Video games have gradually increased in popularity for years. And with people seeking new ways to stay entertained and to socialise in recent times, that trend has only grown. Gaming is now bigger than sports and movies combined.
So, where else is there for the industry to go? Culturally, gaming will become more mainstream.
We’re already seeing more gamers use their smartphones and tablets to access their favourite social apps or mobile online casino, in addition to their home console games. But what can we expect in 2022? What technology trends will crop up or increase or get even bigger? And just how sophisticated will these trends be?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used in gaming for decades, most prominently expressed in non-player characters (NPCs), such as in Grand Theft Auto and even as far back as Pac-Man.
Game makers in recent years have opted for a more sophisticated approach to NPCs, with many now including behaviour trees in their coding that enable them to perform more complex decision-making. For example, the aliens in Halo 2 can join forces and coordinate attacks.
At the end of the day, NPCs are limited to what’s been predetermined by their programming. Their behaviour – no matter how intelligent it appears – can’t exceed the game designers’ instructions. While not all experts agree, that doesn’t mean we won’t see more advanced AI in commercial games in the future.
Including more sophisticated NPCs in games may well be possible. But if it’s expensive and fails to make an improvement to the playing experience, studios will have no motivation to make it happen. Some designers, however, persist in using NPC enhancements, especially when it comes to working out how to make them more human-like and believable.
It’s been estimated that the blockchain gaming business will generate $218 billion by 2023, up from $175 billion in 2020. It’s also been estimated that $168 billion would be spent on in-game purchases by 2023.
Blockchain has opened up new possibilities for gaming. That explains why so many companies have decided to adopt the technology. It certainly makes sense why the gambling industry, in particular, uses blockchain technology, as it’s impossible for hackers to delete or alter a transaction on the blockchain, thanks to the sophisticated data encryption methods used. Gaming can take advantage of this technology to increase the security of in-game transactions.
It’s now possible for in-game assets to be developed and stored on the blockchain. It was a key trend to keep an eye out for in 2021. This year, it will be right at the apex of the industry’s trend.
Not every improvement in technological sophistication has to revolve around a recent tech breakthrough. Graphics have come a long way in gaming. Only basic graphics were available on first-generation home consoles such as the Atari 2600 due to the limited computing capacity. In the decades that led up to this contemporary age of 3D graphics, gaming saw improved visuals and the evolution of such complex features as computer technology. As a result, sophisticated graphics are one of the trends to look out for in 2022.
Another welcome estimate for the gaming industry predicts 27 billion people would play mobile games around the world by 2023. There are some impressive mobile gaming accessories around for gamers too, which surely helps. The market continues to change, just like gaming preferences and technology. And as the rivalry among game developers continues to increase, we can expect the gaming experience to continue to improve right alongside it.