How Advanced Tech Is Shaping The Gaming Industry
Video games have come a long way since they first entered the mainstream back in the 1980s.
For those of us who’ve lived through the past four decades, it really doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago. But when we look at the developments that have been made in the gaming industry since then, those decades could’ve been centuries apart.
Forty years ago, the most high-tech games we were playing were typically found in gaming arcades. Anyone with a home PC was likely playing Pong or Pac Man, which are hardly revolutionary in terms of graphics and gameplay. Now, we’re playing photo-realistic games with movie-worthy soundtracks, some of which are set in alternate realities. It’s been a massive shift and it’s all down to the integration and ongoing development of advanced technologies.
Gaming is at an all-time high
Revenues in the gaming industry grew to an all-time high in 2020, shooting up to $139.9 billion – a 12% increase on 2019’s figures of $120.1 billion. Gaming is a global phenomenon but in the US alone, four out of every five people last year had played at least one video game in a six-month period, if not more.
We only have to look at the enormous success of the latest generation of gaming consoles to see just how popular the activity has become. Both Sony and Microsoft sold out their 5th gen consoles during pre-sales last year, and demand for continued innovation grows. Gaming is culturally mainstream and technological innovations are continuing to shape it, influencing everything from gaming experiences, to how gaming companies operate their business models.
The Tech Changing how we Play
Gone are the days when you’d need to purchase physical video games to play the latest titles. We’ve come so far in the development of gaming tech that you don’t even need to download games to your PC or console anymore. Instead, you can play as many games as you want no matter what device you’re playing on, as long as it’s connected to the Cloud.
Cloud gaming is the latest big thing in the industry, allowing players to stream games much in the same way that they’d stream their favorite TV show on Netflix. Because games are hosted on massive super-servers, gamers no longer need to invest in the latest console or fancy gaming monitor to enjoy top titles. In the past few years, we’ve seen console incumbents Sony and Microsoft roll out cloud gaming options to PlayStation and X-Box players alike, while even GPU specialist Nvidia has gotten involved in the vertical. Now, though, Big Tech has decided to get a piece of the cloud gaming action, leading to both Google and Amazon deciding to release cloud gaming services during the past 24 months.
According to Newzoo, the vertical is expected to rake in $1.6 billion in revenue this year thanks to over 23 million gamers playing in the Cloud.
How Tech is Shaping Gaming Companies
Advanced tech isn’t just playing a role in shaping how games are played, however. It’s also becoming an integral part of the game-making experience and how gaming companies carry out their business practices. In the iGaming sector, a tried and true strategy to increase customer engagement is the use of special offers and bonuses, like free spins. While it’s likely that this approach will be around for some time to come, more and more operators are applying artificial intelligence to their digital marketing efforts, such as integrating Big Data to hone marketing strategies.
On the game design end too, we’re seeing shifts into AI integration. Several designers use AI as a tool to generate gaming assets, such as the canyon rock formations you’ll ride past on horseback in a western-themed game. Instead of having to spend hours painstakingly drawing tiny details like this by hand, designers can offload the work to AI.
This process, called procedural content generation, can even be used to create entire game levels, even on a random basis. This results in games that are completely unique, allowing players to experience fresh content each and every time.