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What Will the Effect of Instant Gratification Have on Video Games?

How much of an impact will it have in the future after already taking over the world of micro-transactions?

Peter Smalls, Blogger

June 18, 2018

4 Min Read


What Will the Effect of Instant Gratification Have on Video Games?

We are living in a world where the next generation of youngsters want everything yesterday. Today’s 24/7-connected world has fostered a new breed of person that demands instant gratification from everything they do. With attention spans growing ever shorter, it’s a good time to ponder the potential impact on the video gaming industry. Will video games get shorter and easier to complete or will the section of millennials that do value skill-based gameplay lead to games going the opposite way?

The new generation of gamers hate grinding

An increasing number of video gamers are finding the concept of grinding games tedious. Grinding is particularly commonplace in role-playing games (RPGs) where players must use their characters to continually battle similar opponents or try similar moves to level-up and gain new skills and weapons. Grinding has been in existence in console games since the early days of platform games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Sega Mega Drive. Games like Super Mario Bros (1985), Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and The Legend of Zelda (1986) incorporated some form of grinding throughout. It’s a shame that Plarium believes more people are complaining about grinding and its place in contemporary video games.

Some might think grinding is an outdated tactic by video game designers to lengthen games, but if games were quite that easy to complete, surely there would be no gratification from playing one whatsoever? Grinding that manages to stay true to the fabric of a game and its storyline should be embraced by gamers, not rubbished. Side missions and challenges can help you to better understand characters within the game, as well as the dynamics of the virtual environments in which you play.

An industry of two halves: mobile gaming Vs skill-based games

It’s interesting to note that there are two very clear ends of the spectrum in the video gaming market in 2018. There is an ever-growing band of casual gamers and a burgeoning group of millennials that thrived on skill-based gameplay, who are largely inspired by the emergence of the eSports industry. According to Newzoo’s 2017 Global Games Market Report, mobile gaming generated more than two-fifths (42%) of all video gaming revenue in 2017. The smartphone and tablet gaming sector grew 19% year-on-year, generating over $46 billion. Furthermore, it believes mobile gaming will represent a majority in the overall video games industry by 2020.

There is no doubt that the accessibility of smartphone and tablet devices is what has really helped this sector take off. Fresh data from GSMA Intelligence says more than five billion people now own a smartphone. That equates to two-thirds of the global population. The casual gaming industry is one of the main reasons why instant gratification has become the norm in gaming. Smartphone users can simply load up a game app and play it for a short time – perhaps on the early-morning commute to work – and put it down as and when they please. Casual games don’t require a great deal of time or effort to learn how to play them, so they appeal hugely to the pick-up-and-play audience.

On the flipside, many of the popular eSports video games are infinitely more intricate than any mobile game app you’ll download. In fact, according to an article in Comic Book, an eSports professional once claimed that eSports requires more skills than any traditional sport. There’s no doubt that the likes of involved titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and Overwatch are heavily involved games with hidden depths. It’s clear that while many video gamers on mobile devices will continue to enjoy the throwaway nature of app-based gaming, there will always be a community of gamers that enjoy the problem-solving aspect of skill-based video games.

In the iGaming sector, online casinos are battling hard to make their games more attractive to the next generation of players. Betway UK Casino believes gamification is key to the future of online slots, saying skill-based bonus rounds designed to maintain the attention of gamers that like to feel rewarded when playing a game are to become commonplace.

How other industries are seeking to appease millennials’ short attention spans

Catering to millennials’ attention spans and desires continues to be a challenge for industry as a whole, not just the video gaming sector. In the restaurant sector, millennials are considered some of the most valuable consumers. According to market analysts MCA, operators must “adapt to meet the demands of younger diners”. That has led to the explosion of mobile-first ordering and Instagram-friendly restaurant interiors to encourage social sharing and increased exposure for eateries.

On the whole, millennials are now the world’s most powerful consumers, both online and offline. Technology is firmly ingrained into the day-to-day lives of millennials and industries are having to move fast to innovate and keep up with their ever-changing demands. Fortunately for the video gaming industry, it seems that skills-based gaming and casual mobile gaming can co-exist in perfect harmony. Instant gratification will always be available to those who seek it, while those who prefer a challenge will be able to get more than they bargained for.

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