Year in Review 2020: Technological shift, soaring popularity highlight productive year for eSports and gamig
The number of people indulging in gaming and related activities has continued to increase. As per a report by Statista.com, India had a total of 300 million online gamers in 2019 and this number increased to 365 million during 2020.
Year 2020 has been terrible for all sports, what with big-ticket events such as Olympics, Wimbledon, and Euros being postponed due to the raging pandemic. The gaming industry though remained largely unaffected by COVID-19. Jack Maa, the founder of Alibaba even went on to state that he was expecting his investments into the gaming industry to help tide through the pandemic. This is a great example of how the gaming industry has been drawing attention of late.
The number of people indulging in gaming and related activities has continued to increase. As per a report by Statista.com, India had a total of 300 million online gamers in 2019 and this number increased to 365 million during 2020. This is an increase of 21.67 percent. This is over 10 percent higher than the increase in the previous year. One of the biggest sectors to emerge for the Indian market is the mobile gaming sector. Out of the approximate 365 million gamers within India, over 200 million are mobile gamers.
An increase in the number of players is one part of the equation; the other part is the amount of money at play within the industry. As per Statista.com, the value of the gaming industry in India is Rs 90 billion. This is an increase of 28 billion since 2019. This equates to a 31 percent increase in terms of the value of the industry.
Other than the business and financial gains the gaming industry has made during this year, there are some more changes or events to make a note of. Several sportspersons in games such as chess have helped to bring down the boundaries between traditional sports and eSports. well known chess player Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura declared chess to be an eSport and joined the North American eSport organisation Team SoloMid (TSM).
Gender sensitisation is another area where the eSports industry made some progress in 2020, manisfesting in some great shake-ups. Ubisoft, one of the giants of the gaming world, have finally deemed it necessary to act against members of their staff who show poor behaviour towards women. Serge Hascoët (chief creative officer and considered the number two at Ubisoft), Yannis Mallat (managing director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios), and Tommy François (vice president of editorial and creative services) were all laid off over incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Ubisoft is not the only major organisation to act against offenders this year. As reports emerged about how Toby "TobiWan" Dawson, one the most popular casting personalities in the professional Dota 2 circuit, commonly misbehaved with women, Valve Corporation made it a point to remove several iconic caster calls made by TobiWan that had become chat wheel favourites among Dota 2 players. This can be seen as a clear indication by Valve Corporation that the behaviour demonstrated by Dawson is unacceptable to them. The worst blow to this incident came as TobiWan’s long-time casting partner Troels Lyngholt "syndereN" Nielsen publicly stated that he believed the accusations, and as such refused to work with TobiWan. Following this, Beyond the Summit (BTS) also fired TobiWan.
The last big change that 2020 has brought for the world of gaming is a technology shift. A few years ago, NVidia released the RTX series of graphic cards for computers and laptops. One of the biggest selling points of these graphic cards was the fact that they were capable of real-time ray tracing. This is a huge leap in terms of graphics technology. Raytracing is one of the key aspects of rendering digital models, and real-time raytracing made it possible for the same level of graphics to be possible within video games.
Raytracing, in simple terms, is a technique that makes the light in video games behave like it does in real life. This is achieved by simulating the light rays to fall in a manner similar to real life. This is achieved by using an algorithm to trace the path the light beams would take in the physical world. This allows for the casting of more realistic shadows and makes reflections more lifelike.
While the technology became available for gaming back in 2018, no game took advantage of it until this year. The decision to use real-time raytracing is one that has been noticed across multiple gaming platforms. The latest generation of consoles such as the PS5 (PlayStation 5) and Xbox Series S/X are also now capable of real-time raytracing. A number of games that released in 2020 are also using the technology to achieve stunning graphics. Even Fortnite has released an update this year to add real-time raytracing into their game.
Wrapping up the year 2020, the gaming industry is continually proving that estimates made about it being one of the biggest industries in the future are true. The gaming industry has finally decided to act against sexual misconduct and finally, the big technology shift that will influence the next several generations of video games has truly arrived.
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