Online gaming saw an unprecedented boom in 2020. People took to their computers, laptops, mobiles and tablets to play the latest online games that were taking the world by storm, catching up on their favourite TV series, or even getting involved in live betting, as they watched their favourite sports from the comfort of their own home.
The online gaming industry is a massively profitable one for console providers like Microsoft and Sony, but it’s now the lifeblood of the modern gamer. You can’t truly call yourself a gamer in this day and age if you don’t play online, against other real-life players. The key to online gaming’s continuing growth is to identify where it is heading in 2021, so we’ll take a look at some of the expected trends for the year ahead.
Battle Royales continue to dominate
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last few years will tell you that Battle Royales (game’s in which players must fight until only one remains) are by far the most popular in the online gaming sphere. This kicked off with PUBG and Fortnite in 2017 and the genre hasn’t looked back since.
While Fortnite and PUBG played on the cartoon-style gameplay and dance emotes that helped them to connect and keep hold of their younger audiences, Call of Duty Warzone was sweeping up the much more profitable 18 years+ market and, by the way they’ve seamlessly integrated their new Cold War game, looks set to dominate 2021 also.
Watching rather than playing
One of the biggest advancements in online gaming over the last four years has undoubtedly been the colossal shift between people actually playing the game and watching other people play the game.We of course refer to streaming, which itself has seen a stratospheric boom since 2017. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is probably the most notable streamer of the last few years and is largely credited with Fortnite’s domination over PUBG in the early days. His rise to stardom has spawned an entire generation of wannabe streamers.
Although it seems crazy to think people prefer to watch rather than play games themselves, there is a huge demand for online streamers. A report from Neilsen found that 71 percent of millennial gamers would prefer watching a streamer play their favourite game than play themselves.
Mobile gaming boom
It’s still going to be a little while before the next generation Playstation and Xbox consoles dominate the market and in the meantime, there is a space for an alternative to grow. That alternative is mobile gaming.
Our smartphones are now just as powerful as previous consoles and the ability to play on the move is something that will interest gamers. The challenge for developers is to give mobile gamers the most console-like feel possible in their gameplay, but there are a few who have already achieved that.
Fortnite successfully integrated mobile gaming into their Battle Royale arsenal in June 2020 and it was a huge hit with gamers, as they were able to play in mobile-only lobbies. Call of Duty Warzone developers have confirmed that a mobile app is imminent and while it’s hard to tell what that might look like, we’re sure it’s going to be just as popular as the console and PC version.