Whether it’s Super Mario 3D world, Bowser’s Fury, Minecraft, or even Among Us, everyone, irrespective of personality, has something for them. The gaming industry flourished beyond expectations in 2020. A rather impressive growth considering it was a year when a pandemic began to ravage humanity.
From a psychological point of view, we could say that gaming offered many people stuck at home or without jobs an opportunity to escape into a world free of terms like COVID symptoms, fatality rate, social distancing, facemasks, and ventilators.
We could also say that the comfort of games provided a refuge from the uncertainty that clouded the world. But somewhere deep down within each of us gaming nomads, we all know the real reason for increased flocking to gaming is that we had absolutely nothing else to do. Yes, Ricky. We can tell you spent 10 to 15 hours of your daily lockdown routine on that gaming console.
In all, the pandemic made 2020 a record year for profit and expansion in the gaming industry. In fact, the advances recorded in this industry could almost be tagged as miraculous.
In spite of predicted challenges for next-gen console manufacturers, gaming giants like PlayStation announced that there were more PlayStation 5s available in November than there were PlayStation 4s during the pandemic-free year of 2013.
To gaming investors and manufacturers, this development suggests that the year 2021 comes with some juicy prospects for the industry. For gamers, it’s like candy heaven.
However, some gaming industry experts are quite uncertain whether 2021 would be as great a year for gaming as 2020. This is a result of the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and increased testing.
There is therefore a concern that as more people are vaccinated against the coronavirus, people would flock back to other forms of entertainment they love. But in spite of the naysayers, you might just want to check out these reasons 2021 should be a perfect year to dive deep into the gaming industry.
1. The Game of Politics
Yes, we all know politics is a game, one that gets dirty even. But we’re talking about a different gaming relationship here. One where politicians pay attention to gamers to win support from young voters.
A typical case of this was last year on October 20 when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hosted an inaugural Livestream of the popular game “Among Us” on her new Twitch channel in a bid to encourage voting from young people. AOC’s Livestream had a record 438,000 views making it one of the highest peaks for an individual streamer in 2020.
Last year also saw another gaming get-out-the-vote initiative after President Joe Biden’s campaign team created an island in the game, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” and equally streaming a live tour on Twitch. This shows how much the political space and the gaming industry can do for each other.
With more upcoming elections this year, like the Georgia runoffs and the federal elections to replace the Senate seat left vacant by Vice-President Kamala Harris, there are more prospects of video game livestreaming by politicians to court younger voters. Hence, more reach for the industry.
2. America is Young
Yup, America is a young country. As of July 2019, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers to become the largest generation in the U.S., with an estimated population of 72.1 million. Millennials are the most active demographic responsible for the gaming industry’s growth, and they have an arsenal of platforms like Twitch and YouTube. According to Nielsen market research, 71% of gamers consistently watch gameplay on YouTube and other video sharing platforms. The market research also suggests that 2021 would see a 90% growth in the audience watching the games on their monitors.
There are gamers everywhere because there are more young people. In fact, it is estimated that there are some 244 million gamers in the country, and this figure is on continued steady growth. It is only sensible to tap into this vibrant demographic.
The year 2021 is birthing an inclination towards video gaming that equates gaming mainstream with cinema and other top entertainment choices. Analysts also predict that gaming would hit an inflection point as an entertainment medium in 2021.
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3. Increased Monetization
Everyone’s always in it for the money. But how does the gaming industry get its fair share of those Benjamins? First off, game creators could make free-to-play games. However, virtual goods and other premium features have to be purchased.
For instance, full access to a racing game is provided to users from the onset, but spray paints, pistons, and engines for the cars have to be paid for.
Games could also come as a pay-to-play platform where gamers can use actual money to buy in-game coins or tokens, which, in turn, gives them access to the game.
In-game purchases could also be encouraged by allowing users to watch ads in exchange for game coins. This means you make money from both the user and the advertiser. Game creators could also make money via selling game merchandise such as keychains, clothing, phone cases, etc.
4. 5G Rave
The excitement around 5G technology saw a spike in 2020. But 2021 is set to see the technology roll out to consumers. It would be phenomenal for the gaming industry as the 5G connectivity comes with spectacular upload and download speeds.
Since most online games depend on high internet speeds for optimum performance, this would be a huge boost for the gaming industry.
It is also going to contribute to the growth of the gaming community. This is because more gamers would capitalize on the 5G technology for streaming and playing games on their mobile phones with relative ease.
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5. Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR)
AR & VR provides an immersive gaming experience. It takes gamers on a journey into the heart of the game’s storyline. It also makes virtual objects appear so enticing that gamers can treat them as if they are real.
The year 2021 would bring a more realistic visual experience in that video game companies would be able to use AR & VR technology to improve the overall gaming experience without the need for a video monitor. It is projected that AR & VR technology will hit revenues close to $20 billion by 2021.