Back when online games were first created few people envisioned that the gaming industry would come so far, so fast.
What started out as a few loosely connected communities of gamers has now spawned a gaming revolution, as millions of people log on every day of the week to compete in everything from battle royale melees to casino leaderboard promos.
However, at the start of the 21st century the progress of online gaming has suddenly stalled with cloud gaming platforms flopping when they had been expected to take over, and new titles like Cyberpunk 2077 falling flat on their face.
When people step back, though, and take a look at the bigger picture, the industry was always due a few road bumps after what was such a meteoric rise to the pinnacle of the entertainment sector.
Now everyone is watching and waiting to see just what the next huge online gaming breakthrough will be.
In this article we look deep into our techy crystal ball, to seek out the new trends and innovations that will launch online gaming into another dimension.
Mobile gaming is only set to proliferate as more and more players around the world get access to cheap mobile devices and lightning-fast data connections
Comparison Sites Already Provide Glimpse of Future
Rather than jumping straight into the wacky world of AI and VR, we thought we would begin by taking a peek at some of the apps and sites that are already out there doing great work for the online gaming community, as well as boosting applications that are sure to develop further in the short to medium term.
One of these is comparison sites and apps because, as the range of gaming providers increases, so too does the amount of time it takes for players to figure out which sites and platforms are best suited to their needs.
That is where comparison services come in, not only rating the major online gaming players in the industry but also offering up accompanying special deals to help gamers on their way.
Allied to this, comparison sites and apps also demystify all the terms and conditions that come attached to casino bonuses or sign-up offers, so gamers can spend more time playing and less time lost in the small print.
As such services develop further, expect them to become fully integrated into browsers, so that soon enough gamers will barely have to think to benefit from the best deals or have their gaming accounts transferred in the blink of an eye, to a platform that offers more for less.
This is already happening in the online retail industry thanks to apps like Honey, and the same is bound to follow in gaming.
VR headsets are constantly coming down in size and price, and will soon be part and parcel of any standard gaming setup
Virtual Reality Will Go Mainstream
When virtual reality headsets and accompanying games first came on the scene they were hailed as being the sure-fire future of the industry, only for them to be ridiculed to such a degree that they disappeared for a decade or two.
But now they are back with a bang, thanks to companies like Oculus whose VR apparatus is lightweight, easy to use, and completely wireless, giving players incredible range of motion.
The capabilities of such technology are only just starting to be explored by gaming titles such as Half-Life: Alyx, which enables players to become more physically and mentally immersed in an online environment than ever before.
There is no doubt that there is a major push coming from the likes of Facebook and Google to have more and more gamers adopt VR technology. This is because the sheer amount of data and upselling techniques that can be used on such platforms is endless.
Hopefully, a balance is found by such companies between farming people’s data and providing gaming experiences that blow their minds (although hopefully not in the literal sense).
Artificial Intelligence will deliver incredible gaming experiences online but also comes with its share of challenges for those who wish to keep gaming fair and equal
Artificial Intelligence Will Rule Online Gaming Lobbies
AI, as it is known, is already prevalent in most online gaming experiences, sometimes in obvious ways as it controls computer-operated avatars, and other times in more opaque ways.
However, there can be no doubt that AI will play a far larger role in the future of gaming, as computer programs become increasingly autonomous and are able to solve complex problems.
This is already happening in the realms of customer service, where it is entirely normal to now converse with a chat bot who can often deal with a gamer’s issue long before they require contact with a human operative.
Then there are things like chess computers, which have already shown they have what it takes to outthink and outwit the best human players in the world.
The only issue with all this may be that AI systems could get too good at what they do, enabling those players who don’t want to play by the rules to find nefarious ways to win online tournaments and competitions. Who knows, this could become to Esports what doping is to traditional sports.
Mobile Gaming and AR are the Perfect Match
One current trend that is not going anywhere is that of mobile gaming, as all games developers now know that the more available their titles are for mobile users, the far greater global reach they tend to have.
This is because in many African and Asian countries mobile gamers far outweigh the number of people who play on PC or console.
As mobile devices boast greater and greater computing power, the very existence of PCs and consoles is under threat.
This is also because some of the most successful games of recent years have been those that have combined mobile technology with alternate reality elements.
A perfect example of this was Pokémon Go, which had the ability to corral hordes of people wherever the game’s developers wanted them to go.
This means of putting a gaming overlay over people’s everyday lives is ultimately where gaming is headed, as it pushes further into the daily routines of its followers, making it a truly integral part of their existence.