Online gaming is a huge part of our modern culture, from Richard Bartle’s pioneering MUD – a role-playing, dragon slaying, player vs player game – in 1978, to the huge popularity of X-Box Live, it has grown throughout the years to become a worldwide phenomenon. Here are just a few of the exciting online gaming trends to look out for this year.
At one point talked about as a thing of the far future, virtual reality (or VR) has come an extremely long way from its earliest mentions in the 1930s (Pygmalion’s Spectacles, anyone?), and it continues to develop to fantastic new levels. 2017 is a year in which both new and established companies will continue to invest in virtual reality, namely FOVE, Razer, HTC Vive 2 and Oculus Rift. Another big name in VR to look out for is Magic Leap, who, through all their mysteriousness, keep anticipators on their toes about when they will go public. Raising over $1billion thus far from high-profile investors, these guys are widely anticipated to be the future of VR gaming.
Not everybody, however, will feel like paying through the nose for VR gameplay experiences, and this is where mobile VR steps in. Not to be outshone by their more expensive counterparts, mobile VR games allow players to solve puzzles in mythical temples, fight in space and, wait for it, cross the road, without leaving their house, and with plenty of competition, developers can only continue to improve their virtual reality output!
The concept of live casinos has become renowned amongst online gamers. They provide the thrill of the casino but in the comfort of one’s own abode. The live casino on Betsafe, along with others, is at the forefront of this world in which casino classics including roulette, poker and blackjack can be played against people from around the world. Also, much like the revelation of a job interview on Skype, it sticks two fingers up at formal dress codes (as long as the top half is smart, who needs to know, right?).
Betsafe offers plenty to look forward to since its latest deal with NOVOMATIC Group’s Extreme Live Gaming, which has brought with it to Betsafe its iconic Golden Ball Roulette and Leader Board feature. This deal will also allow Betsafe patrons to experience the features found on Extreme Live Gaming’s mobile product – showing that multi-channel play and extra interactivity are the future of live casino.
Lying at the heart of modern gaming, live streaming is becoming ever-increasingly notorious. Leading the way is the hugely popular platform, Twitch, which was formed in 2011 and has since become a billion-dollar business. Creating its own celebrities, with names such as summit1g, Nightblue3 and Imaqtpie, there is a buzz around live streaming culture, and the snowball continues to gain momentum as its very own event, TwitchCon, becomes more prevalent each year. An interactive trend, live streaming allows followers and fans to ask their favourite streamers questions on whichever game they are playing, or generally just marvel at their mad Tekken skillz (note the ‘Z’ in skills).
Another popular live streaming service, YouTube Live, is catching up with Twitch in terms of the number of streamers joining per month, providing some competition, and with ever-improving mobile video quality, the concept is catching on and becoming more accessible, as well as changing how we interact with content on the web.
eSports is a force to be reckoned with. For those who are unfamiliar, it is competitive sports for gamers in which teams get together and play games against other teams. It is believed that eSports could go mainstream this year after it was announced in 2016 that there will soon be the UK’s first eSports TV channel. Additionally, a new eSports league, the Overwatch League, is about to be launched, which will see teams from around the world battle it out with promotions and relegations, and even have off-seasons to really give it the same feel as traditional sports.
The popularity of eSports is such that football clubs, Man City and West Ham each signed prominent FIFA game players in the summer of 2016, causing an eSports/ traditional sports crossover and it is believed that more clubs will follow suit as they buy into the industry.
When Snake first entered our lives, we all thought that things couldn’t get any better. Snake 2, subsequently blew our minds – I mean, a snake that can go through walls?! It turns out, things have escalated pretty fast with mobile gaming since then, and with Pokémon Go, Super Mario Run and Angry Birds as prime examples, we can see that mobile game-play is hugely accessible and ever-evolving.
Looking to the future, it is thought that mobile game developers will look towards creating games with more immersive, player vs player gameplay, with a change in focus from offline games. The rise of ‘Free-To-Play’ mobile games will continue in 2017, specifically ‘Booster Pack’ and ‘Gacha’ games, which allow the user to make in-game purchases.
Keep on Gaming
Forget those times you were told in school to put down the console and pick up your pen (that’s how homework was written in the old days), because not only can people make a fortune from being successful gamers, but businesses are starting to realise the power of online gaming. With its very own culture, celebrities and economy, online gaming is undoubtedly a fast-moving business, and with some exciting things on the horizon, it can only get better for this industry.