Playing games online has become the go-to entertainment activity for billions of people over the past couple of decades, making the sector one of the most lucrative on the planet.
Many people immediately think of video game consoles whenever gaming is mentioned, but the genre encompasses a much wider scope than that.
Associated industries such as iGaming now incorporate many elements of traditional online gaming, while the same is also true in reverse.
With that in mind, we assess some of the main online gaming and iGaming trends to keep an eye on during 2023 and beyond.
5G connectivity to power live game boom
The global rollout of 5G Wi-Fi connectivity has been tipped to have a transformational impact on numerous industries over the next few years.
The iGaming sector is expected to benefit massively, with 5G technology providing more scope to develop and extend the current range of live casino games.
Playing live games at IgnitionCasino.eu and similar sites is already hugely popular, but 5G will help to move things into a completely different stratosphere.
Many iGaming operators are seeking to plough massive resources into live games and we anticipate this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
Subscription-based monetisation will surge
The global subscription-based gaming market has been on a steady upward curve in recent times, but it will likely accelerate over the coming years.
Technological advancements have inevitably driven the growth up to this point and will continue to do so as new innovations are added into the mix.
However, the most important factor will likely be the rise in the number of smartphone users heading down the subscription-based gaming route.
More than half of the population play games on their smartphones in the United States – a factor that is certain to drive revenues in the subscription market.
Cryptocurrency payments to become commonplace
From buying the game to making in-game purchases and more, online gaming requires a certain level of investment to get the most out of it.
Fans of casino games also use digital payment methods to fund their online iGaming accounts, with free play mode only providing a limited gameplay experience.
Debit cards and e-Wallets have been the primary method for most gamers up to this point, but cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are expected to become more commonplace.
Some online gaming platforms already accept cryptocurrency payments, but consumer demand will force many others to jump on the bandwagon.
Virtual reality finally ready for the mainstream
A feature of the past few years has been gaming sites shouting from the rooftops about the impact virtual reality (VR) technology was expected to have on the industry.
The reality (pardon the pun) has been somewhat different, with the supporting hardware largely proving to be underwhelming up until recently.
However, with the headsets now capable of delivering truly immersive experiences, 2023 may well be the year when VR games finally take off.
Some popular video game franchises now incorporate VR modes, while the iGaming sector is in the midst of exploring the possibilities for their corner of the market.
Artificial intelligence to keep evolving
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is already part of the gaming world, but we have only scratched the surface of what is possible up to this point.
Audio recognition in gaming is among the exciting ways AI could impact the sector in the future, allowing players to control games simply by using their voice.
AI will also become increasingly prevalent in supporting operational elements of iGaming including marketing and customer service functions.
The technology has also shown promise as a support aid for tackling problem gambling, helping to create a safer environment in which to play.
eSports to implement competitive integrity policies
The eSports industry has evolved rapidly in recent years, but still has some way to go before it can be classed as a genuine rival to traditional sports.
One of the biggest challenges facing eSports at the moment is competitive integrity, with allegations surrounding match-fixing continuing to blight the sector. Ukrainian Dota 2 caster V1lat recently claimed he had evidence of shady dealings after discussions with a leading online bookmaker revealed unusual betting patterns.
Organisers of eSports competitions have repeatedly vowed to eradicate cheats and it will be intriguing to monitor how they ensure competitive integrity in the future.
Future gaming trends – The final word
It would be fair to say that the gaming and iGaming sectors bear little resemblance to what passed for the norm a decade ago.
With new innovations hitting the space at a rapid rate, the next few years are guaranteed to see even faster evolution.
Predicting what the future holds is certainly a tricky task, but what can be stated for sure is the journey will be an exciting one to undertake.