Gaming has seen a massive boom during the pandemic, with a US study by Morgan Stanley finding the gaming population grew by 31% in 2020, up from just 7% in the previous two years.
And while some of those new gamers will undoubtedly lose interest as the world opens up again, three key trends aren’t likely to go away any time soon:
- We’re seeing more gamers and more time spent on gaming.
- Players are connecting across the world, creating a global market.
- Microtransactions and in-game monetization offer more benefits from increasing usage.
Although gamers are stereotyped as introverts, gaming is increasingly becoming a way to make, build and maintain social relationships. The Morgan Stanley study also found that 30% of gamers say they game primarily for the social aspect, and more than a quarter of under-35s think games are a better place to socialise than social media itself.
This suggests a merging of gaming and social media, which could boost the growing popularity of virtual and augmented reality platforms. The social aspect of gaming also drives an important source of revenue for the gaming industry: microtransactions. People spend money in games not only to gain an edge in the game itself, but also to dress up their avatars and acquire fancy cars to impress fellow gamers.
New games on new platforms
2021 saw the release of several new gaming consoles, with new processor architecture, faster storage and higher visual resolution, opening up opportunities for game makers to release ground-breaking new titles or enhanced versions of old ones.
With many popular mobile games having started life as console games, there’s also an opportunity to go the other way and reimagine console games for today’s mobile devices. The marketing of these games and consoles may continue to drive spending in the years to come.