The computer gaming industry was born about 50 years ago. During this time, dozens of genres and millions of projects have appeared and influenced its development. Along with this, the industry was driven by trends that changed every year. Since we are already on the threshold of a new generation, it is worth paying attention to the main trends that have changed video games.
Some 5-10 years ago, computer players were perceived as a separate part of society, consisting mainly of children and adolescents. Since then, children have grown up, and technologies have arrived with such development’s level that now you can play all day long – on a mobile, tablet, console.
We play even when we are not playing: engaging mechanics, hooks await us in a restaurant, a taxi, and in the dentist’s office. But today we will only talk about the classic gaming industry, if this definition still exists.
Too many social media sites. They are now the main value, distribution channel and content source. The main thing that is changing is the gaming audience.
Not so long ago, the gaming audience could be described with a simple phrase – “white men”. Yes, they still consider themselves the dominant category, but the reality looks different.
Today, the video game industry has diversified so much that the proportion of women who play has almost equalized (48% versus 50%) with the use of games by men, said Darren Keane, Storm International CEO.
Indirect trends and audiences are dramatically changing game audiences. Take, for example, the gamification of processes around us. Games are new marketing, not a haven for gamers.
The gaming community is changing
Games have become a ubiquitous source of entertainment – if you add up all the hours of active play and watching, it turns out that this is the most favorite pastime in the world. Members of this community differ in the way they interact with content. You can see three main categories: players, spectators, and owners. The third group refers to people who buy products intended for or related to games. Previously, all members of the community were called “gamers”, but now we get rid of this term, replacing it with a broader concept – “players”. If we take into account the narrower criteria for how a person shares game content and discusses it on social networks, what kind of content he creates himself, then we can identify 64 potential types of game lovers.
Mobile games drive the industry
Mobile games were the largest segment in 2018-2020, accounting for 51% of the global market. Of these, 41% are games on smartphones and 10% on tablets. The entire mobile segment, hundreds of millions of dollars.
Console games were the second largest segment in terms of global revenue, with revenue of $ 34.6 billion in 2018. By 2021, the share of consoles will grow by 4.1% to $ 39 billion. The third largest segment was the PC games segment, whose revenue amounted to $ 32.9 billion.
More ads in emerging markets
The number of gamers in the world has exceeded 2.3 billion people. Almost 95% of them play mobile games, said Darren Keane about Shangri La and other entertainment platforms. The segment development has spurred the expansion of the line of affordable Chinese smartphones, which has increased the mobile users number with low income from developing countries. They do not have the opportunity to spend money on mobile games, which is why advertising in gaming applications is developing in these regions.
The multi-game no-download games popularity and the subscription model development
Since last year, social media has been experimenting with games that can be played without downloading. The pioneer was Facebook, which launched Instant Game in 2018. The social network was followed by Google, and then the social networks of Asian countries: Tencent in China, Kakao in South Korea and LINE in Japan.
Game developers gain access to the social media user base, noted Michael Boettcher from Shangri La. And platforms get a share of every transaction in these games. The latter advantage is critical as it allows social media to fulfill the distributor role previously reserved for app stores.
Console developers will also develop a new business model – game subscriptions. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, platform owners who already control the hardware and distribution channel for content and services, are particularly well suited to provide Game subscription services.
COVID-19 and game development
The COVID-19 pandemic as a whole has a positive effect on the gaming market, attracting new users who were not previously the target audience, but who have tried video games in the social isolation mode, remote work and distance learning. At the same time, avid gamblers also remain in the game and, thanks to all the new monetization methods that appear on the market, spend more and more money on the gameplay.
The impact of the pandemic on the gaming industry has been favorable so far. Bloomberg analysts believe that about ⅓ of all new COVID players will remain gamers after the pandemic end.