What does the future of gaming hold?
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What does the future of gaming hold?

What does the future of gaming hold?

Commercially and technically, the video games industry has always been ahead of the curve, driven by tech-savvy creators and early adopters

The Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed the face of the gaming industry and accelerated its development. As many people were in isolation and craved a human connection, the low entry barrier of mobile gaming drove traffic and revenue until eventually overtaking the traditional PC and console segments. The Middle East and Africa region is at the forefront of this transformation, with one of the highest mobile penetrations in the world, and this trend is expected to continue in the future.

Another consequence of the pandemic would be the partial replacement of social media by video game streaming platforms. The number of hours watched on Twitch rocketed from 3.1 billion in Q1 2020 to 6.5 billion in Q2 2021, a growth that attracted the attention of industry stakeholders. Consequently, game publishers are trying to find new ways of boosting fan engagement and monetisation by partnering with content creators and leveraging the interactive live features of these platforms. New movers are also entering the space, as is the case for Tik Tok recently launching its live stream capabilities.

But the most significant change the gaming industry is currently undergoing is integrating Web 3.0 technologies in its core. “Play to earn” problematics are on the rise, as shown by a consumer insight survey from Newzoo that points out a strong desire from players to trade in-game with real money. The idea of integrating transactions into games has been around for a long time, but publishers have historically been reluctant moderating in-game money exchanges. However, things are changing; and the introduction of new technologies is offering vast possibilities. Game publishers are now first in line to work on blockchain technologies and find a way to facilitate and secure player-to-player in-game transactions.

In parallel, the fast development of the Metaverse brings an arsenal of opportunities for game developers and virtual reality equipment manufacturers. These new technologies promise an immersive first-person video game experience that many players crave.

The Metaverse will also be a virtual reality where people can showcase their collection of non-fungible token (NFTs) – the importance of avatar cosmetics and personalisation options have been around since the inception of video games. Fashion brands are capitalising on these opportunities to distribute their products to a whole new type of clientele, and influencers have begun to create their collection of NFT while actively pushing for mass adoption of these tokens.

Esports’ relationship with blockchain and NFTs is just beginning to thrive. Historically, financially reliant on sponsorship, esports organisations and teams are striving to find new sources of income. As a result, they are starting to adopt NFTs to remodel the esports fan experience. Organisations are putting loyalty and rewards programmes on the blockchain, allowing their fans to trade digital goods and earn digital rewards based on their engagement and participation in certain events. This new model increases engagement and personal investment in esports and will most definitely be transferred to traditional sports in the near future.

Chloé Brissaud is the communications lead at YaLLa Esports

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