2020 was an exciting year for the gaming world, and plenty of new releases, events and announcements were scattered over the months to ensure a sustained highpoint for the entire industry. From the release of long anticipated new consoles that promise to usher us into an advanced generation for gaming, to a concerted investment from developers into releasing new and original titles that keep us glued to our screens from hours on end, it would be difficult to identify just a handful of events that altered the industry forever.
With that said, however, there were a few highpoints of particular note to gaming aficionados – moments when previous and, at times, long standing records were surpassed, owing to the incredible momentum driving the entire industry forward.
Read more about just a handful of the gaming records that were broken in 2020, below.
1. GGPoker Makes its Way into the Guinness Book
Online poker has been championed the world over for more than twenty years now, and not only has it drawn a significant player base in that time, but it has also attracted some of the world’s most renowned poker players into its (virtual) hallowed halls, too.
In September of 2020, online poker made history when the renowned site GGPoker offered players a record breaking prize pool for its World Series Tournament, totalling a staggering $27,559,500. Not only is this emblematic of an industry that continues to evolve and raise the bar for its growing fanbase, but of the sheer scope online poker holds within the gaming world.
As an increasing number of players flock to these online tournaments – and, of course, take advantage of the incredible prize pools – we can only anticipate a continued cycle of growth on both sides going forward.
2. US Gamers Spend More Than Ever Before on the Hobby
Gaming is one of those rare pastimes that can reshape itself to accommodate almost any budget. From free-to-play mobile games to bespoke and hand built PC gaming stations, the cost of indulging a gaming hobby can prove as modest or as flashy as the player deems it.
In 2020, however, it seems that gamers decided en masse that that year would be a relatively flashy one, as spending on video games, consoles, and gaming accessories far exceeded spending in any other year. In the US, gamers invested just under $57 billion – a figure that is more than 25% higher than it was by the end of the previous year, 2019.
This is demonstrative of the significant momentum currently powering the entire industry forward. As hardware develops, so too does game development itself, enabling creatives to home in on particular niches and ensure that there is an irresistible draw for every demographic.
3. Witcher Adaptation Breaks Netflix Record
The gaming world extends far beyond the realm of gameplay itself. These days, it has a hand in every area of popular culture, from music and art to film and, of course, TV.
One of the most well-known video game adaptations of recent years is Netflix’s original series, The Witcher, based on the video game franchise (itself drawn from a series of books, written by Andrzej Sapkowski throughout the 1980s and 1990s).
As a gaming franchise, the title proved incredibly popular among fans – a fact which arguably heightened anticipation for the release of the series, and ensured that it saw early success.
In fact, the series saw record-breaking success when it outperformed any of Netflix’s previous releases, garnering around 76 million views in the first four weeks alone and ensuring that its entrance into 2020 was met with unprecedented success. What’s more, in good news for fans of the season, its unparalleled success meant that the show was billed to facilitate a spin off series before season two of The Witcher ever went into production.
From the launch of the BBC’s own dedicated gaming podcast to the release of next generation hardware, cloud gaming services, and incredible new titles that immerse us deeper within alternate worlds than ever before, 2020 was a standout year for the gaming industry around the world, and promises yet another twelve months filled with excitement, anticipation – not to mention new challenges for even the most seasoned of gamers.