Any industry that reaches $196 billion in revenue is clearly doing something right. The online gaming industry has experienced rapid growth over the past five years, and the signs are positive for the future, too — some experts predict that it could be worth an eye-watering $430 billion by 2030.
This might be surprising to people who only know about Candy Crush and Flappy Bird, but to anyone who’s been paying attention, the growth of online gaming is anything but shocking. The industry has been working hard to produce an engaging, immersive gameplay experience in recent years. And now, the fruits of those labors are beginning to bear fruit.
You Can Play All Types of Games
People haven’t always played games online. In the early days of the web, only hardcore gamers spent time playing online. But in the past decade, the audience for online gaming has grown significantly, to the point where it’s now worth a staggering $56 billion. And that’s no accident. It’s down to a combination of accessibility (more people are connected to the web than ever) and the range of games available. Today, gamers can play MMORPGs, casino games, sports video games, and first-person shooters all online. And crucially, the online version of these games isn’t a second-rate impersonation of “the real thing”; in most cases, the online version offers a better experience.
There’s a Social Factor
People used to play games for entertainment purposes, and they still do. But they also now play games for another purpose: to stay connected to the people they know, and to build new connections. Games have long had online integration, but now, the online factor is front and center and is a fundamental component of the experience. With a few clicks of a button, people can join a virtual realm and just hang around and compete with people they know or complete strangers. Many games also make it possible to share scores and other information via WhatsApp , Facebook, and Twitter, helping to drive the view that gaming is no longer an isolated experience, but a community one.
Anyone Can Play
Online gaming has helped to remove many of the barriers that prevented people from playing games in the past. In the days of arcade gaming, you’d need to live close to an arcade — and have transportation to get there — in order to play titles. In the era of console gaming, you’d need to invest in an expensive console before you even had a chance to play games, which were also expensive. To enjoy online gaming, you only need two things: a device and an internet connection, and they’re two things that the vast majority of people already have. The number of free games available means anyone with even a mild interest in online gaming can try their hand at new titles.
There Are More Development Companies Than Ever
Online games aren’t just plentiful. They’re also good. And that’s thanks to technological advances and the sheer number of game development companies, which help to create competition and ensure that standards are always improving. With competition for audiences stronger than ever, game development companies must push the boundaries of what’s possible — and that’s something that very much benefits the gamer.
It Fits in with Our Lifestyles
Finally, online gaming fits in with modern lifestyles in ways that more traditional forms of gaming do not. Not everyone can afford to spend hours completing a complicated major console title. But virtually everyone can spend 5-20 minutes playing games on their smartphone while they’re on their way to work, waiting for a friend, or taking a break.