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The popularity of the gaming industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades. The emergence of more powerful computers such as quantum computers, more efficient manufacturing processes, and an entire generation of students educated using computers mean the industry will grow at an even faster rate.

However, the growth will not be linear based on current trends. As we saw in the 1980s and 1990s, the gaming industry will follow innovations and market forces. So with that in mind, what are the innovations and breakthroughs which will shape the future of gaming?

Open-sourced software will play a key role in future game development. U.S. Defense Department graphic illustration by Jessica L. Tozer/Released

• Virtual Reality

As we've covered elsewhere in this website, virtual reality (VR) is on the cusp of going mainstream. The prices of hardware, peripherals and controllers used in VR games have gone down sharply in recent years, and game developers are furiously trying to meet the growing demand. But this is just the start. VR games are capable of scaling greater heights and providing even more immersion gaming experience.

• Open-sourced gaming

Games are notoriously expensive to develop, and the financial returns might take years to realise. This is why there are only a handful of companies dominating the computer game and console game markets. However, there is a silent revolution going in the background right now that many people are oblivious to.

We're talking about online marketplaces such as Google Store and App Store. These marketplaces are teeming with thousands of small and indie developers churning out free or cheap games. The shocking thing is, the majority of these companies are making money.

How are they doing? They are developing their games based on open-sourced software instead of expensive software development kit (SDK). It might take some time, but eventually, collaborative open-sourced software will start to dominate the gaming market. This will be a great thing for consumers, because game prices will drop drastically!

• Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is frequently seen as the poorer cousin of VR. However, AR has one clear advantage – it is mobile. You can literally impose an artificial environment anywhere you like. Imagine being able to play combat games with your friends at the park using mobile devices which project real-time data and imagery on your surroundings. On top of, scenarios, assets, characters, and even quests can be modified and imposed in real-time. How cool would that be?

• Cloud gaming

With easy access to high-speed internet connection and vast amounts of free cloud storage, the fundamental way we install and play games will likely change. In the future, you will no longer have to spend an hour installing a new game on your home computer – the image could just be mirrored to an online cloud storage at the point of purchase. Updates, licensing and database access could happen in the background 24/7 without user input. Games, regardless of how large, become instantly mobile - you could literally start playing games on your office computer during lunchtime without any setup.

• E-sports

E-sport's popularity has been becoming progressively more popular. However, as the number of gamers continues to rise, e-sports will become even more popular. Dads, mothers and even grandparents will develop emotional attachments to future games. So they will definitely be interested to see professionals compete in games they are familiar with. Sort of like football and the Premier League. No one knows for sure how big it will get, but e-sports and e-sport professionals will become very, very prominent before too long.