There are a number of impactful gaming trends influencing the future of gaming. Mobile gaming, in particular, has seen significant developments recently, giving rise to the fast-growing mobile eSports phenomenon. Smartphones have become so powerful that console-like gaming is now finally possible on mobile, which is forcing developers to adapt and resulting in more Cross-platform games. Cloud gaming has also seen some major developments with big brands shaking things up and adding new dimensions to the arena, while there are also some great innovations coming to AR gaming. Let’s have a look at some of the latest gaming trends and how they are changing the playing field.

Cross-platform games are enabling a more unified gaming experience

With mobile devices becoming more affordable, powerful and widely accessible, we are seeing more established brands making their PC and console games available for mobile too, with the hope of cashing in on this fast-growing market. A great example is Minecraft, the indie sandbox video game, which can be played offline and with others over WiFi, on Xbox One, Windows 10 and mobile. Another great cross-platform game example is Crashlands – a story-driven game that can be played on PC and resumed on mobile phone. Not only is this industry shift enabling a more unified gaming experience but it’s getting gamers more accustomed to longer gaming sessions, which helps build and retain strong, loyal gaming communities.

AR gaming is gaining ground

Ever since the Pokemon Go craze in summer 2016, augmented reality (AR) has been the focus of many mobile game development companies’ experiments. AR’s ability to gamify existing mobile system technology, indulging players with a fusion of physical and virtual worlds, has seen this innovation being rapidly adopted into the gaming world. And with big tech companies like Apple being on the forefront of delivering more meaningful AR experiences, AR games are set to become even more dynamic and mainstream. In June, Apple has released ARKit 2, which allows developers to integrate shared experiences to make AR apps even more dynamic. Devs can now integrate ARKit 2 features that allow multiple users to play a game or collaborate on projects; or add a spectator mode, giving friends the best views of AR gameplay from a different iOS device. With the speed at which AR is gaining ground, we can expect to see many more games like Pokemon Go being released. In fact, players are already anticipating the launch of Pokemon Go creators’ next big title – Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which is expected to be highly successful.

Mobile eSports is moving to the next level

In the rapidly evolving gaming world, it’s no longer just about whether a game is fun to play, but whether it is fun to watch and engage with as well. It’s only in the few short years that eSports have gained mainstream popularity, but there are no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to The Holmes Report, the growth of the eSports industry is increasing year-over-year. And this does not only include player adoption, but advertising, media rights, merchandise sales, sponsorship opportunities and even celebrity investors. In September 2017, pop artist Jennifer Lopez was part of a $15 million funding deal for leading eSports brand NRG, joining a star studded line up of celebrities including NFL player Marshawn Lynch, retired New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez and pro basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

The Intel Extreme Masters premiere tournament, which took place in Katowice, Poland during March this year, was the biggest live event in eSports history, boasting a $500,000 prize pool. While PC games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continue to rule the space, mobile games like Vainglory and Clash Royale are also making a mark, carving out a growing mobile eSports niche. Clash Royale has had massive eSports tournaments such as the King’s Cup, which has offered prize pools of over $70,000.The surge in the popularity of mobile eSports isn’t surprising considering more and more gamers are opting to make their smartphone their primary gaming device.

Cloud gaming is bringing thunder

Cloud-based gaming is redefining the way games are developed and played. The ability to play graphic-intensive games on any device without the need to download or install game apps and without worrying about storage capacity is changing the future of gaming. And with big companies like Electronic Arts making their catalog of games available from the cloud, which was announced in June, cloud gaming is one of the greatest disruptions in the industry currently. With all the recent cloud gaming developments it wouldn’t be surprising to see less and less hardware, with consoles eventually being replaced completely by the ability to stream games to a multitude of devices.

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Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.