If you’re trying to forecast what the following months will bring for the gaming world, here’s the safest bet: there’ll be a lot of ambiguity and clouds.
The pandemic shifted the world as you knew it and recalibrated this industry as it did with everything else. With jobless rates growing from one day to another, one would expect people to spend less time exploring frivolous activities like playing online games. But 2020 registered a record number of players and game-related spending. The request was so big, many manufacturers failed to deliver all orders, causing supply chain disruptions.
After a year that grabbed everyone by the ankles and threw them inside their houses, online game players want to know what the road ahead is offering them. And the only way to find out is to answer some questions everyone is asking.
Can the 2021 economy support the big spending on online gaming?
Some industries felt the impact of the economic impact the pandemic caused. Still, others, like online retail, experienced an upward trend as they were able to provide people with the products they needed when isolated at home. The online gaming industry was among the sectors that saw increased spending as people searched for enjoyable ways to entertain themselves at home. The NPD Group states that video game spending grew with 22% from 2019, and reached $44.5 billion by the end of November 2020. The Group also predicted that the spending would maintain an upward trend during the holiday season, and the end of the year found the industry at a record of $50 billion.
The introduction of a vaccine raises the question if people will continue to spend time inside their homes in 2021, and therefore if they’ll allocate as much time as in 2020, playing online games. If they’re able to return to their old life, they may forget about the passion that kept them entertained the last year. The pandemic also introduced some people to online games for the first time, triggering a market base expansion. Some of these new gamers may’ve found a new hobby and continue to spend money on exploiting it, especially if they purchased consoles and systems to allow them to play at the pro level.
How will the industry prevent security threats?
2020 saw a new wave of cyberattacks because people spent more time on their Internet-connected devices without improving their protection. Both professional and casual players can risk becoming the target of a cyberattack that has the purpose to access their information as they play online and turn the data into profit. The most common threats associated with online video threats are:
- Infection is an old trick, but very effective when it comes to hacking computers. When players are looking for a free or more affordable version of their favourite game, they download it from unsecure websites that pack malware and viruses with the torrent that promises to deliver a free version of the game. Not only illegally downloaded games pose this threat, but also products purchased through third-party sellers can have security gaps. In the present context, playing online games, and browsing the internet without using some sort of protection is dangerous. Players can use a VPN to protect their information, but VPNs have a distinct IP address, and everyone can detect it, so it’s possible some online game providers to stop gamers from accessing their platforms if they use VPN. But if they use obfuscated servers they can make their IP address look like a regular one because they eliminate the protocols, markers, and signatures specific to VPN IP addresses.
- Account takeover often happens when the player uses the same username and password for all gaming platforms. Hackers count on people’s inability to remember lists of accounts and passwords.
- Doxing and swatting. After hackers steal personal information, they can publish it online, or send law enforcement to the player’s location by reporting a fake crime.
- Active listening. Players often leave their mic and camera on even if they don’t use them and cybercriminals can take advantage of it by actively listening to any information that can help them access the gamer’s private data.
The gaming industry can protect gamers from cyber-attacks by using strong encryptions and cloud technology to store personal information in secure locations. They can also help players maintain their security by asking them to set unique and strong user names and passwords.
What advancements should we expect in the VR sector?
Virtual reality remains a thrilling feature for many gamers, and online game providers are a step closer to integrating the technology in their products. But even with all the present capabilities and advancements, many challenges stop them from accomplishing this goal.
The cost of the equipment still deters people from acquiring VR powered games. The Oculus Quest 2 set has reached an affordable price ($299), but most sets cost over $800, which is too much to pay for the average worker, especially in the present conditions. And these are the costs without considering that the gamer needs a proper gaming PC or console to pair the VR technology with. Sony seems to have understood that it’s best to improve the other gaming features and set VR aside for now. Jim Ryan, PlayStation CEO, states that they still work on the PSVR plans, but for now they focus on the launch and marketing of PS5.
The lack of interest from gamers to spend so much for a VR set has limited game publishers’ interest in creating VR games. However, AAA publishers like Ubisoft and Respawn are still pushing resources to pack their games with VR capabilities. Assassin’s Creed, Medal of Honor, and splinter Cell are only some of the games that offer VR experiences.
The gaming industry finds Oculus strategy intriguing because it improved the technology and dropped the price, but there’s no secret behind their tactic, they want to grow the technology’s popularity and attract new clients. If the strategy gets them more players into the VR system good for them.
This year, it’s possible to bring many other questions regarding the gaming industry, but these are the most burning ones, and we hope we covered them thoroughly.
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