The year has been marked by the upheaval caused by the coronavirus epidemic, but the evolution of gaming technology doesn’t stop, even in a shutdown! Here are ten of the top tech trends that we can expect to see throughout the remainder of 2020.
Over 450 million people watched esports in 2019, and there has been a flowering of professional leagues all over the world. Faster internet technology, new gaming options and the increasingly blurred relationship between social and professional gaming, thanks to services like Twitch continuing to make the esports world more accessible.
Cloud gaming offers gamers frictionless and direct access to their favourite games, hosted in the cloud, instead of on games consoles and PCs. Cloud gaming is already one of the fastest growing areas for gaming tech and this is likely to accelerate in 2020.
Fantasy sports are a type of online game where players build virtual teams of real-life professional sports players. Hugely popular in the US and Canada, legal changes have enabled this industry to flourish and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2020, with mobile fantasy sports play available to an ever wider audience.
Artificial Reality (AR) hasn’t yet developed as quickly as predicted, after the success of Pokemon Go, but the rise of 5G connectivity, with its low latency will give a huge boost to the AR sector, particularly when it comes to AR gaming, with multiplayer AR games predicted within months.
Gaming also continues to drive the Virtual Reality (VR) sector. VR has been around for a while, but the prices of gear such as the PlayStation VR and the Oculus Quest have continued to fall, and 2020 could be the year in which VR gaming breaks through into the mainstream of the gaming world.
Here is one sector of the online gaming world that has flourished during the pandemic. Going into 2020, the online gambling industry was already experiencing significant growth due to the rise of mobile gambling, and while there have been plenty of upheavals and regulatory challenges for the sector, technological advancements such as the launch of cryptocurrency casinos and Virtual Reality casinos, alongside ever more interactive casino games are set to drive continued growth in 2020.
Rise of the Switch
Console fans are awaiting the PS5, but in 2020 the big news in console gaming is in the handheld world, where the Nintendo Switch and last September’s Switch Lite have been phenomenally popular, particularly during the lockdown, driven by the globally successful Animal Crossing.
End of Consoles?
Could 2020 see the end of console gaming? It seems unlikely that the Xbox and the PlayStation will lose their dominance in the short term, but by the end of the year, developments in cloud gaming and the growth of 5G could mean the beginning of the end for the expensive console gaming model.
Online gaming ecosystems
Digital distribution has been growing in importance in recent years, but 2020 is likely to see a significant increase in this sector of the gaming market, not least because the pandemic has made it harder to obtain physical game copies. Online gaming ecosystems, around particular games and computing models, are likely to emerge from the pandemic in a more dominant position.
Most of us use mobile devices to access the internet and the mobile gaming base is larger than that for consoles or PC. Cloud gaming and 5G promise to further boost mobile gaming’s profile and we can expect software companies to produce more mobile-friendly, multi-platform titles this year.