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The video-game industry is poised to change dramatically over the next decade. Cloud gaming, digital distribution, fresh revenue models, new players, and greater regulation are likely to be some of the biggest trends.

Topplay predict some posible ways the industry is likely to change over the next decade

Streaming gameplay

Microsoft, Google, and other video-game companies are racing to make video games as easy to stream as songs on Spotify or movies on Netflix. Microsoft's Project xCloud and Google's Stadia promise to allow people to play games on their smartphones, tablets, internet-connected TVs, and other devices.

Allowing people to stream games without needing a computer or console promises to transform the industry. Many more people would play games if it didn't cost upwards of $500 to buy the necessary hardware. A Netflix-style interface would also allow gamers to enjoy a wide variety of games without having to blow $60 on each of them.

Players wouldn't have to twiddle their thumbs for an hour while downloading and installing them, or worry about deleting other games to free up space. They could also play games in more situations if they could use their smartphones and tablets to stream them.

New players

Faster and cheaper smartphones and tablets, the spread of wireless internet, and popular mobile games such as Candy Crush have created a new generation of casual players and enabled more to join in the fun. An estimated 2.3 billion people - more than 30% of the world population - actively play games.

The growing number of gamers is likely to attract more companies to the sector. Amazon is developing a video-game streaming service, according to The Information, and could grab a sizeable chunk of the market given it's already a leader in cloud computing with Amazon Web Services and owns Twitch, a video-game viewing platform. Google is also taking on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo with Stadia. Even Walmart is exploring a video-game streaming service.

Regulation

Video games are likely to be caught up as regulators target tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple over their sprawling ecosystems, handling of user data, privacy failures, moderation of their platforms, anti-competitive practices, and other issues.

Lawmakers are already discussing ways to crack down on lootboxes - random rewards that can be bought with real money. Critics argue developers are encouraging minors to engage in online gambling, often with their parents' money but without their knowledge. They've also gotten in trouble for micro-transactions in games, such as purchasing extra lives or speed boosts, as there have been several cases where children unwittingly spent hundreds of dollars.

Yet video-game developers continue to push the boundaries of behavior. For example, Rockstar Games recently added an in-game casino to Grand Theft Auto V where players can deposit real money in exchange for gambling chips but not withdraw their winnings.


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