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire are now among the top 5 esports titles. An interesting side-note is that mobile gaming is split evenly between women and men.
  2. Esports growth: Esports are basically multiplayer video games where players/teams compete against each other, often for an audience. Interest in esports has been increasing for years now. More people are watching and more people are playing. In 2020, due to the pandemic putting a halt to most professional sports, fans turned to esports to get their sports fix. Developers will have to consider audiences as well as players when creating games.
  3. More Game Remakes: There has been a recent surge in re-mastering older video game titles so that they can be played on newer devices. Final Fantasy VII: Remake is one example, with the new release of the old title having completely re-mastered visuals and gameplay. One of the top ten best selling games of 2020 was a remake of Crash Bandicoot. Remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 both did well and other classic video game titles are scheduled to be released in 2021
  4. Cloud Gaming: Cloud gaming enables users to directly stream games to their devices.  This eliminates the need to download and install games. It also means players with lower performance computers can play the latest games that wouldn’t normally run on their machines. Games actually run on powerful servers located online. There is no longer a need to worry about your computers specs and no need to invest in expensive hardware if you want to play the newest games. An estimated 16% of gamers currently use a cloud gaming service every month.
  5. AR and VR: Augmented Reality or AR is when virtual objects are projected onto the real-world environment using devices like smart-phones, tablets, heads-up displays, or AR glasses. Pokemon Go is an example of a game that successfully used AR on smart-phones. In 2016 gross revenue from AR games was $1 billion while in 2021 gross revenue is expected to top $20 billion. VR or Virtual Reality uses VR headsets to completely immerse users in a digital environment. Virtual reality games are becoming more popular in large part due to PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and Oculus headsets. Older games like Myst and Panzer Dragoon are getting virtual reality remakes and Hitman 3 will come out with a VR mode. VR had gross revenues of $1.8 billion in 2016 while gross revenue is expected to hit $19 billion in 2021.
  6. Face/Voice Recognition: Face recognition is usually associated with surveillance and security applications but has already seen some use in the video game world. For example in the NBA-2K15 video game, players could scan their own faces and join NBA stars on the basketball court. Voice recognition has also been used in video games to interact with the UI, simplifying tasks such as selecting items from a list. Neither facial recognition or voice recognition has reached their full potential but game developers are intrigued by the possibilities and we can expect to see more of it in the future.
  7. Game Boosting: Some gamers become frustrated with their lack of progress in a game. There may be some special weapon or artifact they want to qualify for but they haven’t reached a high enough level and lack the time to do so. They turn to places like Destiny 2 boosting service to get assistance from skilled experienced players to increase their game level and obtain weapons, armor and other in-game rewards.
  8. Involvement of Gamers in Development: For years developers made games, tested them and released them. Some were big successes while others bombed. More recently developers have started allowing early access to their games before they actually release them. One study showed that 15% of the games on Steam are Early Access. Gamers like getting to play the newest games before release and developers get valuable feedback that can help them improve their games. This practice is expected to continue with more developers allowing early access to games they are working on.
  9. Video games for socializing: Online video gaming has always been a way to meet people from around the world while enjoying your favorite game. However in 2020 the socializing aspect became the point of the game for many people. With lockdowns and quarantines it was a great way to meet and socialize with people and this trend is expected to continue through 2021.

These are the trends expected to influence video games and online gaming through 2021 and beyond.