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The gaming industry has come a long way since its beginnings. Currently valued at over $180 billion, gaming is a globally popular big tech behemoth with a vast ecosystem which supports gamers, professionals, brands and institutions alike. One of the most important developments in the recent history of gaming has been the switch to online or digital gaming.

Unlike the days of yore when gamers would purchase and load a physical game onto their device, most today’s gaming activities take place over the internet. The relatively limitless nature of online gaming means that players can access a huge variety of gaming experiences instantly, whether they’re searching for competitive multiplayers or looking to play real money casino games.

Positioned as it is at the forefront of innovation, gaming is an industry that never stands still. As a result, several new developments are emerging that are signalling a new era in online gaming. Let’s take a closer look.

YouTube Gaming

Google already reigns supreme in the content streaming realm thanks to its ubiquitous YouTube platform. Having failed to set the industry alight with cloud gaming platform Stadia, the tech giant is now on the verge of incorporating playable online games into YouTube. According to the Wall St Journal, which reported on this development in June, Google Playables will allow gamers to play instant access games on the YouTube website or via its mobile apps.

At present, Playables is still being assessed internally, and only one title is available, the casual game Stack Bounce. However, this venture is assumed to be part of Google CEO Neal Mohan’s push to leverage YouTube to enter the lucrative online gaming arena.

Keen gamers will remember that Stadia was once marked for full YouTube integration. However, that idea was scrapped when the now-defunct cloud gaming platform was shut down in January.

Speaking of content streaming — another digital entertainment incumbent is accelerating its plans to add a full suite of gaming experiences to its services.

Netflix is currently pushing forward with plans to include games in its members’ subscriptions, acquiring Night School Studio and adding fifty-five games to its mobile gaming platform. With games based on existing IPs such as Strangers Things to more established gaming franchises such as Tomb Raider, Netflix Games is proving to be an appealing prospect for the global gaming community.

Like many big tech brands, the company also has ambitions to enter the cloud gaming space. Gaming VP Mike Verdue announced last October that it was “seriously exploring a cloud gaming service”; more recently, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that the project is indeed “underway”.

Sony’s Mobile-First Approach

Mobile gaming is now the most successful gaming sector, generating over 50% of the industry’s annual revenues year after year. Very much a product of the digital age, the mobile market has harnessed the power of connected technologies and sophisticated smartphone hardware to provide engaging and immersive gaming experiences on the go. No wonder, then, that it’s a sector that major gaming brands like Sony are keen to be a part of.

The Japanese consumer tech specialist is working hard at expanding its mobile gaming ecosystem, acquiring Savage Game Studios, and planning to increase mobile output by 20% by 2025. It certainly seems that moving into the mobile space has taken priority over PC gaming, with the release of promised PlayStation games to be staggered across the next two to three years.

Furthermore, CEO Jim Ryan confirmed in May that Sony would be taking a more aggressive push to grow its flagship PlayStation cloud gaming service, which would effectively allow all registered gamers to play across mobile, PC and console.

Moves in the Metaverse

Although it’s still very much an emergent sector, the metaverse concept is proving to be a major topic of interest throughout the gaming industry. According to Fact.MR, the global metaverse gaming market could be valued at $1.3 trillion over the next decade, showing an eye watering CAGR of 38.2% between 2023 and 2033.

There’s no doubt that gaming will play an essential role in the creation and longevity of virtual environments as the sector develops. In fact, the industry is already perfectly placed to lead the way when it comes to creating an immersive universe that allows individuals to interact with a variety of different experiences. Numerous games exist that already fuse virtual reality technology with Web3 elements, blockchain and augmented reality to transport players into engaging parallel universes.

Keen to tap into the accelerating moment is the gaming brand Ubisoft. The French gaming company has recently collaborated with Oasys, a gaming-focused blockchain from the minds of Bandai Namco and PlayStation executives. Having enjoyed a level of success in the NFT space thanks to its partnership with The Sandbox, the company will be launching its first Web3 game built on the chain in the near future.

Champions Tactics: Grimoria Chronicles promises to be a tactile RPG with a player-versus-player format. Playable on the PC, this upcoming title intends to transport players into an immersive experience designed specifically for the desktop.