Top Gaming Trends That Marked 2021
Probably more people played games in 2021 than at any time before in human history. The reason is the global Covid-19 pandemic, which shut down the economy and forced us to spend the majority of our time at home. Faced with mounting boredom and anxiety, people turn to one release valve that was readily available – games.
Players’ bases swelled with new players, while online games sometimes struggled to cope with the influx of newcomers. It took a while for server upgrades to catch up with the increased demand. As these events unfold, several distinct trends appeared. Some of them were already anticipated, but a few were completely new and unexpected.
Virtual reality is one of those emerging technology that we keep hearing about, but somehow never get to see in mass use. The reason for this is that the equipment needed was, until recently, prohibitively expensive and not many people could afford it. In turn, this curtailed the development of applications that could use it, since the market for them was simply too small. However, as prices begin to fall, we can expect that to change in the coming years.
More and more developers will start creating various virtual reality content, now that the equipment has become more affordable. The many benefits this technology offers will ensure its popularity and we will finally be able to enjoy it. It is a perfect example of how a new technology, once reserved for those with deep pockets, finds its way to the masses over time.
Increase in Players Count
One consequence of the current pandemic was that a lot of people found themselves with a lot of extra time on their hands. A huge portion of that time was spent gaming.
For some, it even turned out as a handy source of income in these trying times. Once the pandemic is over, those numbers will take a hit, but probably not enough to knock the industry as a whole from its height of popularity.
Next Generation Gaming Consoles
The decades-old battle between PC and console users isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Personal computers have had an edge in performance and versatility, while consoled were easier to use and cheaper. The next generation of gaming consoles may very well change that equation.
More powerful and with an increased number of titles available, they are attacking PCs on their home turf. That comes at the cost, though, especially when it comes to pricing. The days of consoles being marketed as an affordable alternative to expensive gaming rigs may very well be behind us. Far more powerful hardware, compared to current consoles, will be able to provide much better graphics, but it will also cost significantly more. Better optimization of games will also contribute to higher prices.
Mobile gaming has been around for a while and already held a significant market share even before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, during the lockdown, it too experienced a huge intake of new players. Compared to PC and console gamers, people who play mobile games exclusively are considered casual gamers. For some, that title may seem derogatory, but most people don’t mind.
They will readily admit that they aren’t prepared to let gaming become a huge part of their lives. Instead, they use it to relax and kill some time. Investing a better part of their day to playing games simply isn’t an option for them. That is why mobile gaming is perfect for them. It would seem that the majority of new players hold this opinion, judging by the explosion of the popularity of mobile gaming. Thanks to it, we may see a huge development of new phones and tablets, with hardware powerful enough to support even the most demanding titles.
This is one of the trends that were already present in previous years but has significantly picked up the pace in 2021. The demographics of gamers is undergoing dramatic changes. Young males used to dominate the market, but lately, other groups have come out strongly, especially women and the elderly. Women’s participation is moving towards parity with men, especially in younger cohorts.
Game developers have been quick to notice this and have started developing games that cater to that audience. Women prefer games with good stories and strong character development and we have witnessed an influx of such titles recently. Older generations, like Baby Boomers and older Generation X, are also increasing their presence on the gaming market.
One of the most prominent gaming trends in 2021 was a huge increase in cloud gaming. Compared to traditional gaming, it offers several distinct advantages. By resolving most of the graphic processes on the server-side, it eliminates the need for expensive gaming rigs and allows players with average computers to enjoy quality graphics.
This has been made possible by the increase in Internet speeds across the board. Since millions of players play these games, the waiting time for a game has been reduced to a minimum. One thing that often plagued multiplayer games was endless waiting in game lobbies. With cloud gaming, that has been either eliminated or reduced to an acceptable amount.