Published on December 13th, 2018 | by gareth0
2018’s Most Innovative Online Gaming Trends
The year 2018 has been quite a one for the gaming industry: we’ve seen a wealth of innovation from developers and every month has pretty much delivered quality game releases. Rockstar Games (finally!) released the most-anticipated follow-up title of the decade — Red Dead Redemption 2 — and the ‘battle royale’ genre (a la Fortnite and PUBG) once again, revitalised PC gaming. Along with the highs, there have been quite a few lows — pre-ordering for betas, aka demos (really?) — but so many advances have been made within the industry this year. It’s little wonder, then, that the global gaming industry generated staggering revenue estimates of over $137 million.
While the more traditional console formats still rank highly among gamers across the world, there’s one sector of the industry that has broken the mould this year as far as trends and innovation goes: the online gaming sector. From esports leagues to online casino gaming, here’s a summary of 2018’s most successful online gaming trends.
There’s been no escaping blockchain technology and its associated cryptocurrencies this year, especially in the online gaming world. The blockchain, by its nature, is a disruptive technology, and it’s left a mark on the gaming industry, generating new ways for digital-savvy players to interact with gaming platforms and take ownership of their digital assets.
One of the key developments in 2018 has been the emergence of blockchain games, such as BitGuild’s Magic Academy, which is based on the Tron (TRX) network. It’s standard fantasy fare as far as gameplay goes, with wizards, dragons and warriors all battling it out. However, they do so for the in-game currency: Jade. Jade is an actual cryptocurrency, a TRC20 token, and as players make progress within the game, its production rate also increases.
The year 2018 has also seen an explosion of entertaining and innovative experiences emerge within the iGaming verticals. Another sector of the online gaming industry that embraced the potential of technology, platforms and developers also made iGaming more accessible to everyday players this year. Innovations like online slots games based on blockbuster movies and even free-to-play virtual reality poker experiences appeal to a broad demographic of gamers, and not only those with prior casino experience. iGaming platforms operating today have considerable resources, and they successfully integrated cutting-edge technology into their offering, making playing in an online casino a unique and interactive experience.
Competitive online video gaming, aka esports, experienced considerable growth this year. So much so that many anticipate revenue from the sector to reach the $900 million mark at the end of December. The year 2018 has been a defining year for professional gaming, not only in the eye-watering revenues associated with it but also, in relation to the memorable events that occurred within the sector.
During the League of Legends World Championship Grand Final between Invictus Gaming and Fnatic, over 205 million people tuned in to watch Invictus Gaming slay the esports vets. That not only broke viewing records for previous finals events but it also topped viewing figures for the Super Bowl. Therefore, making it one of the decade’s most popular sports events.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) have been around the gaming world for some time now. However, in 2018, we saw a more concentrated effort on the part of developers and gaming manufacturers to integrate the technology. Even further, global spending on VR and AR (including both consumer spending and development) is expected to increase to 69 percent in 2019.
The buzz around VR may have quieted down somewhat, but the technology continues to develop and expand. Sales on hardware, such as the Oculus Gear VR and the PlayStation VR, reached millions of units sold this year, and over on Steam, more gamers than ever before connected their headsets.
Interestingly, despite being much more convenient to integrate and market (it neither requires additional hardware like headsets nor the high development funds associated with VR), we’re still waiting for AR to take off properly in the online gaming industry. Some say it’s only a matter of time before an AR game reaches the mainstream again properly, but two years on from Pokémon GO, there’s still yet a significant breakthrough.