While video game consoles remain a staple in the gaming market, online gaming has come a long way in recent years. In today’s society gaming is accessible at the touch of a button on mobile phones and tablets, both at home and out and about. Given the 24/7 nature of this growing industry, consumers have high expectations for their gaming platforms and tech companies are doing their utmost to meet those needs.
Forced to stay at home to protect our health during the Covid-19 pandemic, the already popular online gaming market became even more prevalent. With society in need of other forms of entertainment and ways to connect with others, online gaming experienced a boom in popularity – and this has not waned. In 2023, there are an estimated 1 billion online gamers worldwide and this booming market is now predicted to be worth $431.87bn by 2030.
With shares in this lucrative market up for grabs, there are many companies setting high standards and delivering a superior user experience.
Which Companies are Leading the Way?
1. Epic Games
Possibly one of the biggest names in gaming, Epic Games was founded in 1991 and today is a maker and distributor of some of the most popular video games such as Fortnite and Rocket League. Underpinning these highly successful games is Unreal Engine, a gaming development engine used the world over by developers for its adaptable tools and features as well as its sophisticated and immersive graphics.
Due to the ease of working with Unreal Engine, many of the most prominent video game companies use the underlying technology for their most popular titles, including Sony PlayStation and Xbox.
Particularly famous in recent years, Roblox is an online platform allowing users to create their own games, as well as play those created by others. Launched in 2006, it is very popular amongst younger generations who have access to a massive community of gamers, providing a huge variety of content. It can be compared to YouTube – it’s just for games, instead of videos.
The innovation of Roblox allows users to push limits and build ever more complex games on its platform. Developers can even make money on Roblox if a game takes off in popularity. Recognizing the sheer potential of this creativity, other companies have collaborated with Roblox to build brand awareness; Nike, Burberry and Hyundai, to name a few.
Microgaming is a market leader in online casino software and widely regarded as a pioneer, having created the first online casino in 1994. Although it took time for the popularity of online casinos to grow, Microgaming’s first releases set the tone and a standard for others to follow, allowing users to indulge in live baccarat from the comfort of their own homes. As the company has continued to develop its gaming software and mobile gaming has become more convenient and commercially successful, Microgaming has made all of its latest games available on mobile phones. The company continues to place itself at the forefront of game development with new releases every month.
At the start of their journey, Microgaming did not have any strong competitors in the online casino gaming market. However, 1999 saw the foundation of Playtech, a company with many strings to its bow. Famous for creating sportsbooks and poker rooms, as well as a huge variety of table games and slot machines, Playtech is incredibly versatile and their games can be used on most operating systems.
Although they may be more famous for their slot game development, they have a pedigree in creating software for bingo companies, supporting some of the biggest names in online bingo such as Mecca Bingo and Paddy Power Bingo.
Much like Epic Games, Unity is a game development platform that enables developers to create games without having to start from scratch. Its versatility means it is compatible with many different platforms including Android, iOS, and even video game consoles. Unity also offers a free-to-use version alongside its pro version, allowing users to get to grips with the platform before spending money.
Using both 2D and 3D graphics, game developers who are just starting out appreciate the simplicity of Unity. However, those who prioritize stunning 3D graphics may find Unreal Engine more suited to their needs.
Changing societal norms have changed the way we think of gaming. No longer restricted to taking place in the house, users can access online games whenever they like and wherever they happen to be. As gaming software companies afford developers the tools to create exciting games with incredible visuals, users can take advantage of a huge variety of games to suit every mood.
Gaming software companies continue to develop the underlying technology supporting the world’s most popular games, pushing limits and redefining what is possible. While the online gaming market continues to evolve, the user experience remains the key factor at the forefront of companies’ priorities.