The gaming industry has enjoyed a high volume of growth over the last decade. From widely accessible games on smartphones to the absolute premium, high-end tech driving the likes of PC VR games, the industry offers a way to play for everyone.
Last year, 2020, was yet another year of growth, which turned out to be significantly greater than most experts initially predicted. So, now we look to the rest of 2021 to see if major events and trends will propel gaming further. It’s already the largest entertainment industry in several massive markets, revenue-wise, but there’s a lot more to come from the immersive and globally popular medium.
The Fallout of the 2020 Surge in Gamers
With a yearly increase in people taking up gaming for the first time, it would be fair to say the gaming industry’s spike in customers will likely continue in 2021. This is based on the fact that the 2020 market report had to readjust to account for the additional $15 billion coming in between the original forecast and end-of-year review.
In the UK, France, Germany, and the United States, it was found that 20 percent or more time was spent in gaming in one month alone in 2020. Furthermore, viewership and awareness of the professional line of gaming, eSports, also saw an uptick, with six million more viewers on the previous year. So, it seems like that some of these newcomers will stick around to show gaming growth in 2021.
Trickling in of the Next Generation of Consoles
After the huge campaign trials, preview videos, and hype about the next generation of consoles, the arrival of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 delivered pure frustration to many. The pre-order system was disappointing – especially as Microsoft and Sony had worked so hard to raise interest and demand – with supply being very low. Since the November 2020 launch, though, restocks have trickled in, keeping interest high and people vying for the next tier of console gaming.
Due to the Xbox Series X being very much the same as the Xbox One, bar some hardware upgrades, it’s not as desirable as the PlayStation 5. The Sony device, on the other hand, offers a new experience and several new games. As more games are released to pad the PS5-only library, the console will become even more appealing – leading to more sales and gamers. Another player may yet enter the game, too, with gaming news being rife with rumours of an enhanced version of the infinitely-popular Nintendo Switch console being on the way.
Expanding Potentially Colossal Markets
As it stands, China and the United States are the biggest gaming markets in the world, but hot on the heels of them is India. It already boasts more smartphone gamers than the US has people (over 370 million by the end of this year) and is both the second-largest games market and the one with the most potential to grow. Most importantly, though, is the audience’s already demonstrated affinity for all forms of gaming.
A unique market, India’s most popular gaming preferences fork into two: casino and shooters. As detailed by www.asiabet.org, while Indian bettors have several sports options, it’s the online casinos that are proving to be the most appealing. By the end of the year, there’ll be some 630 million online gamers worth over US$1.1 billion. While slots are also popular here, as they are around the world, India’s focus is on tech-driven, live dealer card games, like Baccarat, Rummy, Teen Patti, and Blackjack.
It’s not just the classics, though, with millions of Indians piling onto shooter mobile game apps. PUBG Mobile famously made a splash before being booted, so now, the likes of Call of Duty: Mobile and Garena Free Fire dominate the market. Many other mobile app games will make their way up the charts, too, such as Candy Crush Saga, Gardenscapes, Genshin Impact, and eFootball PES, showcasing the diversity of the gaming market. As more Indians get smartphones, more will transform into gamers to grow the global market.
It’s All About the Games
Regardless of the hype around new hardware, the industry will always come down to the games on offer. Console wars are decided by exclusive titles, and people are brought into the industry by the games that catch their eye. As we covered at www.thegameofnerds.com, last year ended on a high, but 2021 looks to be even bigger.
On mobile, in particular, huge brands are muscling in, with League of Legends: Wild Rift, The Witcher: Monster Slayer, and Total War Battles: Warhammer set to entice fans into mobile gaming. On PC and consoles, Harvest Moon: One World, Prince of Persia Remake, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, Humankind, and other well-known titles, are all due to come out in March and April 2021 alone.
Esports Will Fire on All Cylinders
Expanding the gaming industry into the realms of live sports entertainment, eSports has been a major proponent of growth. Offering players a new way to interact with games and even make money from their skills, eSports’ growth will be significant to the industry in 2021. Headlining, at least in terms of the prize pool, will once again be Dota 2’s The International, which could have $40 million on offer this year. Then, there’s the return of EVO, now being run by the goliath Sony. Finally, there’re plenty of exciting games expanding their audiences all of the time, with Valorant being the prime example now and Halo Infinite set to do so on release.
While it’s possible that gaming industry growth will present a step back, comparing 2019 and 2021 should show further growth for the wildly popular industry.