Video games have always been competitive. While plenty of people enjoy playing against automated in-game opponents, or simply working their way through solo experiences, there have always been popular ways for players to take each other on — dating all the way back to the first gaming systems and arcades.
With that said, gaming can always get more competitive, and we’re seeing a number of factors driving things in that direction of late.
The world of eSports has been expanding impressively, and as it does so it’s only getting more competitive. Our piece on George Russell even showed that in some cases, competitive eSports can be about as good as the real activities they imitate. Take that with a grain of salt, but the point stands that Russell — a professional Formula 1 driver — said that the F1 2019 racing game has been “more fun” than the real thing!
Even for eSports that don’t imitate real-world events though, the level of competition is now high enough that may consider the activity a professional sport. And as this sport gains even more attention, it’s going to influence how gamers think about what they do. At least in some cases, people will think of games as competitions first, and entertainment second.
Smoother Payments For Large Events
Both in eSports and in some specified gaming categories (such as casino play), we now see massive events within which real money is at stake. Some, however, have historically hesitated to participate in such events because of concerns about payments. They may have doubts about security, for instance, or worry that their preferred payment options won’t be supported. Now, however, smoother payment systems can alleviate these concerns and make these large, sometimes international competitive events more appealing.
FIS Global covered gaming payments, and specifically how they can benefit from more advanced processing. The overview made clear that with modern payment systems, events with large volumes of players can now handle up to 1,000 transactions per second — all in a secure, efficient manner, and all catering to players’ preferred payment methods. All of this can help to make some of gaming’s biggest competitions more appealing to the average gamer, which in time will likely mean that more people elect to participate in events of this nature.
More Second-Life Environments
In 2020, with people around the world spending less time in public and more time at home, we’ve seen an explosion in the popularity and inventiveness of second-life style games. Rolling Stone wrote about a Minecraft graduation service in which countless students from around the world participated in a virtual ceremony to collect their diplomas; How-to-Geek described Animal Crossing as a “cultural phenomenon” with the game having attracted millions of players in the early months of 2020. Both are examples of gamers leaping at the chance to live out simulated events and lives in gaming environments.
To some, these are distinctly not competitive games. And it’s true that they don’t have to involve competition. However, as we see more second-life-style games gaining popularity, there is inevitably a certain type of user-versus-user atmosphere that develops within them. People compete with friends to build better worlds, battle others for resources, and so on. It all feels more passive, but plenty of the appeal of these games comes down to out-performing other users.
New Sports In Virtual Reality
There’s also virtual reality to consider. Already, people can enjoy some fairly traditional multiplayer experiences in the new format, which is to say that competition is already part of the game. However, the really interesting thing to consider about VR in the context of this discussion is its ability to turn historic and fictional sports into real experiences.
To provide an existing example, VentureBeat discussed Jousting Time — a rather cartoonish VR experience in which users can actually joust against one another. We’ve also heard about attempts at a VR game about Quidditch, the flying-broomstick sport from the Harry Potter fantasy series. And once you think about possibilities like these, more come to mind: high-speed chariot racing, gladiator fights, races inspired by the sci-fi film Tron, and so on. As VR improves, we’re likely to see a number of new, virtual sports come into existence, and they’ll all be thoroughly competitive by nature.
Again, the video game world has always thrived on competition. Given these developments, however, which affect the industry from top to bottom, it’s fair to speculate that competition will play an even bigger role moving forward.