2019 Digital Trends

Jan 08 2019 6 min read

2019 Digital Trends ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!

Trump's impeachment, the United Kingdom in crisis due to Brexit, Half-Life 3 announcement — who knows what's going to happen in 2019? We bet you could never have guessed RDR2 won't get the Game of the Year Award at TGA-2018. But the guys from Newzoo are decent: they know how to calculate and predict stuff speaking of esports, technologies and media. So let's check some expected 2019 trends. 


The market continues to grow

In 2019 revenues in the global gaming market will amount to 150 billion dollars. Mobile games profitability will once again increase significantly, mainly due to emerging markets such as India. Meanwhile, consoles will also have another strong year. 

The number of releases in China, the biggest and most profitable gaming market in the world, will decrease — limiting its growth potential.

Besides, we are expecting a new generation of consoles by the end of 2019. It will lead to a temporary slowdown in revenue growth. 

A relatively quiet year for Sony and Microsoft 

Despite several major releases like The Last of Us Part II and Gears 5, Sony and Microsoft will have a calm and smooth year. Mainly due to the fact that both giants are working on the next consoles generation. Sony is expected to hold its own big event in 2020 related to PlayStation 5 announcement. We remind you that developers already received PS5 devkits.  

Unlike Microsoft, Sony will not launch a cheaper console version for cloud gaming in 2019 or 2020. On the other hand, Nintendo is expected to release an upgraded Nintendo Switch with a new higher quality screen.

The war of PC stores

Steam wears a crown of PC store monopoly for more than ten years. But at the end of 2018 Epic Games and Discord opened their own stores to declare war. Epic has her enormous Fortnite audience to feed, though announced exclusive offers and better revenue sharing for developers wanting to add their games to the Epic Games Store.  

Epic Games Store is expected to grow during the current year actively, but exclusive temporary offers will alienate conservative players. This is a new phenomenon in the PC stores ecosystem. But as for console-acquainted gamers, who are accustomed to short-term exclusives, it won't be unusual. 

Discord recently announced even greater revenue share for developers (90/10 in favor of the developers) at Discord Store.

Chinese laws will change developing strategies at home and abroad

After the establishment of the Committee on Game Ethics in China, it will be difficult for developers to create games for the Celestial Empire. Foreign companies will have to invest time and money to adjust their products to adhere to the standards of the new committee. Of course, companies will make these adjustments only if they are confident enough that their games will pay off in China, which means that only the biggest games and franchises can risk releasing in China

New rules will also force Chinese gaming companies to turn their attention abroad. In particular, high potential markets like Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, Europe, USA and the Middle East


Source: Newzoo


Access to premium content began to appear in 2018, giving fans the opportunity to pay for additional esports video content. For example, Twitch's All-Access Pass subscribers acquire bonus materials consisting of behind-the-scenes videos, Q&A sessions with pro-players, additional stream angles and exclusive Overwatch in-game content. 

Znipe.tv also changed mind collaborating with ESL, DreamHack, PGL and FaceIt — offering superb stream quality that is not currently available on other platforms, including four streams from different cameras during matches. In 2019 there will be even more premium access offers because leagues and broadcasting companies are apparently searching for more and more monetizing models. 

Esports players will participate in brand's marketing campaigns

The popularity of esports rise in haste, which leads to engaging marketing campaigns in 2019 and, eventually, involving players. 2018 had a lot of examples — Uzi, League of Legends player, is exposed along with basketball legend LeBron James at Nike store in China.

Similarly, Head & Shoulders made an ad with RAMZES666, Russian Dota 2 pro-player. His Virtus.pro teammate Solo starred in a similar advertisement for Gillette. And of course, Ninja — worldwide know Fortnite streamer — appeared in a Samsung ad and ESPN magazine cover.

The growing number of places for esports tournaments

Worldwide esports audience will rise to 456m people in 2019, that is 61m more than in 2018. In the coming years, giants such as the Overwatch League and the LoL Pro League will need places suitable for hosting esports events. 

Numerous esports arenas are currently under construction, and most of them will open their doors in 2019. Some notable examples: Riot Games LCK Esports Stadium in Seoul, South Korea; Full Sail University Arena ($6 million worth) in Florida — the world's largest student playground; and Canada's first esports arena in Richmond. We expect even more announcements in upcoming months.

Esports promotion in Southeast Asia

This region can also boast with its fastest-growing esports audience, predictably reaching 31,9m people in 2019.  Q4 of 2018 saw Singtel Group and its regional partners agree on cooperation to develop gaming and esports ecosystem in Southeast Asia, Australia and India. It means a lot of esports groundworks coming to this region.

Moreover, some competitive games (Dota 2, Hearthstone, NBA 2K and Tekken 7) will be awarded medals at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. In 2019, we expect to see numerous announcements of new leagues and tournaments in Southeast Asia. 

Mobile market

Epic Store goes mobile

Epic made it clear that there's an intention to compete and maybe even overrun Steam on PC. It is likely that the company will try a similar strategy for mobile devices (in particular, for Android) in 2019. Epic has already decided to skirt Google Play Store earlier this year by releasing the Android version of Fortnite through a unique patented launcher. 

The company is expected to release their own mobile game launcher, which may also include games from different developers — in fact, a mobile version of Epic Games Store. Epic has already demonstrated that they can effectively distribute mobile games in large amounts, and the company develops a big set of tools for cross-platform development for mobile devices and PCs. This could mean certain events. If Epic can attract mobile developers to a new platform using a profitable share, this will push the application distribution scene and could be the beginning of the end for app stores.

More exciting and competitive mobile games

Over the past few years, smartphones have reached laptops' powers remaining compact enough to fit pockets. As a result, genres that were once exclusive to PCs and consoles — including shooters, MOBA and (MMO) RPG — are now common for mobile devices. 

These types of mobile games are trendy in emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia. Attracted by these potential markets, western developers will continue to adapt popular franchises to the mobile gaming market, following the latest examples of Fortnite and the Activision Blizzard Diablo Immortal

2019 is not ready for 5G

Sometimes, mobile tech websites mention 5G, but this specifical technology will not release until 2020 over even later. There is a chance that a couple of megapolises will launch 5G in 2019, but nothing more. And the difference between 4G and 5G will increase in time, not momentarily, since 5G will take several more years of infrastructure investments and tons of technological breakthroughs in order to fulfill its promises completely. 

Apple launching streaming service

Disney+ comes in 2019, joining a long list of streaming video services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO NOW and others. This year there may also appear another similar service from another media giant — Apple. The company already offers music (Apple Music), payments (Apple Pay) and cloud storage (iCloud) services. Turn on the logics — video comes next.


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