The pandemic was a huge life-changing event for people all over the world. It had a humongous effect on a lot of industries and businesses. However, with normalcy resumed and the pandemic relegated to memories, it is easy to dismiss its effects of it. Although a lot of the innovations and solutions developed as a response to the pandemic continue to produce effects. Online gaming is one such industry that was forced to take a different approach, and in fact, it was one of the few industries to thrive. Let’s take a look at what this has meant for online gaming two years on.
Online gaming saw a huge increase in popularity during the pandemic. People were stuck at home, bored, and they needed something to do to help the time pass. Gaming was already easily accessible, relying in large part on an internet connection and nothing more – although, of course, a lot of people do play consoles, they aren’t mandatory. People got more into gaming, and as a result, more games were released. Online gaming continues to prioritise accessibility. Developers also put more thought into the social aspects of the game because people were crying out for human contact. The social aspects of the games were transformative, and as such, developers continue to look for ways to make games more social. For example, in the last few years, the number of casinos like – Play Live – offering live play games has increased. It helps to provide a more authentic experience to players.
In the last decade or so, the idea of a professional gamer has become a more viable career choice for a lot of people. During the pandemic, the need for content and entertainment obviously grew. Streaming gameplay was already popular, but it really expanded during the pandemic. Twitch and YouTube channels dedicated to gameplay continue to benefit from an increased viewership even now. Gaming tournaments were also streamed online, which helped to widen their appeal and provided them with a global audience.
Game Creation & Development
Social distancing and work-from-home schemes had a profound effect on a lot of different industries, including game development. Some areas of the industry were relatively unaffected and even began to thrive under the different parameters, and other areas weren’t as lucky. Sales figures for consoles and gamers were some of the highest seen in over a decade. The boon in profits has since allowed development companies to reinvest in the product. In addition, their products received more feedback allowing them to refine them while getting a better understanding of what consumers are looking for. Finally, during the pandemic, some games still in their developmental phase had to be halted or shut down due to restrictions. The games that were unfortunately postponed are now beginning to progress through development, and in some cases, this postponement was rather fortuitous. It has allowed the developers to rethink aspects and make improvements to the games in order to ensure that the game will appeal to its target audience.
Operating Systems & Gameplay Options
The pandemic led to several necessary shifts in terms of gameplay and operating systems. Cloud gaming is on the rise in part because of its compatibility with mobile game delivery. Industry leaders like Amazon and Google continue to inch closer to the release of their own cloud-based gaming systems. Cloud-based gaming is still a little ways off, but strides have been made in the last couple of years. This is exciting for a number of reasons, and not least because it has the power to truly transform gaming for players around the world.
Merging Gaming and Other Forms of Entertainment
Video games have long since had a symbiotic relationship with other forms of media. Dating back to the 80s, when the first cartoons based on video games were released. Gaming has continued to offer more opportunities for other forms of media. It moulds to worlds together. In recent years one of the best examples of this is the film Free Guy which details the trials and tribulations of an online games NPC player who comes to life. However, this isn’t the only example; some games get so popular that they explode into the zeitgeist. Take Fortnite as an example. The game blew up and led to concerts, dance crazes, viral content and more.
The Bottom Line
The pandemic was rough for a lot of people, industries, and institutions. There are no two ways about it. However, it also revealed a lot of truths and allowed many businesses and industries to innovate and implement strategies that are still used today. The gaming industry was one of the few fortunate to be positively impacted by the pandemic. The necessary pivots and changes in approach have continued to benefit the industry today and shed insight that facilitates further innovation.