Virtual reality has grown in popularity as the possibility of a metaverse becomes more real. (Image from Official GDC)
This past year was filled with lots of exciting developments and progress for the video games market. With 2022 just getting underway, it’s important to reflect back on 2021 to better understand what’s to come for the video game and esports industries moving forward.
1. Virtual reality and the metaverse are heating up
While it’s just getting started, the metaverse has the potential to break the barrier between our physical and virtual worlds. Virtual reality video games have already been around for a long time, but with Meta’s commitment to VR, the immersive, digital medium can provide so much more than just entertainment.
As Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 surpasses over 10 million units sold, the potential of virtual reality and the metaverse is through the roof.
Ooooh @Qualcomm's @cristianoamon is talking about #XR leadership and @Meta partnership as well as others like @Lenovo and says their technologies are the ticket into the #Metaverse says Quest 2 was 10 million units and that was @Snapdragon XR2 #QID2021 pic.twitter.com/bA4MhFdRuU— Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) November 16, 2021
2. NFTs and cryptocurrencies are providing new ways to play games
The crypto boom of 2021 took the entire world by storm. Over 20% of Americans owned some cryptocurrency last year, according to a survey commissioned by Finder. That’s a large increase from only 7.8% of Americans owning crypto in 2018.
For the esports industry, this opened the door to new partnerships with blockchain companies. For the video game industry, new ways to play video games emerged. By using the blockchain for in-game items, players can own the cards, clothes, or pets that they have in certain games like Axie Infinity. The door has been opened for the blockchain and NFTs to be the future of gaming, and 2022 will be a key time to see this trend unfold.
3. Mobile gaming is king
In the second half of 2020, developer miHoYo released Genshin Impact to the world on PC, console, and mobile. Ever since, it has captivated millions of players, especially on mobile. In 2021, the free-to-play game generated over $1 billion from the mobile version alone, according to Sensor Tower.
With the popularity of Riot Games’ League of Legends: Wild Rift, it’s clear that mobile games are a fan-favorite for gamers. Going into 2022, fans should expect an even greater focus on these games as they continue to generate money for developers.
4. Gaming is for everyone
Despite controversies, 2021 has shown why video games and the gaming industry as a whole should be an open and welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexuality.
With initiatives from esports leagues to bring women into the industry, It’s clear that several video game companies are looking to invest in a diverse player base.
5. Companies need to create their own identity
As the video game and esports markets continue to heat up, everyone will be looking to get their piece of the pie. For a new start-up company looking to make a name for itself in the gaming market, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Correctly marketing to the young generations of gamers is crucial, and it is very hard to do without a plan.
Video game marketing companies are here to help. With proper knowledge of the industry and how to connect with esports fans and gamers, video game marketing companies can guide you into this wonderful digital world.
There has been a lot to be excited about this past year. If 2021 is any indication, the video game and esports markets are at the best they have ever been. This growth will only continue as more players and fans join. The new year is only a month in so far, but it already has a lot stored up for the future.
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