Throughout the pandemic there has been a huge rise in the number of people gaming, across all spheres of the popular pastime. Multiplayer gaming in particular has become more prevalent, with more people becoming familiar with the technology, which also has kept us in contact with family and friends during the enforced lockdowns.
That need for social interaction has led to some people suggesting that gaming has become the new social network. With heads of business commenting that gaming on Minecraft is safer than interacting on Facebook, it shows how much of an impact the popular hobby has had. So, after the influx of new gamers brought on by the lockdowns around the world, it points to a more communal society with gaming at its heart.
Therefore, let’s take a look at some trends which could become increasingly popular amongst gamers going forward.
There’s been something of a boom in VR gaming with a host of games now grossing sales of over $1 million. People are lapping up the experience of titles like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, which has made over $29 million for its developers Skydance. There are real opportunities for other gaming areas which have seen growth, to also exploit this step into VR further. Online poker is experiencing a new surge in interest too, and it could profit from the technology. There are a limited number of poker titles that exist in VR, but none which yet feel like they’ve fully immersed themselves into what the game can offer. It’s arguably the ideal time for the two to truly come together.
Another popular pastime that was once mainly played in halls around the world is bingo. However, during the lockdown it’s become even more popular to play from home. It’s been noted that the free versions of the game on the social networks have driven people to investigate what other options are on offer. As ‘social casino’ play has seen growth surpass 28% during the last couple of years. This ultimate guide to bingo on Gala Bingo drew some comparisons between “online” and “traditional” bingo, and made some interesting observations that speak to the game’s potential in VR, too. It can easily be used to replicate the feeling of being in a bingo hall, all whilst sat in your living room. It’s convenient but it could be just as close to it’s more traditional and communal setting, if the platform is built right.
As we slowly integrate back into the world, it could see a return to mobile as the real super power in the gaming space. Arguably there was no better demonstration of the power of the platform than the release of Pokémon Go in 2016. The game, which encouraged players to get out into their community, wandering the streets in search of collectable monsters, was probably the biggest, public demonstration of what Augmented Reality can do. More recently, it’s been the much more sedentary, Among Us, which captured the imagination of gamers. The game which sees ten characters thrown onto a spaceship with one as the imposter, and they’re the only one who is aware of who they are, leaving the rest to use their powers of persuasion to find out the secret. It’s a real social experience and certainly fitting of the more social aspect that people desire from games. Just as Pokémon Go spawned a host of imitations, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more games of the ilk of Among Us hit the app stores, too.
We’ve touched on Pokémon Go already as the icon in gaming when it comes to AR, but it seems that some of the world’s biggest brands are finally connecting with the technology. Instagram has been utilized by musicians in terms of AR, with well known fast food chains getting involved with filters on Snapchat, too. The biggest statement though comes from Ray-Ban. They recently released their ‘Stories’ brand of eyewear, supported by Facebook which look like their popular Wayfarer sunglasses. Whilst we’ve seen these things before in Google Glass, the peripherals have never really had uniform backing from social network giants. Also, some could say the previous efforts to make this eyewear have been a little, ugly. This could herald a reintroduction of a Pokémon Go experience we have previously had. With gaming companies already partnering with the social media giants, as there are games built into Facebook already too, we could literally soon ‘see’ the new social gaming experience that we never believed could be possible.