Online gaming in the UK – what’s next for the industry?

Favourites such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario – giving way to a faster, quirkier digital era where everything from online bingo to virtual bowling have proved incredibly popular.

Internet-based games have also made it possible for developers to cut marketing and distributions costs and with Apple iPhone providing a stable marketing for the rise of mobile gaming, playing what you love on the go has never been so easy.

The gaming world has certainly experienced its fair share of adaptations, but with expectations rising and the target audience becoming increasingly demanding, it’s important to ask: What’s new for the industry? Will it crash and burn or will it continue to shock and surprise?

Console manufacturing

For the past decade, console manufacturing has been a rather simplistic process with console makers using one type of architecture for the lifespan of the machine in question – perhaps altering the HDD size or adding new peripherals but very rarely messing around with the processing capacity.

This no longer seems to cut the mustard, however, as Microsoft has recently set the trend for updating consoles like you would smartphones with the release of One S – a slim, white minor upgrade to the Xbox One and the predecessor to next year’s flashier upgrade codenamed Project Scorpio. Sony is also expected to announce its own upgrade for the PlayStation 4, codenamed Neo.

Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at IHS Digital confirms the idea that consoles are becoming more aligned to other consumer electronics categories stating: “the standardised components that are now being used to go into consoles means that upgrades are more numerous and easier to implement. The challenge for console manufacturers is adopting a more iterative lifecycle without fragmenting the addressable audience.”

To summarise then, it seem consoles are set to become increasingly like glorified smartphones; built to be adaptable on a two, rather than seven-year cycle and encouraging users to make updates.

Games to suit both parents and adults

If companies look to succeed in the gaming world it seems they need to delve into the minds of both parents and adults alike. A recent survey found that 75 per cent of UK adults now play games with their children with under tens taking most of their gaming recommendations from parents. So with grownups as advocates it’s essential to tap into the minds of both generations and come up with games that are both family friendly yet simplistic/challenging enough to appeal to both age groups.

Of course, Nintendo has operated in this space for many years already but the parent/child market looks set to expand considerably as the first generation of parents who grew up playing video games emerges.

360 degree gaming

There are many developments and trends that look set to change the gaming industry over the next couple of years, but 360 gaming is certainly one to watch. The ‘swipe’ generation are already used to seamlessly navigating between the real and digital world, switching gadgets and enjoying 360-degree play, where each platform adds something to their experience. The toys to life genre is also becoming increasingly popular with Skylanders, Disney Infinity and Nintendo’s Amiibo figures leading the way, so keep an eye out for more of these exciting 360-degree franchises.

Online gaming is exciting and fast-paced. It’s sure to change dramatically in ways we can’t yet even imagine yet and it’s thrilling to think about what might come next.

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