We are now firmly in the age of online gaming. Whether it’s on a video games console, on a laptop or computer, or on a smartphone or tablet, there have never been more options for the average gamer to connect to the Internet and play with fellow gamers from all over the world.
According to a national research study by UKIE, as of 2015 there were over 10.6 million online gamers in the UK alone. That number is almost certainly higher now as we enter 2017. And, due to a higher demand for seamless online playing experiences, it’s no surprise that contemporary developers are focussing more and more on online functionality. This is true across every modern gaming platform and genre – even the new Nintendo Switch will finally have the long-overdue online multiplayer, the first Nintendo console to do so.
Now is certainly a prime time to cast an eye toward the coming 12 months, and see just what the next year has in store for online gamers everywhere. Here’s our rundown of some hot trends we expect to see more of in 2017.
The next level of iGaming
Thanks to developments in mobile technology and the widespread availability of Wi-Fi, 4G and upcoming 5G connections, the iGaming industry continues to grow in both size and value year after year. From bookmakers to lottery providers, new businesses are entering the market every year, and those that are already established are developing a wider range of services.
As for virtual casino gaming, whether you’re looking to play online poker, roulette or online casino games at a site like mFortune, the range of options these days is quite staggering. mFortune is also a prime example of an iGaming operator that is focussing on the online experience of mobile users, particularly with bonuses and promotions that are specifically geared towards mobile casino players who prefer to play on the move. We definitely expect this online mobile focus to spread even further across the iGaming industry over the next 12 months.
MMOs based on different themes and genres
The idea of massive multiplayer online games has traditionally been epitomised in cult role play games like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars or even Runescape. Well, perhaps not for much longer.
Although some consider it be a semi-MMO, the strides taken by Grand Theft Auto V has shown that the concept of massive online multiplayers will very likely broaden to cover all manner of genres and platforms in the near future. Another good indicator is the incredible popularity that Pokemon Go experienced last year, a very promising sign for large online multiplayer games on mobile devices. Off the back of this success, we’re expecting at least two or three big online multiplayers for mobile devices by the end of 2017.
The next wave of virtual and augmented reality games
Talking of Pokemon Go, it’s almost certain that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games will soon carve out a much bigger presence in the world of online gaming. By its very nature, the technology is ideal for creating immersive online environments in which players from around the world can interact with one another.
With hardware devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive released last year, developers have only just started to scratch the surface of what’s possible with VR technology. No doubt we’ll see some big titles released in 2017 across all genres – from horror to car racing. We’re keeping our fingers especially crossed for the prospect of Fallout 4 in VR!
Plenty to look forward to in 2017, that’s for sure.