How Online Gaming Is Changing
The past decade has seen major change to the gaming industry as a whole, once a smaller niche where different platforms had very distinct audience, the lines have become much more blurred as users find passion across all platforms at the same time. Older audiences have leant quickly into the mobile market, able to explore traditional gaming media like UK online casinos like the ones found at The Casino Guide, through to smaller platformers, and the huge number of “match 3 puzzle” games like Candy Crush too.
Younger audiences have continued on with a huge amount of popularity for consoles, the three modern consoles of the Xbox Series X, the Playstation 5, and the Nintendo Switch have quickly reached record sales and boasting larger numbers of users than ever before as developers push the limits of what’s possible with high fidelity renders that are become photorealistic, games that have become more in-depth, and more interconnectivity too.
The success of the PC gaming market can’t be understated either, in just two decades the e-sports market has evolved from something on a few in the know were involved in, to a global phenomenon where viewer numbers rival the largest traditional sporting events, a huge and growing player base, and often associated with launching the success on online streaming platforms like Twitch and modern video game streaming as a whole.
But what does all of this mean for online gaming, and how is online gaming changing now as it both continues to grow and diversify amongst its audience? The first is simply just the amount of variety available, whether you’re a fifteen-year-old teenage boy still in school, or a forty-year-old woman with children and a full-time career, chances are there’s an online game out there that’s available for you with a huge audience that matches your same demographic, playtime requirements, and ability to play too.
Online communities are certainly changing online gaming too, although it may seem like a less important factor, the ability to jump onto a Discord server, or a Twitch stream with like minded fans, share strategies or find new friends to co-operate with, it has taken huge steps to bringing new players of all demographics together. These communities have also become responsible for other factors of interconnectivity too, Twitch extensions that allow players to interact directly with a streamer and Discord additions that connect directly to the latest games add another layer of excitement.
The next barrier to tackle for many developers has been the gender imbalance that has typically existing in gaming, with men much more likely to play than women, but this change is already underway – mobile gamers are largely women now making up a huge part of the audience and in online gaming and esports particularly, titles like Valorant have seen a huge shift in this balance with developer Riot Games suggesting that as much as 40% of the player base are female players, perhaps the first time a major competitive game has seen this change in balance.
New features will certainly continue to emerge, online games look to be moving towards a collectible market with CS:GO popularizing loot boxes and player owned skins with a huge market, DLCs and expansions continue to be the way of expanding these gaming markets further, and the continued goal to bring communities of different platforms together to share in a gaming experience will also be an important factor in the evolution of online gaming too.
Over the next couple of years, we’ll see games approaching their 20-year anniversary and will be a huge milestone in online gaming, some like Counter-Strike already have although through different versions and will soon be marked with the release of its newest game. Others like World of Warcraft still holding on as the biggest MMORPG available and that will experience its own 20th anniversary in a little over a year too, even niche games that are more popular overseas like Maplestory have just experienced an 18-year anniversary too showing just how long lived some of these games have become.
Online gaming will certainly look to find a continued future as the way forward for gaming as a whole, with changes focused on more connectivity and being more welcome to a wider demographic and audience, but it’s an exciting time to be a gamer and an exciting time to be part of these online games as they continue to evolve and grow.