The gaming industry has come a long way from the chess playing simulators of the 70s and the rudimentary 3D graphics of the 80s and 90s. If there’s one thing that’s been constant, it’s been the need to balance cutting-edge technology, user experience, and advertising pressure from third-party brands to create a game that can sell.
Today’s biggest names in entertainment are investing in strategies to capitalize on emerging trends in media consumption.
We took a look at some current predictions for 2019 and beyond, that may prove to have a lasting impact on gaming technology.
Cloud Gaming will dominate
The biggest players in the cloud space are gearing up to go to war in the cloud in 2019. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft dominate a large corner of the cloud market but have recently started buying up cloud gaming companies. They have all been quietly beta testing new cloud-based gaming services. Their massive pre-existing data centers mean that these companies certainly have the infrastructure to not only invest in their own interactive content but provide cloud hosting services to gaming giants like Nintendo, Sony and others.
It’s interesting to note that consolidation on this scale is becoming more commonplace.
The centralized nature of the cloud means that integration is convenient and efficient. Companies can step laterally into less technical sectors in order to capture more consumer dollars as different types of gaming take off. It can also lead to some interesting partnerships between legacy gaming brands and technology providers that mirror what’s currently happening in the streaming industry. In the end, it’s the user who will win out.
Subscriptions and bundled content sales will rise
Monetization in gaming can be a touchy subject. Apart from advertising, how can companies make money beyond the initial sale of a game? In 2019, sales of subscription-based and bundled content are predicted to rise.
An emerging business model is “recurrent revenue”, or profit that is relatively likely to continue year after year.
By up-selling current users and advertising unique content or in-game “skins” and features, franchises like Grand Theft Auto have been able to rake in $6 billion in profit from GTA V, a game that was released six years ago. Other games, like Fortnite, FIFA, or mobile-based subscription companies like GameMine, are following suit. It’s clear that if game companies can develop a universe that consumers like, they’ll likely pony up for the add-ons.
Native ads in mobile games will become more sophisticated
Last March, Swedish company Adverty released what experts called “the world’s first programmatic AR/VR native ad platform.” By mapping a 2D ad onto the 3D environment in the app, the company hopes to change the way users engage with sponsored content by seamlessly blending ad content into the game experience itself. Immersive technology is becoming sophisticated enough that an in-app ad could be mapped to wrap around an animated game element as small as a coffee cup. This would open the world of online advertising which is largely dominated by obnoxious banner ads and home screen popups.
Technologists hope that deploying immersive solutions like this will help native advertising keep up with trends in gaming technology. If ads appear innocuous, it can increase the efficacy of their efforts without disrupting the experience for users.
Game developers are steadily working to make games more intuitive, with a focus on improving the user experience.
In 2019 and beyond, game enthusiasts will start to see a shift towards mobile gaming, in-game upselling, and further development into cloud gaming by some of the technology industry’s biggest players.
Alongside emerging technology trends like e-sports, blockchain, and augmented reality, there will be no shortage of gadgets and platforms for gamers to explore, which is the ultimate goal for the gaming industry.