The 4 trends that will shape gaming’s future
When we think of gaming, we mostly still think of consoles and PC. But as revenues in the industry go stratospheric, it’s not direct sales of traditional ‘AAA’ games that will decide gaming’s future. For The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive, Rowan Byers of The Goat Agency looks at four other corners of the industry, from microtransactions to esports, that are shaping what comes next.
1. Microtransactions in video games
The global online microtransaction market is expected to grow from $59.49bn in 2021 to $67.60bn in 2022.
Microtransactions allow players to purchase in-game features such as outfits to display their playable characters in, or customized ‘skins’ for a weapon of choice.
The Goat Agency sketches out the future of gaming
Some argue that microtransactions take away from the gaming experience, with gamers buying their way to supremacy rather than putting in the hustle. But microtransactions will continue to feature in games due to the sheer size and consistency of revenue they bring in.
The ownership of in-game wearables shares frightening similarities to NFTs. Gamers feel a sense of pride while knee-sliding around dressed as Snoop Dogg in Warzone – almost as if it increases their playing abilities.
Speaking of NFTs, they’re also starting to associate themselves with gaming. The International Olympic Committee developed an NFT-centric game ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
2. Celebrities in games
Celebrity cameos and celeb-inspired merchandise are commonplace in today’s gaming sector. Franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty have both developed celebrity integrations.
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The Contract appeared in GTA Online late last year, an update comprising new missions and objectives. It is in the cut-scenes of these missions that Dr Dre appears, and the West Coast rapper/producer hires players for their less-than-legal services. As well as the downloadable content, The Contract was released as an album, featuring Eminem, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg.
Snoop Dogg has also recently featured in Call of Duty: Warzone via the Snoop Dogg bundle, which enables players to dress and talk like the rapper in-game. Snoop Dogg also joined forces with esports outfit Faze Clan in March, joining the company’s board of directors and also as a content creator.
3. The integration of the metaverse
The future of gaming looks likely to call upon immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse. With the metaverse alluding toward virtual coexistence, it’s unclear whether solo gaming titles will stick around. Perhaps a virtual universe will act as a hub from which separate titles can be activated.
Gaming is heading toward a virtual universe in which people can fully immerse themselves, play to earn virtual outfits and customizable paraphernalia, and meet with figures such as Snoop Dogg (although future generations may look to other prominent figures for idolization).
Real-world elements will likely be ingrained into the virtual realm, jettisoning real-world restraints. Feel like flying? Go ahead. Want to become a 20-foot titan? Why not.
4. The dominance of esports
Esports tournaments currently capture more interest from gen Z than the Uefa Champions League or Formula 1. It’s estimated that esports tournaments now have more viewers than every professional sports league bar the NFL in the United States.
According to Statista, global esports audiences reached 474 million last year, and are expected to hit 577 million by 2024.
Esports have encountered such a rise that it’s now a promising career opportunity for future generations. University students can now study for honors degrees in esports. With salaried gamers earning up to $60,000 per year, yearly tournament prize opportunities averaging at $50,000 and earnings from streaming, why wouldn’t it be a university course?
In the future, gamers will be able to play games for a career; earn valuable in-game assets; meet or even take on the persona of celebrities; and have the ability to immerse themselves in different virtual environments using VR technology.
If it isn’t already, gaming is going to become a lifestyle for future generations, rather than a pastime or hobby.
For more on all the different ways brands can advertise in gaming, from virtual billboards to product placements, social lenses and even games of their own, check out The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive.
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