The rise of the Games War

Prediction #1 for 2021

2020 surprised us all with extreme turbulence and digital hyper growth due to the global pandemic. 2021 hopefully will be the year when we return to some kind of new normal, carrying with us several new digital habits and behavioral changes.

As in earlier years, I have curated the most interesting and pressing digital trends for the year to come, which I will reveal in a series of ten articles — this is the first. Let’s take a look.

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Photo by Fábio Silva

Get ready for the Games War

For the first time in seven years, we are witnessing the launch of brand new games consoles — from both Sony (PlayStation 5) and Microsoft (Xbox series X). And even though they officially launched close to the Christmas season of 2020, it was with very limited stock and almost no games to take full advantage of the huge leap forward in performance built into these two new powerhouses.

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The wait is over: after 7 years of waiting, 2 new consoles will arrive in 2021

This means that the full-blown game war will take place in 2021. And based on the specifications of these two machines we are going to witness quite an improvement in graphics quality of the nextgen games coming out in 2021.

Seven years is a very long time to wait for new hardware so, in the meantime, online all-you-can-eat gaming platforms have popped up to take on the competition. Google Stadia is one of the very ambitious initiatives where you can choose to pay a fixed monthly subscription (69 Dkk/month for a Pro access). With that you gain access to a group of games, and new ones will be added each month. You can then purchase extra games on demand. It is advertised to be capable of streaming video games at up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, and with the roll-out of 5G and faster fiber connections 8K/120 FPS support will be launched sometime in the future.

And Google are not alone here. The service are competing with Sony’s PlayStation Now and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. Microsoft too has a cloud-gaming service in Beta right now and, on top of this, expect Amazon to launch a full-blown competitor, Luna, in 2021. With their AWS platform, Amazon looks to be a very scary competitor.

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The new Luna online gaming platform from Amazon will arrive in 2021

Finally, Apple has launched Apple Arcade and, even though their games are a bit more casual, they have now bundled the service into the very advantageous Apple One subscription, which is bound to be a great success.

And then you can always just buy the games online one at a time on platforms like Steam.

The stakes are high in this new market: According to Newzoo, online gaming, including esports, is estimated to reach $174 billion in revenue in 2020 — a huge growth due to the Corona crisis. The market is expected to continue to grow to $218 billion in 2023. This market is now considered to be one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet, threatening to eat huge chunks of revenue from other core traditional entertainment industries.

So, expect a pretty tough games war as we enter 2021.

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