Online gaming has been one of the largest growing markets since the dawn of the Internet, and thanks to new technology, it continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. With all this growth, change is inevitable as new tech innovations enable new ways for gamers to engage in their favorite pastime. Let’s look at some of the gaming trends both online players and developers can look forward to this year, and what the future of gaming is expected to look like in 2019.
Online Casinos and Virtual Reality
The gambling industry is always one of the first to explore new technologies. Looking back, 2018 has seen a major decline in the number of land-based casinos as most players now prefer to place their bets using mobile apps. This comes as no surprise when looking at the significant changes online casinos have undergone over the past few years, one of which includes Virtual Reality.
While VR has already been introduced to the online gaming sector, some major changes and improvements are expected in 2019 that may finally bridge the gap between on- and offline gambling. Although VR is not widely available yet, experts project the total VR gambling market will amount to almost $520 billion by 2021. Contributing to the expected growth in VR is the use of crowdfunding by start-ups to develop innovative software, wearables and accessories, which is one of the most recent trends in the electronic games industry. When this disruptive tech starts going mainstream, there will be a higher demand for devices that are compatible with VR.
While the availability of more sophisticated technology will raise users’ expectations, developers will have to answer by creating more captivating audio, video and graphical effects in online gaming apps that can be explored in Virtual Reality.
Proliferation of Cross-platform Games
Not long ago, online multiplayer cross-platform games with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo seemed like wishful thinking. In the past year or so, with games like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Rocket League paving the way, competitors have realized that cross-platform play is a beneficial feature for everyone as it has the potential for drastically bigger player pools. After all, players don’t want to be separated from their friends just because they game on different devices. Although the development of cross-platform games is still in its infancy, we’re likely to see it expand in the coming years with additional major franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield joining the ranks.
Mobile Game Developers to Rival Console Games
Console-quality mobile games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile have made big waves in the mobile gaming industry in 2018. The iOS version of Fortnite, which was released in April 2018, and the Android version which followed in June, made an estimated $2 million total per day. Meanwhile, the launch of Fortnite’s 5th season raked in more than $3 million in one day. The big drawing card here is the game’s Pixar-style graphics, which look the same on mobile devices as they do on PC and consoles.
As mobile devices continue to become more powerful, mobile game developers will have to answer to the increased demand for more graphic-rich titles; a demand that will be fueled by streaming software such as Project xCloud from Microsoft and Project Stream from Google that will make console-quality titles available on any device (even if they don’t have the specs to run them natively). In that vein, we should expect more mobile spin-offs of games that first made it big on PC and consoles.
Hyper realistic Graphics
The future of gaming is looking bright and hyper realistic, thanks to a new groundbreaking rendering tech, ray-tracing – the biggest leap in graphics technology in a long time. Developed by NVIDIA for its GeForce RTX series of graphics cards, ray-tracing technology models light in real time as it intersects objects in a virtual scene, enabling incredible realism in gaming that elicits a more intense physical and emotional response from gamers.
Although NVIDIA is holding back for now from revealing any plans to bring RTX beyond desktop machines and gaming laptops, they did announce partnerships with Autodesk, RED cameras, OBS, and HTC for VR at CES early in January. Meanwhile, NVIDIA is expected to get some serious competition from AMD, who is working on bringing ray-tracing to its cards. There’s no doubt that developers will be using this technology to build worlds unlike any we’ve ever seen before.
Whether it comes to mobile devices or not, ray-tracing technology, together with the enhanced gaming experience it will enable, is expected to be one of the biggest gaming trends for 2019.
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