Taking the place of more traditional forms of entertainment, such as movie premieres or music concerts, the global gaming industry has experienced incredible growth over the past few years. Now worth in excess of $180 billion, digital gaming has become a preferred pastime with everyone from uni students to celebs like Samuel L Jackson and Megan Fox.
With the popularity of gaming now at an all-time high, what’s in store for the industry throughout 2022 and beyond?
The Year Of Blockchain Gaming?
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have been floating around the fringes of the gaming industry since the Bitcoin boom of 2017 but are yet to have a significant impact. 2022 could be the year that changes all that and moves blockchain out of its gaming niche and into the mainstream.
Leading the charge are several of the biggest games development studios, such as Ubisoft and Square Enix. Both development companies have announced plans to unleash a series of games that will boast non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a core feature. Games publishers currently see a strong future for NFT gaming, and Ubisoft et al’s commitment to building them into games is strong evidence of this.
NFTs enable players to earn, win and trade unique in-game items that are exclusive to each particular game. While the industry is still ironing out the teething problems of NFT integration – specifically the large amounts of processing power needed for blockchain algorithms – they’re nevertheless becoming a gaming fact of life.
Online Poker Will Expand Across the US
Poker is one of those games that is firmly entrenched in American culture, which makes it all the more surprising to learn that digital poker across the States has been rather slow to make its comeback.
However, 2022 is set to be a big year for online poker in the US as the vertical expand into new states and the possibility of shared liquidity is thrown into the mix.
For much of the nine years that digital poker has been legalized in America, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have been the three key states in which the game could be played.
The launch of a brand new digital poker site in Pennsylvania in 2019 shifted the landscape, however, leading to Michigan legalizing and launching its own legislated platforms.
In 2022, we can expect to see the vertical expansion to West Virginia and Kentucky, and it’s likely to be on the table again in New York at some stage in 2022, following the success of the state’s mobile iGaming launch.
It’s the rumored shared liquidity aspect that will be of most interest to US players this year. The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement has seen Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey share liquidity for poker tournaments for several years – allowing customers from all three states to compete against each other without needing to cross state lines.
Now, it looks as though that agreement will be opened up to include Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in the coming months.
Gaming In The Metaverse
While Mark Zuckerberg continues his grandiose plans to create immersive online environments for work and play, the gaming industry is going full steam ahead to develop the already expansive gaming metaverse.
Millions of gamers have been congregating in virtual environments for several years now and 2022 is set to bring about further expansion when it comes to digital entertainment. In-game worlds are set to grow and incorporate other forms of entertainment – Fortnite has already set a precedent for this with its virtual music concerts.
While there will always be those gamers who want to log in to their favorite games to sit back and enjoy the gameplay, nevertheless game creators will become increasingly focused on developing interactive platforms that will allow for a wide range of user experiences.