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2021 Wrap-up - Gaming, XR, and the Metaverse

As we start a new year and close out 2021, we wanted to take a look back at everything that has happened in this industry and touch on some of what we hope to see happen in 2022.

Another year in the global pandemic has negatively affected a lot of industries and the people who work in them but surprisingly has only increased the demand for quality Immersive Experiences. There was a massive surge in VR headset sales thanks in part to a multitude of games and experiences hitting the market as well as the relatively low-cost Oculus Quest 2 that was released in late 2020.

Facebook became Meta and introduced much of the world to the concept of the Metaverse. Many people in and around the industry felt this was taking credit for something that has existed for decades, but this push from a major player in the industry is exactly what XR needs to reach the mainstream. Meta's announcement boldly claims that the metaverse will "eventually encompass work, entertainment, and everything in between. Like phones and laptops today, our platform needs to be flexible enough to accommodate all these different use cases."

While the promise of a truly immersive virtual reality is compelling, as it offers new and exciting ways to work, play, and learn, it's important to remember that these experiences are built and tested by people, which highlights the need for greater quality and even regulation in this space. Simply put, if we're to spend a significant amount of our lives interacting with one another in a virtual world, that world had better behave the way it was intended.

There was also a lot going on in gaming in 2021. Demand for video game consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S is higher than ever, and Nintendo sold over 8-million Switch devices between April and September alone. Meanwhile, PC gamers have struggled to find the latest generation of video cards, aka GPUs, to power their gaming and XR experiences. Many believe that 2022 will see a bump in GPU availability, with new entries from Intel providing some much-needed relief.

In terms of game development, 2021 wasn't a great year. There were fewer titles released, and many studios delayed releases several times and some indefinitely as teams around the world looked for ways to improve their development and testing during the pandemic. There were some polished gems released this year and some disappointments which highlighted the need for better quality standards.

2021 was also an important year for people working in the gaming industry who spoke out against unfair treatment in the workplace, which is something we care about very deeply at GameDriver. These are important issues that affect everyone who makes or even consumes games and immersive experiences, and we hope this dialog results in some positive change.

At GameDriver, we believe the gaming and XR industries are at a critical point in maturity where many of the realities of big business are forcing some hard lessons to be learned; from fair treatment of employees, to better predicting the impact of supply chains and a global pandemic, to setting realistic market expectations which is difficult in a creative field.

Our goal is to make gaming and XR development more consistent, predictable, and cost-effective through automated testing. While we cannot predict what the new year will bring, we're excited to be part of this amazing industry.


Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2022.

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