2021 was a significant year for the gaming industry. Following 2020’s massive global spike in the popularity of gaming, 2021 transpired to be the industry’s biggest year yet. According to Newzoo, revenue was up by 1.4% to $180.3 billion and gaming audiences increased to 3 billion players.
Turning our glances forward, however, what are the trends that we can expect to see dominating the industry in 2022 and beyond?
Let’s take a look.
The Big Releases for 2022
If 2021 was gaming’s best year to date, 2022 will be the gamer’s best to date. There’s a whole host of new releases lined up, from top new gaming titles to exciting gaming experiences across console, PC and mobile.
On the new releases roster, we’ll be welcoming Elden Ring, God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West and Bethseda’s much-anticipated Starfield. Apex Legends will be making the move to mobile, 2015’s Life Is Strange will be given a fresh new makeover and Diablo Immortal will be hitting new platforms.
As for new video gaming tech, the Steam Deck will open up new levels of portability for PC gamers, while both Microsoft’s Game Pass and the PlayStation Now streaming service will keep cloud gaming at the forefront.
Transmedia’s Breakthrough Year
Just a decade or so ago, filmmakers struggled to make big-screen gaming adaptations successful. However, more lately we’ve seen a wave of high-quality gaming IP adaptations, from TV shows to movies and even cross-gaming promotions.
2022 is set to be a breakthrough year for transmedia. Adaptations of Fallout, Borderlands, and the hit franchise The Last of Us are slated for the next 12 months, while the cross-overs between games like Fortnite and League of Legends are set to continue. We can expect to see gaming publishers make a concerted effort to build new gaming IP and push for integration into other media.
Large multimedia and tech companies are also expanding their portfolios by investing in and commissioning gaming experiences. Not content with owning a significant market share for TV and movie streaming, entertainment giant Netflix will make a move into gaming this year. Meanwhile, Zoom has been able to capitulate on the global demand for gaming experiences by integrating several games into its video call software. Even Peloton is starting to dip its toes into offering enhanced workouts using in-app gaming.
iGaming over the next 12 Months
As a market segment, iGaming, which encompasses online casino, poker and sports betting activities, is one of the most lucrative in the industry. Year after year, revenues within the sector surpass previous records and its focus on technological innovation ensures its consistent popularity. While the popularity of staple games like online slots and Texas Hold’em is incredibly unlikely to diminish anytime soon, we can expect 2022 to bring about several new trends in the iGaming sector.
Upgraded gaming experiences, for example, will take centre stage as the decade progresses. Today’s players demand smooth, seamless and instant gaming experiences across the board, and this is one area in which iGaming providers do need to catch up to their video gaming counterparts. The focus will be on faster registrations and withdrawal processes, easy navigation and bespoke user interfaces on both desktop and mobile.
Additionally, while operators may not be able to develop brand new casino games, they will be upgrading the ways in which gamers interact with them. New challenges and tournaments will likely roll out across platforms and players will be given the opportunity to compete for loyalty points amongst other incentives.
Cryptocurrency is also likely to make a bigger impact on the segment in 2022 and beyond, particularly as gaming steps further and further into the metaverse.
Speaking of cryptocurrency, gaming remains crypto’s biggest proponent in the metaverse and will undoubtedly gain further traction as the year progresses.
According to the Blockchain Game Alliance’s latest annual report, metaverse-based NFT games generated as much as $2.32 billion in revenue in 2021. This was achieved despite the momentum in the concept only picking up during late autumn, so a full 12 months of rollout will make this year an especially significant one for blockchain games in the metaverse.