What’s to come?!
In order to surmise what the future may bring for the gaming Industry and how it may affect our health, we will first look at the most popular and profitable sector at present and how this might develop.
According to Mediakix, “The global gaming market is expected to exceed $180 billion in revenues in 2021, growing 30.6% from $137.9 billion in 2018. At $70.3 billion, the mobile gaming industry accounts for more than half of all global gaming revenue in 2018”.
With new phones and technology being released all the time, it is fair to say trends will likely continue, with a lot of the larger gaming developers wanting to focus on mobile gaming, due to its vast revenue generation.
It is very likely over time that both VR and AR experiences will end up in the palm of our hand, with our mobile phones being the medium of which we access it, so there is no end in sight for mobile gaming.
In terms of our health, we know that mobile gaming can be distracting from social experiences but also a time killer in boring situations. The cause for concern would be with young people having access to mobile gaming at all times and be at risk of developing poor social skills and be more likely be distracted.
Any effects that would be caused by AR or VR on mobile devices will be analysed below.
With VR being a growing medium of gaming, it is likely the technology will develop, becoming more realistic and immersive and may be preferable to real life. This may curb important responsibilities such as work or study and could cause some serious social problems. It is easy to see why this may be, as we may find our virtual representations to be more successful and respected than in the physical world.
It may have advantageous uses in tourism, meaning you will be able to experience cultures and locations without having to leave your house. This may be fulfilling to certain tourists, but might actually promote going to these places in real life. A great advantage of VR is that it will allow people to experience things they had no idea of, prior to the experience.
Now, turning to AR, which is fairly similar to VR, but uses sensors to gather information on your surroundings, before allowing for the space to be inhabited by generated 3D images.
It is clear to see the uses going forward with being able to simulate objects and designs in front of our eyes; manufacturers will be able to design, tweak and preview their creations before physically building the item in question. This will look to improve on our current designs and will likely affect gaming, as it will be easier to design and edit whilst being inside the world itself.
AR also allows us to do away with having to purchase physical games, as we can simply simulate them. Long gone could be the times of counting money in Monopoly if the board, game pieces, cards and currency are simulated and generated in front of us. This will allow us to purchase and download simulated physical items without needing to go to the shop.
There is also the possibility for previewing items, such as furniture or clothing, prior to their purchase or having to physically experience the items, first hand. This may have an effect on how people decide to make purchases. It may be entirely possible to preview a new look, or decorate your living space with virtual décor before committing to the purchases.
In general, the Video Games Industry will look to capitalise on the newest and most innovative thing at the time and it is entirely possible that profit will come before health when the larger gaming developers decide how they are to market their products.
However, as indie developers gain ground, times may change in the future with more games made with the gamer in mind and not just making money. Already we see a number of Early Access and Kickstarter games that include the gamer in the development of the game prior to its release, which gives added devotion and loyalty to the developer. In future, even more games may come from the collaboration of ‘would-be’ developers and the Gaming Industry fanbase, creating titles more in line with our healthy desire for progression and not the stagnation of ‘pay to win’ games of a ‘games as a service’ design.