Online gaming has a bright future, according to a report from research firm Technavio which predicts that the global ‘massively multiplayer online’ (MMO) gaming market will be worth more than $26bn (£18.5bn) by 2019, growing at a compound annual rate of 8%.
MMO games are designed to be played on network-capable platforms like video game consoles, smartphones or PCs.
As well as estimating market value, the report analyses the trends expected to impact the global MMO gaming market in the next few years.
“The growth of the global MMO gaming market is mainly attributed to the launch of new gaming consoles and the availability of high-end audio-visual systems, which enhance the gamer’s experience,” explained Soumya Mutsuddi, lead research analyst at Technavio for the gaming industry.
According to Technavio’s media and entertainment research analysts, the top five trends are:
Increase in development of hardware platforms
The launch of next generation gaming consoles, HD displays and audio devices with HDMI wireless network capabilities is expected to positively spur market growth.
Additionally, the majority of software games currently run on hardware platforms developed by three major companies: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. With more platforms being developed, there will be a rise in demand for gaming software.
Emergence of gamification
Gamification uses game design strategies to encourage consumers to engage in a desired behaviour, for example by offering rewards such as badges, leader boards, activity feeds, real-time feedback, trophy cases, avatars and mini games.
Increase in online content and digital distribution
The latest gaming consoles are equipped with Wi-Fi, network connectivity and HDD, allowing gamers to directly download games into their console.
“In coming years, the digital distribution of games and online gaming services will become a prominent part of the global MMO gaming market, and this is expected to lead to the growth of the market,” Mutsuddi said.
Growth of multiplayer mobile gaming
Technavio believes that the rollout of advanced and innovative mobile devices could foster the growth of multiplayer mobile gaming in the coming years.
At present, around 6-8% of gamers in the Asia Pacific region and 2-3% of gamers in North America play multiplayer games on their mobile devices — indicating that multiplayer mobile gaming is still in its infancy.
Growth of virtual currency
Virtual currency is used in microtransactions to purchase virtual goods and avatars. This is expected to account for more than 50% of revenue in the global MMO gaming market during the forecast period.