The Future of Video Games Part I
By Jeff Ayers — / Lifestyle
Video games have been around in one form or another for over 70 years and have become one of the most successful entertainment industries. (If you don't believe me, then check out our article, Video Games: History of Fun.) So what does the future have in store for video games and the self-proclaimed ‘gamers’ of the world? Let's dive into some of the newest technologies and up-and-coming plans for the industry that sound like they came straight out of a science fiction novel.
Streaming and eGaming
For the longest time, video games were a solo endeavor, sometimes becoming a head-to-head, two-player contest either at home with two controllers or at the arcade. Recently, gaming has become a worldwide phenomenon with the emergence of gamers streaming what they play on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. In fact, according to data released by The Nielsen Company in 2020, 27.9 billion hours of content was streamed on those platforms, which was up from 15.7 billion hours in 2019. That is a testament to what gaming has become—it’s not just about an escape or even a hobby—it is now a way to stay connected with people and consume entertainment.
The game Animal Crossing took off to new heights of popularity in 2020, as many people were shut inside during quarantine. For players, this simple game also became a messaging hub akin to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. In fact, games became meeting places for gamers who also happened to be businesspeople—the popular Red Dead Redemption 2 has a feature that allows online players to meet around a campfire in the Wild West, and people started utilizing this as a way to hold meetings instead of on a boring Zoom call.
eSports and Competitive gaming
Playing video games is not just for kids with quarters anymore. Now you can make a career out of it. The audience of eSports alone has grown significantly since 2017, topping out at 335 million viewers. In 2020 it was projected to have surpassed 490 million viewers overall, but how does that stack up with traditional sports? Well, thanks to data from Syracuse University, in the U.S. alone, eSports has surpassed all professional sports except for the NFL, but it is hot on the heels of football too.
(2019 Fortnite Championship)
All of this means that there is a competitive market for serious gamers to get into, and even an opportunity to make some money while competing. Competitively playing games like DOTA 2, Fortnite and League of Legends can lead to endorsement deals and higher prize money the farther you go. In fact, the solo finals of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup netted the winner a cool $3 million in prize money. Are eSports players the next professional sports players?
Only time will tell, but it seems to be trending that way, as more and more players are looking to compete at a professional level and join up with teams and leagues. Many colleges and universities are even creating their own teams to cultivate the best players in the college level, much like the NCAA does at the college level of “actual” sports.
Needless to say, video games have a lot to offer, and as the technology gets better, along with the stories they tell and the entertainment they provide, gaming could truly become the premier entertainment of future generations.
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