Gaming has become an unstoppable force in the world of entertainment. It is no longer a niche market for teenagers. Nowadays we are playing games on our phones while commuting to work. Some of us are customising our PCs to build bigger and better gaming experiences. Some of us will be spending a fortune on the newest consoles and games this Christmas. The world of gaming is no longer niche. It is a monster industry that is growing rapidly.
Last year, Americans spent over $35 billion on games and gaming hardware. That is a huge figure. When we look ahead to 2015, one thing is for certain: this number will increase. Gaming is infiltrating more homes than ever before. The rise of mobile gaming is leading the charge. At the same time, the traditional gaming world is growing larger too. Let’s take a look at the gaming trends that will dominate 2015. The following predictions are based on what has happened so far in 2014 and where we are heading.
Mobile games will continue to increase
Two major events will happen in 2015 with regard to the gaming world. Firstly, tablet sales will overtake laptop sales. That means that more and more homes will own an iPad or equivalent technology. That means more people will download apps. When you consider that gaming is already the most popular app category, you can infer that mobile gaming will rise. The second big event is that mobile gaming is set to surpass console gaming in 2015. Not only are tablets trumping laptops, mobiles and tablets are trumping games consoles. Don’t for a second think that consoles are dying out, though. Consoles themselves will sell more than ever in 2015. Mobile gaming will simply grow faster.
Free-to-play model will continue
In the world of mobile gaming, the free-to-play model will continue to dominate. Allowing users to download and get started for free is opening up the experience for more people. Once they are hooked, games will implement in-game purchases in order to make money. This type of gaming is spurring the mobile sector. Free-to-play games are heavily located here. However, the model is also creeping into the Xbox arcade store and PS4 platform. Of course, this model also dominates the internet where you can play with another person free online.
2015 will see the release of the first major, commercial virtual reality headsets. The most talked-about is, of course, the Oculus Rift. It will be one of the essential gaming accessories of 2015. Funded by donations on Kickstarter, the software has now been bought by Facebook. You can guarantee this will have a huge social impact when it is released next year. Development prototypes were released in 2013 and 2014 so that games could be built with them in mind. That means 2015 will be the first year to see games built with virtual reality at the core. It will really open up the gaming world into a 360 degree, immersive experience.
Gaming has typically been the pursuit of the developed world. It requires disposable income and the necessary technology. In the last ten years, Brazil, Russia, India and China have become the dominant emerging markets. They are embracing gaming culture at a speed we have never seen before. This is partly thanks to mobile technology, yet traditional consoles are booming too. Games developers are seeing huge revenue increases abroad. As a result, they are moulding the themes of their games. More and more are being introduced with Chinese mythology and other worldly themes.
After Apple announced its innovative Apple Watch in September, developers have been in flux. We know that gaming will be a huge part of the Apple Watch, and others like it. We just don’t quite know what that will look like yet. The technology in these watches open up the world around us. Games could harness the location technology to go beyond the hardware they are installed upon. This is unchartered territory. You’ll have to watch this space and monitor how this develops.
Games that evolve and develop
In the past, developers would release a game, and that would be it. The game is out there and there is no more work to be done. Nowadays, that isn’t enough. In 2015, developers will have their work cut out. They will have to work on new games, whilst also developing and updating existing games. Automatic updates will keep the games feeling fresh and exciting. Harnessing the internet and cloud technology, our games will keep expanding and updating.
Gaming as spectator sport
We don’t think gaming quite has the potential of overtaking the Olympics or Football. However, there are signs that gaming as a spectator sport is growing rapidly. Gaming championships and tournaments already exist in the underground. Most are sponsored by Red Bull. Some have paid viewers in their thousands and winners have already taken home over $1 million. This has all come about thanks to the rise of internet gaming. It is still an underground pursuit, but expect that to change as popularity rises.
Businesses adopting games
Businesses are slowly latching on to the power of gaming. We’re not quite sure what form this will take yet, but the options are limitless. For some, this is quite a worrying development. It could mean that businesses force their way inside free-to-play games. It could mean increased advertising during gameplay or the rise of sponsored games. In some cases, businesses are even commissioning developers to create a game for them. Implementing it on their website or making it available as an app extends their reach. It also keeps their customers’ attention and works as a form of advertising. Companies are only just testing the water with this concept. Keep an eye on it in 2015.
It is an exciting time to be a gamer. The once underground, niche market is expanding beyond anything we could have predicted. The charge is being led by mobile games and tablets with the quality increasing by the day. 2015 will see a real surge in gaming in all sectors and across the globe. It will be bigger, better and more connected. We’re excited.