VR & AR for Gaming
Previously, we have reported that the gaming industry has been thriving during the COVID pandemic. Now the numbers are in, and true enough, last year the gaming industry was valued at 162 billion USD and is predicted to reach 300 billion by 2026. That means it will almost double in size in just 5 years.
The term ‘gaming’ itself has evolved. While in the old days, gaming was limited to those physical consoles (think Nintendo, PlayStation or PC), gaming now encompasses a huge array of experiences from those traditional physical consoles to more casual experience on smartphones and sometimes even based on social platforms too.
More importantly, immersive gaming using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming all the rage. A recent report has shown that the VR & AR market is estimated to have generated combined revenues of 22.1 billion USD in 2020 (AR constitutes 4.7 billion). This growth is expected to continue in the next few years, with the report predicting that the VR & AR market can reach 160 billion USD by 2025 (AR will constitute 28.6 billion).
In 2021 and beyond, VR & AR technology will transition into offering even more realistic visual experience. The combination of cloud and 5G means the real-time processing of data-intensive AR will be faster and smoother for users, while helping to bring more complex and immersive AR-based mobile gaming experiences.
So, what are some of the most important trends in VR & AR gaming?
Mobile VR & AR gaming still reigns
Mobile VR/AR is the most affordable experience for players who want to explore VR/AR gaming without having to spend substantial amounts of money purchasing the dedicated VR/AR glasses (e.g. Oculus, Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, etc.). With the ever-increasing number of mobile gamers, the mobile VR/AR market is expected to gain significant traction. Even though the experience is less immersive than the dedicated VR/AR console (as to be expected), the adoption of mobile VR/AR is expected to increase as technology development in mobile gaming will continue to bridge the gap.
VR/AR arcades will be the “new” old in the gaming industry
As VR/AR gain traction and continue to take over the gaming world, more players will want to experience this new type of play, but do so at an affordable price. Just like how arcades used to give that possibility to players who could not afford their own console at home, more and more VR/AR arcades will surface and become a common stay in the gaming community. Such VR/AR arcades will allow players to fully experience VR/AR gaming without having to purchase a headset of their own. Recent data showed that this VR/AR gaming as a service is valued at 2.3 billion USD in 2020.
VR/AR brings innovation to the education equation
Educators have recently recognized that interactive games can be a very effective way for students to absorb lesson material. Some companies (e.g. zSpace, EdTech) are now creating “Virtual Instruction Programs” powered by equipment and VR classrooms apps. These innovations will help to keep students feeling engaged and interested in class. They also enable new approaches to teaching for the teachers. The possibilities are truly limitless.
Social media AR gaming is the latest ad opportunity
When the testing of the Spark AR platform was initiated back in 2018-2019, Instagram suddenly experienced a massive surge in popularity. Even today, Instagram users are continuously generating a huge amount of unique AR content. Creators of AR gaming filters on Instagram are sharing their creative ideas with people and many users are getting their (first) exposure to AR technology this way. Instagram AR gaming filters require the players to interact with / control their game character using gestures or mimic such as blinking, nodding their head, opening and closing their mouth, etc.
The peculiarity of Instagram AR games is in the fact that people are actively sharing their experience with their followers. People will post stories and play games using Instagram filters to compete and get higher score. This creates the viral effect for the filters too. AR gaming is the next wave of the gamified advertisement. In fact, many companies have released their Instagram AR game filter to spread their presence and generate awareness (e.g. Snickers Hungry Games, AirAsia Plane Flight, IKEA Which Icon Are You, etc.)
How can we help?
At ADK Insights, we continue to monitor trends in the fast changing space of gaming and to forecast how their impact will influence consumer behaviour, advertising models and media consumption in general.
To find out more about our experience in gaming and what it could mean for you, please contact Dam.