How Gaming is Levelling Up

The gaming industry has come a long way since the days of Pong and Tetris. Games today can have budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions, with the production values and marketing machine of a Hollywood movie.

In fact, the gaming sector is bigger than the movie and music industries put together–and still growing. Over two billion people worldwide are gamers–26% of the global population. The industry is expected to generate over $260 billion in revenue by 2025.

 

Streaming and the tech giants

Tech giants like Google, Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook) are all planning to get into gaming, looking to make video game streaming as natural as streaming movies and music. Microsoft, which established itself in the gaming industry with the Xbox, has already introduced a game streaming service, Project xCloud, which can be used to stream Xbox games to PCs and other devices. 

Meta began developing its gaming platform in 2016 with Unity Technologies, and Google has launched a cloud gaming service, Stadia, that offers game streaming with extremely high quality through Google’s Chrome browser, phones, tablets, and computers.

As the game streaming trend continues, buying physical video games looks set to become a thing of the past, enabling game companies to save on manufacturing, shipping, and storage costs and to generate revenue throughout the year via subscription services rather than relying on a big rush at Christmas.

 

Innovations

The tech giants are also getting into virtual reality gaming with innovations such as Meta’s Oculus VR headsets and Apple’s reported upcoming release of the Apple VR headset. Beyond virtual reality, we can expect to see consoles adding voice, touchscreens, and gesture controls, which will become part of game mechanics and add further layers of immersion.

California-based Roblox is currently the biggest gaming company, with a market cap of $74.88 billion in November 2021.

 

Merchandising

Because games now cost so much to make, the gaming industry needs a Hollywood-scale merchandising machine to spin revenue off its intellectual property. The Halo series on the Xbox has gone beyond traditional merchandising like figures and t-shirts to create novels, comic books, an upcoming TV series and, rumour has it, a movie. Assassin’s Creed was actually made into a movie in 2016, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog in 2020, which set the record for the biggest opening weekend for a video game movie.

 

Expanding demographics

Gaming is expanding into both younger and older demographics and has achieved a near 50-50 gender mix. It’s become so mainstream that the top competitors in eSports leagues can now apply for the professional athlete visa when entering the U.S, and popular gamers can make thousands of dollars streaming videos of themselves playing at home.

With more people playing games, and a growing demand for more immersive gaming and easier ways to access games, the game industry looks set to go from strength to strength.

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