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Online Gaming Trends and Innovations For 2021 The booming online gaming industry is a mutually beneficial ecosystem for entrepreneurs, players and gaming developers

By Varun Mahna

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The online gaming industry is growing leaps and bounds which is not only benefiting the global giants who are taking advantage of a plethora of opportunities in the sector but also, the startup gaming developers. The booming online gaming industry is a mutually beneficial ecosystem for entrepreneurs, players and gaming developers, providing them opportunities to satiate their lucrative appetite for online gaming. Further, the proliferation of smartphones is a significant contributor to the swift growth of the industry.

The state of online gaming industry

According to the State of Online Gaming 2020 research report, new console-less gaming services are gaining traction. The report also reveals that casual single-player games are the most popular, and first-person shooter games are the second-most popular type of video games played. Lastly, more than 38 per cent of gamers wish to become professionals. The interesting revelations of the report confirm the increasing usage and attraction towards online games, especially among millennials.

Further, artificial intelligence (AI) continues to improve the overall gaming experience. It is driving the tremendous evolvement of the gaming industry, for instance, in multi-player game formats, AI automatically determines the team chemistry based on your choices and makes the playing experience better by making it more interactive. How? You are losing a match against your opponent and suddenly a fan chant plays to boost your team's morale. This is an AI reaction. As a result, gamers are paying a lot of attention to detail these days including how immersive and interactive the game is among others. Through real-time customisation of gaming scenarios, AI can take the gaming experience to the next level.

Talking about the trends in the online gaming industry for 2021, below mentioned are some key points.

Professional gamers

While most people play video games for fun, some people have adopted this as a profession. It is not only one of the fastest growing markets in India, but also a popular career option for talented young minds. From game art professionals to game animation, game testing and professional gamers, there are huge career opportunities that are set to influence the online gaming industry in 2021.

Increased use of mobile phones

One of the key trends in the online gaming industry will be the continued expansion of mobile gaming. Even the State of Online Gaming 2020 report reveals that mobile phones continue to be the most preferred gaming device followed by computers, gaming consoles and tablets. The gap widened in 2020 with the preference for mobile phones increasing 13 per cent from 2019. The increased usage of mobile gaming helps to increase the potential audience due to easy accessibility to mobile phones. Therefore, we will see more developers create content and games that fit mobile gaming.

More interactive games

AI generates behaviour, whether it is for NPCs (non-playable characters) or agents in a game. Even the characters learn from the actions of the player and modify their behaviour accordingly. This has triggered the evolvement of gamers who now want a realistic gaming experience and not just excellent graphics. Therefore, we will see game developers develop and create more visually appealing and at the same time more interactive games. In fact, game developers are moving towards designing robust systems within games that can understand speech, noise and other sounds and tweak the game scenario accordingly all with the help of modern techniques such as pattern recognition and reinforcement learning, where the characters within the games self-learn from their actions and evolve accordingly.

A rise in e-sports

The trends in online gaming reflect what audiences want. In addition to an increased usage of mobile phones for gaming, the rise of e-sports will also influence the kinds of games that developers will create in 2021 and further. E-sports tournaments are already popularising and gaining the attention of sports enthusiasts. Key performers have developed huge followings on social media and are paid large sums of money. Therefore, we will see more stuff being added to an online sportsbook.

More attention to 'responsible gaming'

Due to increasing incidents of damage caused by winning addiction, and the urge to exploit the benefits of real money gaming, operators have already started taking measures to safeguard the users' rights and interests. A dedicated disclaimer saying that the particular game has an element of financial risk and could be addictive is now being added in every piece of promotion. The team of business development professionals is also keeping a sharp eye on monetary transactions made by players to keep them stick to responsible gaming. Hence, this motive is much critical and we are expecting to see it getting more prioritized in the nearby future.

Summing up

The scope of innovative technologies is unimaginable and the way it is being adopted in gaming is incredible. The possible applications of these technologies in the near future have the entire gaming industry buzzing. It will be interesting to see how technology and creative minds of developers transform the gaming industry and what innovations it unfolds in the future.

Varun Mahna

CEO & Founder, PokerDangal

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