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Online Gaming Trends in 2022

Whether you enjoy playing casino games at your favourite casino online on your mobile phone, like to relax on the couch in front of your video game console or prefer to settle into your elite gaming chair in front of your PC to battle online, there’s absolutely no doubt that there’s never been a better time to be a gamer.

What does the future hold for online gaming? We take a look at seven online gaming trends for 2022.

1. The continued growth of competitive esports and esports betting

The esports industry has exploded in popularity in recent years, with fans of popular competitive games filling up stadiums or joining incredibly high budget online video streams to see their favourite players battle it out in a variety of titles. The best players receive millions of dollars every year in salary money, prizes, and sponsorships, surpassing the earnings of some who take part in real professional sports. And this is unlikely to change any time soon. Statistics site Statista shows that the esports market was worth $947.1 million in 2020, grew to $1,084 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $1,617 million by 2024.

And as this industry continues to grow, so will fans’ desire to wager on their favourite players and teams. While esports gambling is still relatively new and niche, it’s virtually a given that it will enter the mainstream gambling space in the coming years, with fans being able to place bets on both esports and sports athletes and teams that they love at major online sportsbooks.

2. The line between gaming and media companies will start to blur

While Hollywood and other media companies have dabbled with gaming-related content in the past, these attempts, even if they did make money, have been lack-luster at best. Thankfully the tide seems to be changing since the games companies themselves are becoming highly involved in making sure their brands grow even stronger through their ventures in other media.

Nowhere was this clearer than with Riot Games’ release of Arcane, a Netflix series based on their popular massive online battle arena game, League of Legends, which rapidly hit the number one spot on Netflix’s Top 10 in many countries around the world. This was only possible due to Riot’s close relationship with studio Fortiche, a French animation company with which the game’s developer had worked in the past on numerous other promotional pieces. Not only was the show a smash-hit, but they also did cross-media promotions, with players of League of Legends able to get cosmetics for characters that appeared in the show if they played during an event called Riot X Arcane.

The likes of Halo, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and many more mega-hit games are set to arrive on our television and movie screens in 2022 and beyond. With Arcane, Riot Games and Fortiche showing the rest of the industry how it can (and should) be done, it’s likely that we’ll see even more games companies get closely involved in the development of non-video game media and even more cross-promotional events, bringing the worlds of the games and shows and movies even closer together.

3. More and better cloud gaming as 5G access increases

While cloud gaming services like Nvidia’s Geforce Now and Google’s Stadia have been around for a few years now, these services still don’t quite offer the same experience as playing a game directly from your console, computer or mobile device. This is due to the fact that it takes time to send and receive data via the cloud.

However, 5G, which offers greatly improved latency (sending and receiving of data speeds), could help improve the experience offered by cloud gaming services, particularly for people who want to play on the go. And while it may still be a bit behind playing via software installed directly on your device, it will undoubtedly be a step forward towards the future.

4. More games publishers will move towards subscription models

Many game developers and publishers have started to realise that they could make more money from a Netflix-like subscription model, rather than charging people a once-off fee to purchase the game. This monthly fee will give players access to a variety of titles, including some of the latest releases. Some of the major subscription services you can enjoy include Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now, EA Play, Apple Arcade, and Google Play Pass.

5. Portable and mobile gaming will become even more popular

While many gamers have turned to their mobile devices to enjoy some of the best online games on the go, others are turning to dedicated devices (like the soon-to-be-released Steam Deck) to enjoy cutting-edge mobile gaming experiences. Mobile phones and tablets have undoubtedly become more popular due to their increase in speed, but not everyone enjoys playing games with touchscreen controls or add-on controllers. Dedicated portable gaming machines are designed first and foremost for games, and offer players a superior experience for those who don’t like the control systems offered by mobile devices.

Many devices like the Steam Deck also allow you to play a huge library of games, either directly on the device, or via cloud gaming services since they have full controller support out of the box. This means developers don’t need to go in and add touchscreen support to many existing titles.

No matter which way you prefer to play, there’s no doubt that typical mobile devices, as well as the dedicated mobile gaming machines that we have on the way, will make portable gaming even more popular.

6. More major games, particularly online titles, will be released unfinished

One of the downsides to online gaming is the current trend for developers to release games that are arguably unfinished, with the aim of patching and providing updates to players after the game has been released. While platforms like Steam’s Early Access system make it clear that you’re buying a game that is still in development, other developers have gotten sloppy and released games that really need more work.

The most recent example of this is Electronic Art’s Battlefield 2042, which had so many problems that the Steam player base shrunk from over 100,000 regular players to about 50,000 in just under a month since the game’s release in late November.

7. Live dealer games will continue on their upward trajectory

In the past, many people didn’t have fast enough broadband internet to use a live dealer online casino gaming service. Thankfully internet speeds, stability, and latency have massively increased since the early 2000s (particularly in the wireless mobile space) and now many people have access to a connection that allows them to play live dealer games with good video quality and quick responsiveness. This is why many more online gamblers are starting to turn to live dealer games instead of their dedicated software alternatives. Not only do they get to play their favourite game on the internet, but they can also do it in a more social environment, combining the best elements of both online and offline casino gaming.

Enjoy the best gambling games in 2022 with Mecca Games

No matter what direction the gaming industry goes in the coming years, you know you can have a great time at Mecca Games. At our online casino site, you can enjoy a great range of experiences including the best online slot games, live dealer titles, Slingo games, and much more!

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/ 31 December 2021