In early 2019, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told shareholders what he thought was the company’s stiffest competition. It wasn’t HBO, Disney+ or Amazon. It wasn’t cable television or movie theatres either. In his estimation, the biggest threat to Netflix’s continued dominance in entertainment was the video game Fortnite.
“It used to be ‘what to watch’ and now it’s ‘whether to watch,’” wrote Matthew Ball, former head of strategy at Amazon Studios. “And the answer is increasing ‘no, I’m going to play a game.’”
Just how often are people choosing to reach for a game controller instead of a TV remote? An overview of the numbers paints an illuminating picture. In 2019, the gaming industry generated $120 billion in revenue, and experts predict it could reach $200 billion within two years; 100 million viewers tuned in to watch players compete in the World Championship of the game League of Legends — a larger haul than the telecast of the Super Bowl; and, by 2021, it’s projected that 2.7 billion people — about one-third of the global population — will be gamers.
Apple, Google and Amazon are all developing gaming products. In the fall of 2019, Apple released Apple Arcade, a game subscription service. Soon after, Google launched Stadia, which allows users to stream major game titles directly from the Cloud rather than fussing with downloads or a physical console. And Amazon — which in 2014 acquired Twitch, the most-popular platform to watch gamers play — is rumoured to soon launch its own game-streaming service. These newcomers to the space will contend with gaming mainstays like Sony (PlayStation), Nintendo (Switch) and Microsoft (Xbox) for market share.
The rising tide lifts all boats. Mobile gaming raked in more than half of all gaming dollars spent last year. Virtual reality and augmented reality games, while comparatively niche, continue to climb in revenue too.
So what’s next? Culturally, it seems that gaming has broken out of niche corners of the world and will only continue to become more mainstream. But what tech innovations are shaping the future of video games, and how will they influence the gaming experience?
- We’ll see video games used more often as tools for learning and possibly behaviour modification.
It turns out that humans learn through play. The lower the stress level that you put on students, and the more that you make learning play-like, the more that the students learn and retain. The best way of learning is through failure, and that’s what simulations and games allow you to do, is to fail without hurting yourself or anyone else. It also becomes very memorable. Your emotions are invested in it and you can see the consequences of your actions in real time.
When it comes to motivation and changing behaviour, that’s harder. We can hopefully change behaviour through games, but it’s very hard to measure. Most importantly, someone has to really want to change that behaviour. There’s some really interesting work being done with adding virtual reality and it shows a lot of promise
- Virtual reality will play an ever-growing role in skill-building.
Virtual reality is going to continue to expand quickly, particularly for training purposes and beyond. The real world has constraints of space and the virtual world does not. For example, you could have a hundred medical students practicing the same procedure at the same time, over and over, whereas before, they could only practice a few at a time.
- The military, EMS and every-day people will harness augmented reality’s power.
I think the bigger wave right behind VR is augmented reality. This is where the tech goes with us out in the real world, like glasses that project information for users. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but in five years, you’ll see people everywhere wearing AR glasses. It provides the opportunity for customized experiences and games and, of course, things that are helpful for people. It’s all run by the same game engines used in video games, and the game developer skill set carries over to that.
Augmented reality glasses are clearly a battlefield tool of the future, too, that military leaders will use. Being able to view changing situations in real time is extremely valuable. I could see the technology being used by first responders as well.
- More people will recognize gaming gets an unfair bad rap (e.g., video gaming addictionbeing added to the World Health Organization’s list of diseases, people linking violence in games to real-life violence, etc.).
Those who become obsessed with games to the point that it is detrimental to their everyday lives—that’s a tiny percentage of people. People are concerned about someone playing 30 hours of games a week: “You should be doing other things with your life.” Well, that’s a value judgment. Would you say the same thing about someone who was watching movies or reading books 30 hours a week? Somehow, games have become taboo.
In terms of violence, longitudinal studies show there is not an increase in violent behaviour among gamers in real-world situations. There are hundreds of millions of gamers worldwide. If there was causality there, you’d have massive levels of violence. …Violent video games don’t make us violent.
- Good old-fashioned Discs aren’t going anywhere
Despite how many experts are handing the ball to cloud gaming in the future, you cant just deny yet that the jig is up for discs, just take a look at the failure that Stadia is about to be, and with all that marketing, its disappointing to say the least. So, strap in for a cd filled ride and head on over to neo online to stack up on cd cases just in ‘case ‘ your running out of space.