The year 2020 was a shocker in many ways, but even with all of the global chaos, the European online gaming industry still managed to grow, with the help of hardware and software innovations, plus deeper internet penetration. For this reason, we feel we can expect some more exciting developments in the industry in 2021!
Whether you’re into slots, online betting, or our personal favourite, online bingo, several trends are going to shape what gaming is going to look like this year, and beyond. Find out more about five of these trends below.
5 OF THE TOP ONLINE GAMING TRENDS IN 2021
1. Mobile gaming will keep growing
For all of the online bingo fans out there, we’re sure many of you enjoyed handling various numbers of bingo balls while playing games on your smartphone last year. And you’re not alone: according to recent studies, while most online gaming has historically taken place on desktops, gaming on smartphones is starting to catch up, according to Mordor Intelligence.
It’s no surprise that the tiny but very powerful computers that we hold in our hands every day are just getting better and better at processing information. This means that there’s lots to look forward to when it comes to games specially developed for mobile devices, including all the flashy graphics and user-friendly features you’ve been dreaming of!
If you add in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), which we’ll talk about a bit more later, then it’s clear that expectations are high for innovations in mobile gaming development over the next year.
2. Payments will become more streamlined
Depositing and withdrawing money is a key part of playing bingo games, and when playing games like slots, or placing bets, at an online casino. Depending on the site and the software, this can prove to be an absolute pain, which is why seamless payment technology has become a growing trend.
Thanks to developments such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain, payments are set to become even easier in 2021, as many sites start to use these kinds of technologies to facilitate easier and more transparent payments via “smart contracts”.
Payments and other transactions made with smart contracts are more seamless because they use a layer of code that provides automatic authentication. Without having to rely on a third party for verification, this means there is more transparency and trust, which is important, as everyone needs to feel safe when spending their hard-earned money!
3. There’ll be more competition
As our society and way of life continues to get turned on its head, we’re being forced to spend more time indoors, and not at physical casinos. Thankfully there are lots of opportunities for developments in the world of online games, and there’s a seemingly endless supply of gaming developers – and titles – arriving in the marketplace whenever you care to look.
This is great for all of us, as there are simply more options available for gamers to play, and potentially win! Of course, this increased competition means that your tried-and-tested favourites will be even more inspired to create the best user experience possible, which means more fun for you.
4. We’ll see a rise in esports betting
Online betting, in general, is experiencing tremendous growth, as Mordor Intelligence forecasts that it will be the fastest-growing online gaming segment (that they studied) between 2020 and 2025.
As traditional sports continue to be played to empty stadiums, esports – competitive multiplayer video games played by professional gamers and watched by spectators – are becoming more popular (even though the pandemic has affected live events in this industry too).
While people have been watching other players play games for money for years, global events for skilled players are no doubt going to be taken to another level this year: esports continue to gain recognition as the scene develops, thanks to streaming services such as Twitch. Esports’ rising popularity means it's likely that more people will want to place bets on these types of games in future, too.
While not all esports are designed to take place fully online yet, the industry still received massive support in 2020, and this is likely to continue into 2021, as many live events are planned for the rest of the year.
Data also shows that even with some of the setbacks, esports profits still managed to grow by 15.7% in 2020, according to the Global Esports Market Report 2020. Given that more than 200 million people watched the League of Legends World Championship final in 2018, this isn’t surprising!
Some of the most popular esports games being played right now include Counter-Strike, League of Legends, StarCraft and Dota 2.
5. Virtual reality tech will become more affordable
The concept of VR has held us all enthralled for a long time, but it’s taken a while for the technology to be developed to the point where it is (almost) affordable enough for the average person to buy and experience.
Thanks to VR, casino fans can actually get to feel like they’re in a real-life casino, while sitting at home on their sofa. While not everyone can buy an expensive headset, gaming companies are also tapping into this trend by developing more games where users can play with a live dealer, and enjoy that live online-gaming experience.
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Anonymous / 17 February 2021