Whichever way you choose to look at it, there’s little question that 2020 was a tough year, with the arrival of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic bringing with it a devastating impact on almost every industry. Even so, the unexpected change to our way of lives quickly highlighted our resilience and our ability to adapt, as a collective, to new ways of doing things. One industry that was undoubtedly impacted but that has bounced back brilliantly in the face of adversity is entertainment, and although our ways of getting our fix have been forced to change, the industry is emerging stronger than ever with a whole new approach to keeping us amused.
It seems some entertainment areas, such as gambling, have managed to deal with all the uncertainties and increase their market share particularly well. While all of our favourite luxury casinos remain closed and a glamorous night at the roulette table is currently still off the cards, the industry has found other ways to keep their affluent client bases happy. Many have moved online, becoming fast payout casinos, and offering other features players need for an optimal gaming experience – while existing online casinos have upped their game in the customer experience stakes, providing an elevated level of service and employing modern technologies such as artificial intelligence to help them get even further ahead of the competition.
In many ways, it’s a huge step forward for the industry that would have proved to be successful with or without the pandemic. At a time when we’re living in an increasingly digital age, many will argue that it’s been a long time coming, and as we head into 2021, we can expect to see the wider entertainment world following suit. Here are some of the top trends we can expect to see this year, changing the face of the entertainment industry forever.
Virtual parties on Zoom
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Zoom has quickly become the number one platform for business meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as winning itself an unexpected role as one of the most important social tools we’ve got. Many companies and managers have found the app to be a lifeline when it comes to keeping up to speed with employees who are working from home or doing international business deals from afar, and it has proved reliable and highly functional across the board.
It seems that Zoom’s popularity is set to remain high even after the pandemic has passed, with users resorting to it for everything from meetings and online classes to staying connected with family and friends. In fact, so advanced is the technology that comes with this much-loved service that you can even use it to have a socially distanced party – and all from the comfort of your own luxury home, of course. The app contains a wealth of functions you might not have ever noticed before, such as games including Pictionary, CAH, Bingo, and many other titles, making it easy to play with friends and family online. It’s worth noting that Zoom is free and offers reliable servers. You can add up to 100 people to the same call, which is convenient when looking to connect together larger groups of people.
Video streaming everywhere
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Video streaming is no longer a new concept, but it’s set to become even more popular in 2021. TikTok, the new social network that focuses on video sharing, encourages users to engage with the community by sharing and watching content created by others, while other social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, have been supporting videos sharing for a long time now. Facebook Live gives you an option to stream for hours, and it’s not much different than YouTube – and, with Instagram since having followed suit, it’s set to be a continuing trend over the next year.
While we are talking video streaming, it’s impossible not to mention movie and TV show streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The statistics show that Netflix almost doubled the rate of new users joining during the first wave of the pandemic, with people appreciating the original content as well as the pure quantity. It’s nice when you have thousands of hours of TV shows and movies in a single place, and you can choose what to watch at any time – and services such as these ensure that you will never run out. We’ve seen a multitude of newcomers to the part in recent months, giving the old favourites a run for their money – and in 2021, we can expect to see different providers pulling out all of the stops for their slice of the market share.
E-sports takes gaming to the next level
E-sports is another trend that will continue to grow in 2021. We already see competitions in League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer, and other games attracting thousands of players, while the prizes on offer in Fortnite were worth millions, and these tournaments often have huge numbers of viewers who continue to return regularly for their latest fix. This year, we can expect e-sports to move up to a whole new level, with additional competitions organised to attract millions of eager fans. On the topic of gaming, the internet gambling industry has noted consistent growth over the last several years, and this year, the experts estimate that bonuses will become even better. Add to that an increase in support for 4K live table streaming, and we’ll see it continue to go from strength to strength.
Virtual and augmented reality
The first time people around the world experienced augmented reality was with Pokemon Go – a unique game that attracted millions of players worldwide, and an excellent example of the AR approach. The concept involves a “fantasy layer” being added to the environment which allows you to play anywhere, anytime – transforming your local area or that beach in the Caribbean into a game that encourages you to explore and experience the world wherever you happen to be. That’s how the game made Pokemons “appear” in your street and other locations.
However, that title only scratched the surface of the AR capabilities and in 2021, we’re looking forward to seeing how developers can leverage this technology to offer even better entertainment options. As for virtual reality, it has been around for a while now, with VR headsets now widely available to buy in gaming stores across the globe. The simulated world can vary from an Indiana Jones to realistic ones, such as “visiting” museums, theme parks, and even casinos. You can “go” to these places while actually staying in your room, which is impressive – and we’ll see the VR world continue to impress with new advances over the next twelve months.