Online Gaming Comes of Age

The online gaming juggernaut continued its seemingly unstoppable march across the gaming landscape in 2016. By all accounts, 2017 is going to be an even bigger year for the industry as more developers turn to this new but by far, most promising segment of the market.

The trend has not gone unnoticed by the world’s biggest game design companies. Nintendo, which continues to earn massive revenues from its 2016 Augmented Reality (AR) hit, Pokemon Go, has already rung in the new year with another mobile game. The Japanese giant released Super Mario Run for iPhone in collaboration with DeNA, and plans to collaborate with other companies in the same vein.

However, games for smartphones and tablets are only one element of entertainment technology that comes under the vast online gaming umbrella. Its cousins like mobile esports, online casinos and mobile game live streaming are also making huge inroads into the mainstream entertainment market and expect to see the same levels of spectacular success in the coming year.

The Esports Evolution

Esports are one area to watch, literally. With audiences in the millions that consist largely of millennials who are ready to pay and play, e-gaming tournament live broadcasts have emerged as a solid source of advertising dollars.

Business Insider reports that expected revenue in 2017 will surpass $1 billion, prompting major networks like ESPN and Turner to give the genre a long-term international platform through their subscription services.

Massively popular online games have already dipped their toes in the Hollywood pond with movies like Warcraft becoming international blockbusters. With these developments, it is expected that they will now also start to break into the world of national TV.

Online Casinos Spread the Fun

You do not have to be James Bond in a monkey suit to get the thrill of Vegas any more. An increasing number of online casinos are now using improved internet security and encryption, and alternative payment methods like Bitcoin to bring the excitement of slots, tables and roulette wheels right to your home.

Companies like LeoVegas are changing the game with innovative twists on the traditional casino, offering games with themes from popular culture to attract an increasingly diverse crowd. Coupled with data that shows 40% of online gamblers in the U.S. and 49% in the U.K. are women, it seems there is ample room for growth here.

Live Games are the Future

There is a special thrill to competing against people right across the world in real time (especially if you beat them!) Games developers are banking on the popularity of this sentiment to draw large numbers of online gamers to live-streamed competitions.

The genre of games suited to live streaming is comparatively rather limited – FPS (first person shooters), player-vs.-player competition like Clash Royale and games with a massive following like Minecraft: Pocket Edition gained the most ground in 2016.

Major players like Apple and Google have recognised the potential live streaming holds, and are already pushing their own products into the market. 2017 will be a great time to be a live gamer.

Gaming is truly coming of age. VR headsets, augmented reality games and a slew of other technological wonders that were science fiction mere decades ago are changing how we entertain ourselves. Online gaming is growing exponentially and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future – and the planet’s 3.4 billion smartphone users could not be more thrilled.

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