Forecast: Video game, esports scene to remain undisputed in 2021

Forecast: Video game, esports scene to remain undisputed in 2021

Michelle Lojo (Philstar.com) - January 15, 2021 - 3:19pm

MANILA, Philippines – The video game and esports industries reigned supreme in 2020, a year that forced many to quarantine and explore the limits of the virtual world.

With everyone getting used to staying indoors, practicing social distancing and adhering to strict health and safety measures, the past year can only be considered as a preview for a stronger gaming and esports scene this 2021.

Here’s our forecast for this aspect of virtual entertainment.

Game streaming

Let’s face it, video games were a saving grace during the lockdown and developers know it. The launch of the new-generation gaming consoles proved it with record-breaking sales at each console launch and release.

But even though everyone wants to play all the latest games in the market, there will always be that sense of nostalgia in powering up the old console and looking for that 90s graphics.

The move to games accessible via cloud has been making waves for the past few years, more so with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, what has been dubbed as the Netflix of gaming.

With the option of playing old games with Xbox’s backward compatibility and Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud, the idea of paying a monthly subscription for a big library of games that would contain the latest releases or a bit of old-school fun, and playable across Android devices is driving up the ante.

Embracing the virtual world

With most physical events like conferences and launches cancelled last year, the gaming community had its own fair share of disappointment. 

With successful virtual events like game launches, the annual Game Awards, and our country’s own Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS), it wouldn’t come as a surprise to expect more of the same in the coming year. 

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us besides practicing proper hygiene in saving lives, it’s that the virtual world is limitless. When the norm is unsafe, there will always be an alternative.

Gatherings, parties, school classes and many more were held online. Travels were put on hold and many were home based for the indefinite future.

But who says the outside world cannot come to you while you’re lounging on the sofa in front of the television? Who says we cannot break through the barrier of the monitor?

Virtual Reality hasn’t just been an idea to make games better. Introducing augmented reality in helping with the constraints of online distance learning, a way around work and a different form of socializing — these are just some of the things that the frontrunners in the Virtual Reality scene are predicting with the industry in the next five years or so.

Esports to continue hogging spotlight

While putting a hard stop to most professional sports tournaments, esports rose to the occasion.

Though no longer being done in one venue, esports tournaments continued in athletes’ individual home set-ups and certainly garnered attention from sports fans, who sought out something that could fill in the gap of competitive entertainment.

The presence of esports events were more visible, giving fans something to watch and cheer on without violating protocols.

Traditional sports also turned to esports, with eNASCAR, FIBA esports Open and the Porsche Racing tournament making their debut in 2020.

With an eventful year, esports isn’t ready to let go of the spotlight just yet. Many esports are gearing for round two. 

Locally, streams are a staple via Facebook, with more people getting interested in the world of competitive gaming. With the continued popularity of Mobile Legends, DOTA2 and the addition of Riot Games’ Valorant and Wild Rift, the Philippine esports scene is certainly something to watch out for, especially with esports back on the list of events for the 31st South East Asian Games.

Additionally, with cancelled sports events like UAAP and NCAA from 2020, and the emergence of the first esports scholarship in the country, it might be time for both athletic associations to consider an esports event as well, given most schools already have an esports team of their own.

One thing is for certain: esports will continue to make waves both internationally and locally, and more Filipino esports athletes will rise up to the challenge.

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