Online gaming has been going from strength to strength, increasing revenue year on year, steadily becoming more commonplace as technology has advanced and connectivity has become more affordable. Visual Capitalist estimates that by 2022 the world of online gaming will be worth almost US$200 billion worldwide, and Statista sets the value of the market in the US alone as US$60.4 billion. The online gaming market is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet. There are now so many ways to get involved with online gaming that it is no longer the reserve of hardcore gamers.
There are many reasons online gaming has become so popular:
- Improvements in technology
- Low cost, high return
- Active entertainment
- Relaxing and engaging
- Allows people to meet like-minded individuals
- Growth in mobile gaming; 13.3 percent growth in 2020 year on year
- Changes in player habits and the rise of the casual gamer
One area of the industry that has begun to embrace technological advancement and changes in players’ habits is that of online casinos. Online casinos have taken several steps to ensure they keep pace with changing habits to ensure their continued success. Developers have invested heavily in leveraging technology to create immersive online casino games, mimicking the feel and atmosphere of a real-life casino, allowing players to experience the glitz and glamour of the casino from the comfort of their own homes, or on the go. There are games for all types of player, from the prolific gamer dedicating hours each day, to the casual gamer spending mere pennies to experience the thrill of the slots.
Is This the Golden Age of Gaming or Have We Peaked?
For many, we are currently living in the golden age of gaming. The advancements in technology, fast, stable internet becoming the norm, and the rise of the casual and hyper-casual gamer has brought gaming into a new era. Gone are the days when games were the exclusive remit of the hardcore gamers: there is no more ‘average’ gamer anymore. All demographics enjoy playing games, from the busy dad waiting to pick his kids up from school hopping onto his phone to play a quick puzzle game, to the commuter spending the 30 minutes on the train to build their civilization up on their tablet, and the grandparent playing word games as a way to interact with their grandchildren.
However, many see the golden age of gaming as being in the past. The industry has been so diluted and the market so saturated that developers are churning out game after homogenous game, with little room for imagination and development. Consoles have become so expensive and new versions and updates are being released on such a regular basis, with limited back-compatibility that it feels like the industry has gone too far, and is no longer interested in creating and curating high-quality games, but is merely rehashing old tropes to keep up with the disposable culture we currently live in.
Still, others feel that the golden age of gaming is still to come. There are so many opportunities for technology to play a part in elevating the game from the forms we have now, to really develop it into a new and improved art form.
Oculus and Valve have announced cheaper headset options bringing this new technology to the fore, making it more accessible to the mass market.
Increased internet speeds and more stable connections as a matter of course allows players to stream games rather than having to download games or buy consoles, making it easier than ever for players to access games.
Whichever way you look at it, online gaming has steadily increased over the last couple of decades. The developments in technology and improved connectivity have increased accessibility and lead to year-on-year growth in online gaming, in particular mobile gaming. Changing habits and the rise of the casual gamer have not gone unnoticed, and developers are tapping into this new demographic. Whether we have already experienced the golden age of gaming, are currently in it, or are yet to encounter it does really depend on personal experience.