The gaming industry has been growing steadily over the years but during the pandemic of 2020 it grew exponentially with so many people turning to games online or otherwise. Perhaps even without the pandemic select gaming models were asserting themselves into the sphere. Virtual reality basically became mainstream during 2020 as did playing at a PlayCroco Casino. Certain games, multiplayer and social gaming, a la Farmville and Among Us, rose tremendously in popularity and Nintendo Switch actually sold out for months due to the increase in demand.
We are now on the tail end of the pandemic but the popularity of games is not waning. Consumers are still as interested as ever. According to a report put out by ResearchAndMarkets “The global consoles games market will reach around $67.1 billion at a compound annua growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% into 2023.”
Also in another report, MarketsandMarkets states that the “global gaming industry could register a CAGR of 12% between 2020 and 2025”. It is an exciting time for the gaming sector but some gaming styles are more popular than others
Below are some of the gaming trends likely to take off during 2021
According to Tory McBroom, the producer of the McGamers on YouTube, the biggest trend to emerge during 2020 and continue into 2021 is that of esports. He says “The pandemic effectively shut down real-life sports for an extended period of time which led to a hunger for competition that esports was able to fill.” Esports actually saw a 69% rise during 2020 and that is still rising in 2021. There doesn’t seem to be a slow down in esports even though live sports are now returning. McBroom goes on to say “I feel the rise in esports will also affect the gaming industry by influencing the types of games that are made. Game manufacturers will ride this wave by releasing more esport compatible games, for example, MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games and other competitive style multiplayer games.”
Before the pandemic social gaming was happening but with the pandemic, according to David Kleeman, the SVP of global trends for Dubit, “down on the corner has become up on the server”. He says “Whether they’re creating the link themselves (Discord, Twitch) or the social space exists within the game (Roblox, Fortnite), young people are spending time in games that allow them to socialize as they play or watch.”
A Global Wireless Solutions report stated that “During the pandemic year in Mobile Apps, saw usage of the popular social game “Among Us” increase by 15,471% in terms of the total volume of hours played and a jump of 33% in the average minutes per day. Roblox saw an increase in total volume hours of 101% and its daily minutes by user saw an increase of 19%.
This type of game is in the same category as role-playing games, based upon fantasy tales and in keeping with the 1980 classic Rogue, where the name originates. Adrian Covert, the tech editor at SPY says “Roguelike games have gone from an indie gamer obsession in recent years to opposing up in some of the most notable games of 2019 and 2010.” He goes onto say that “These are games with randomized elements and high difficulty curves that result in quick deaths but incentivize gamers to try again.” Hades was a favorite in 2020 and look out for Loop Hero in 2021.
Playing on demand is a growing trend in the gaming world. Raheel Hasan from 1App, a cloud based streaming platform says that although we have seen a huge increase in cloud gaming on consoles and PCs in recent years “the rapid growth in edge computing and 5G networks and the resulting improvement in latency (response time) creates a huge opportunity for cloud-based gaming on mobile. It opens the potential for creating Netflix-like apps that aggregate games instead of just video content.”
According to Adrian Covert, cloud-based and subscription- based gaming is already becoming popular. He says “While Google Stadia may have fallen short of its big ambitions as a cloud service, Amazon Luna has looked promising while in beta and Microsoft’s slow integration of its xCloud technology into Xbox Game Pass has resulted in two services that are affordable and highly functional ways to play games that would otherwise require top-shelf gaming hardware”. He goes on to say “Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda has given its Xbox Game Pass subscription service a huge boost, with games such as DOOM, Fallout and the Elder Scrolls being added to the lineup. As a result, Sony has been forced to take its PS Plus much more seriously than it has in the past.”
Card Games and Board Games
The popularity of card and board games has exploded. James Zahn, the senior editor of Toy Insider and the Pop Insider stresses that “Customizable trading card games, including Pokémon, are bigger than ever. “Last year’s Pokémon Battle Academy took home Game of the Year at The Toy Association’s TOTY Awards and for good reason – it presented an intriguing way for kids and grown ups alike to learn how to play with Pokémon cards together. With that franchise celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the collectible game cards are fetching record numbers on the secondary market.”
Classic board games also increased in popularity during the pandemic and that is continuing in 2021. According to Zahn, Family games also increased during 2020, for example Monopoly, Scrabble and Jenga. “UNO, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is bigger than ever and has a movie and TV deal. Candy Land became a reality series last fall and other games, including Risk and Whac-A-Mole, are being developed for television. Those games continue to be hot as families play together. And, in such a content hungry world, seeing classic games make the jump to the screen is an intriguing prospect. The game-to-TV trend is a developing one that should grow legs in the coming years.”
During the pandemic whilst families were forced to stay at home together, parents needed to find ways to occupy their children. Many found video gaming as a way of doing something together as a family. This is likely to continue long after the pandemic is behind us.
David Kleeman found that “Something that most kids and parents we interview both say they want to continue post-pandemic is family activities. This includes co-viewing of TV and also co-playing of games, casual (on a phone or tablet), console (often played on the family big screen) and games to keep active like GoNoodle Games, which has seen tremendous popularity during the confinement and remote learning of kids.”