Just as technology advances, so do the opportunities for top class gaming. It is not so long ago that the Nintendo Wii appeared to alter the gaming world forever. But such is the pace of technological change that new possibilities are appearing all the time.
For example, it would seem that popularity is shifting from the console to playing on mobile devices. This is hardly surprising given that 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets were set to be sold in 2013. The result is a whole expansion of gaming horizons with the significant potential of monetization. One of the most interesting aspects to this trend is that the growth in mobile gaming is attracting both entertainment giants such as Disney and small-scale start-ups. In fact, it is estimated that 42 per cent of gaming start-ups are focused on mobile use, representing the potential which is only now starting to be fully exploited. There are also significant spin-offs to the boom in mobile gaming. It has meant that game development is not only limited to the traditional game publishers and it is possible for smaller enterprises to break into this market. Acutely aware of this opportunity, there is an increasing trend in funding game development through crowdsourcing projects such as Kickstarter. Start-ups and mid-sized companies which smell the opportunity of mobile gaming are keen to raise cash and this is now possible thanks to the growing importance of crowdsourcing projects.
Away from mobile developments, there is also an emerging trend in social casinos. Zynga Poker was once the market leader in this area, but it has now been caught up by a variety of titles, including the . Once upon a time online casino gaming meant a mandatory visit to a dedicated online casino. However, you can now place a bet directly from your favourite social media outlet. This appears to be a particularly popular option for Bingo players in Britain. There is every reason to expect the social casino market to continue to grow over time.
However, the burgeoning gaming options on both mobile and social media appears to have had a detrimental impact on the mass multiplayer online games. Perhaps games such as World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons were always considered to be niche pursuits. However, they built up a loyal and lucrative following. It appears though that free gaming options elsewhere have forced these games to follow suit and offer their product for free. Even Star Wars: The Old Republic, developed at a cost of $200million has been forced to offer free play. The future of these games appears to be in the balance.
On the technical side of things, 2013 has seen a continued improvement in motion control games. Although revolutionary, the Nintendo Wii sometimes demands contrived body movements in order to play properly. Thanks to Microsoft Kinect, there is now a whole body sensor to use on the Xbox One. It allows for more natural movement and so from now on you need only to gently lean to the side during a car racing game in order to turn corners, rather than contort your entire body.
Virtual reality gaming is also making great strides. Keep an eye out for the Oculus Rift, which provides a rapidly improving virtual reality headset. Another trend to monitor is the growing popularity in streaming gaming. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are increasingly integrating this into their gaming possibilities.