Gaming has been around in some shape or form since Atari brought Pong to the arcades in 1972 and then the home console version in 1975. To say that things have changed a bit in the last fifty years would be somewhat of an understatement, yet the changes that are coming now are another giant step for the gaming industry. 

The video gaming industry is estimated to be worth US $180 billion at the start of 2022. It is expected to rise to US $314 billion by 2026. There are currently 2.5 billion people worldwide who are gamers, with 70% of players being over 18. It is claimed that a third of the world’s population now participates in the gaming industry be that via console, PC or mobile phone.

What has driven this massive growth is threefold.

The first step was the technological advances in mobile technology that turned people’s phones into handheld consoles with thousands of new mobile games becoming available. 

Secondly, the pandemic drove millions of people to spend more time at home on screens, which led them to explore the world of gaming. 

The third and latest step is the development of cloud-based gaming which means that everyone, regardless of the device that they are playing on, has access to the most technologically demanding games. This streaming model allows the gamer to have game audio and video transmitted to them without needing to store a video game on their device. In short, the storage capacity of the device is irrelevant. In addition, big companies like Google and Sony are developing applications that are no longer tied to hardware capabilities. Experts consider cloud gaming to be the primary trend in the market with the introduction of 5G as a data transfer standard.

Online gambling will also continue to be a large part of the overall gaming market in 2022. The market was worth around US$ 44 billion in 2019. It is estimated that by 2026 that figure will be around $67 billion. Much of the growth is down to the improvement in casino streaming via cloud-based services. Operators have been able to deploy multi-platform, cutting edge technology to provide players with an immersive and hyper-real experience. All across the world, from online gambling in India, to the UK and Australia, the trend is likely to continue with play from real venues and human hosts making the experience even more interesting.

This top-notch experience is likely to become even better with the introduction of AI into the gaming world. AI allows the gaming platform to effectively teach itself how to act and react through trial and error. This machine learning is known as reinforcement technology. This means that when a player logs onto a game or an online casino, their previous activity may affect how the game pans out for them in the future. 

Developers are interested in how they can use AI to increase cooperation. In online gambling, in particular, this is an opportunity to make the experience safer for the player. Essentially, the game will continue to develop beyond what the developers programmed into the experience. Natural language processing, player modelling and machine learning will allow developers to create imaginative, reactive characters in video games.

Inevitably, technology also seems to be taking us in the direction of the Metaverse. A fully immersive world where your avatar interacts seamlessly across platforms and across games with cryptocurrencies being used for transactions. While the timescales for this to be realised are still unclear, this is certainly a trend to be watching out for.

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