The future of gaming “will be a hybrid between the virtual and the real world”

Those who don’t identify as gamers might be surprised at how big the industry is. Games are no longer the preserve of young people tapping their phones; more than 3 billion people all over the world are playing some kind of video game these days – with the median age in the US reaching up to about 30† What was once seen as a male-centric industry has now also seen an explosion of female players logging in and connecting with gamers around the world.

“People are spending more time gaming and the time people spending watching TV is decreasing,” confirms Elay De Beer, CEO of Buff Technologies. The company has built a platform for gamers who play different games on different platforms – allowing them to collect data about users in a variety of other ways and then be rewarded for their playing time. “Let’s take the US – you probably watch a lot of Netflix, but you probably complain that you have nothing else to watch because we consume so much content, it’s really hard to keep pushing your entertainment experience. So people watch a lot of YouTube or TikTok because there is unlimited experiences and you could play games for an unlimited amount.”

Buff helps users who play games like Fortnite tap into those “unlimited experiences” by streamlining the entire ecosystem in one place. The platform integrates into games on mobile and desktop devices and will be available on consoles soon. It is clear that the platform already has 6 million registered users and 450,000 daily active users from all over the world. De Beer confirmed that it is growing at around 10% monthly.

More people are connecting online to meet, socialize and compete in online spaces, making buzzwords like “metaverse” more prominent in the gaming and technology sector. We may not be living in Wall-E inspired dystopias yet, but the gaming industry is on track to help billions of people trade real handshakes for virtual headsets. The fact that gamers live comfortably in worlds hosted by League of Legends and that Mark Zuckerberg has foreseen that “a billion people in the metavers are trading hundreds of dollars” means we may be there sooner than we think.

“’Metaverse’ is a huge buzzword, and when you think of Tron or Ready Player One, it takes time. Revolutions take time,” he continued. “Nobody can predict exactly what it will look like and how it will evolve. It will take time and it will evolve because all the big players and tech giants are investing tons of money in it – so something has to come. It will be the future. No one knows exactly what it will look like.”

De Beer shared with CTech how his 13-year-old balances his life online and offline. For example, some days after school, swimming exercises and social events are held outside. On other days, plans are made to meet in a game like Minecraft, where children can socialize, practice their English skills and participate in a ‘shared experience’ of playing together, albeit from different neighbourhoods.

“It’s a shared experience, but it’s different from what you imagined as a kid,” he told CTech. “They are building their own virtual world. They play with each other and it’s a shared experience, but it adapts over time. Life adapts.”

Life adapts, indeed. For years, gamers old and young alike have felt increasingly comfortable making social plans at home, away from the dangers of the pandemic. They have outgrown the static content of television and have begun to trade it for interactive shared experiences that can take place in virtual worlds. Despite this, De Beer and Buff aren’t convinced it’s a one-way ticket for billions of people staying indoors forever.

“For now, gaming is doing very well and the next evolution, as I see it, will be a hybrid,” he concluded. “It will be a hybrid between the virtual and the real world. I think it will take a lot of time before you see people staying in their house all day with their VRs and not getting out of their seats. I don’t see it happening any time soon.”

Leave a Comment