The growth of the gaming industry in the late 20th and early 21st century is surely one of the greatest success stories of modern times. Once relegated to a curiosity, it has become one of the biggest and most exciting fields of entertainment since the inception of the film studio. But where is it likely to go next and what’s in store for the future?
Streaming services have revolutionized the film and TV industry. Now, over the past half a decade, the industry has taken advantage of this technology and things have become very interesting. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon now have their own streaming services. The arrival of 5G will only up the stakes for these companies to produce quality, high-end, high-performance games via streaming services. Off the back of this new innovativeness, the success will likely be measured in hours played rather than units sold. We are already seeing some developers looking to follow a subscription model, rather than a single sale. In turn, to keep up with the needs of players, there will be less focus on developing for a single platform and transitioning over to multi-platforms, including mobile.
The industry will likely make use of the individual demographic game data gathered by AI. Access to games and technology is becoming more widespread across different demographics and using this data will change how developers view their target audience. We'll see more cross-cultural platforms being developed which has the potential to utterly transform the industry into something more inclusive and wider reaching. It has the potential result of more diverse plot-lines and characters as well as previously unheard voices in development. In terms of players, it’s female, the older generation, players under the ages of 18 and overseas Virtual Private Network (VPN) users that are going to drive exponential growth in the gaming space over the next decade.
The use of mobile gaming is ever increasing and we've already seen some ground broken in terms of augmented reality. One example of this is Pokémon Go, which introduced some new ways of thinking about gaming out in the real world. Here, there is the potential for bringing a social element of gaming to a wider audience, and taking the focus away from desktops and onto smart phones. There is a discussion to be had about how Artificial Intelligence will figure in development. Previous models of non-playable characters have very much worked on designed scripts. AI may be introduced to the field of character creation and interaction, though whether this yields greater player engagement remains to be seen.
What is more certain is that AI will play a greater part in the process-heavy areas of development. Currently, designers may spend a lot of their time creating assets. AI will be able to generate these to a much greater extent and speed up development in the process. AI will also certainly play a big part in the field of data optimization. We've already seen this in location-based mobile games, but we are likely to see further drilling down. Developers will also be able to gather data on how players interact with the game and AI will assess lulls in engagement so that technical content can be modified accordingly.