The year 2020 looks set to be a bumper year for the video game industry – both for developers and players alike. But it is also being described in some quarters as the year in which the video game as we know it enters its death throes. New technology, new platforms and new ways to play mean that 2020 certainly won’t see video gaming standing still. And there’s a wealth of exciting new titles to look forward to as well.
For many game developers, mobile is the word in 2020. With affordable 5G phones hopefully just around the corner, the possibilities for mobile-based gaming have exploded. Even without widespread adoption of 5G, mobile devices look certain to be the platform of choice for online games, as well as app-based games that will become increasingly sophisticated.
Far more people own and use a smartphone regularly than play games on consoles or even spend leisure time on a PC. Accordingly, games optimised for mobile have a far wider potential audience than games supported by other formats. But alongside simple games aimed at the casual user, 2020 looks set to see mobile-supported versions of fan-favourite games and complex RPGs, as the technology reaches a point where these can be sustained.
Among the game genres set to get a massive boost in popularity via mobile users is the casino gaming sector. Improved connection speeds will facilitate online blackjack, slots and roulette as the perfect way to pass the time on a long journey or during a lunch break. By going to www.the10bestonlinecasinos.com players can easily find reputable sites offering games that suit them, and the extra traffic will mean increased competition to attract new players.
Look out for more generous welcome bonuses, more varied and imaginative games, and games-within-games in the slot arena, where bonus rounds unlock film clips, character-based arcs and even classic arcade games. Meanwhile, live streaming brings added realism to the blackjack and poker rooms, especially when combined with VR or AR technology.
Originally referred to as Project Scarlett, the Xbox Series X is scheduled to ship by the end of the year and will apparently be four times as powerful as the Xbox One. It will have rendering speeds of up to 120 frames per second plus 8k resolution, and a dynamic latency input pathway that lets you incorporate any potential controller lag into your games, thereby improving responsiveness.
Microsoft has announced that games currently compatible with Xbox One will be playable on the Series X, including those earlier games supported through backwards compatibility. However, after a period of 12 to 24 months, backwards compatibility with original Xbox and Xbox 360 games will be phased out. New titles will remain compatible with Xbox One until increased levels of sophistication make this unfeasible.
Halo Infinite, the sixth instalment in the Halo franchise, is set to be the flagship game for the Series X, and uses a whole new games engine called Slipspace.
Not to be outdone, Sony are launching the PlayStation 5, which is forecasted to have very similar tech spec to the Series X. Both will support real-time ray tracing, and the PS5 will also support backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 4, meaning that the much-anticipated PS4 remake of Final Fantasy VIII, with much-improved graphics and additional content, will also play on the PS5.
Here Comes the Cloud
Both of these new consoles could be obsolete before they’ve even been launched – that is, if the champions of cloud gaming are to be believed. As it is now theoretically possible to play high-end games in a web browser, without the need for a console or a gaming-optimised PC, many believe that the future for the industry lies in paid-for subscription streaming services, following the model of entertainment giants like Netflix.
Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and the soon-to-launch Microsoft Xcloud (to be included with the Xbox Series X as standard) all offer a huge and growing range of games in return for a regular fee. All will include exclusive games from top creators as an added incentive to sign up. Streaming offers access to a wide range of games in an era of almost infinite choice, at a far lower cost than buying each game individually, while subscriptions appear especially attractive to families.
It remains to be seen whether or not internet latency can be overcome in 2020 and whether reliable broadband is widespread enough for mass adoption. These technological hurdles will doubtless be overcome given time however, and telecommunications companies are doing all they can to facilitate the new model while capitalising on the lucrative future this may bring.
Mobile, cloud or console? In 2020 the player will have to choose, and the winners remain to be seen.