Video games have been around for decades and have been one of the mainstream forms of entertainment ever since their inception. The retro games with pixelated graphics are a thing of the past now, and the video games are becoming more and more realistic as we speak. With Unreal Engine 5’s tech demo released on PS5, we can stay highly optimistic for the next-gen and safely say that the best is yet to come.
Creating a typical AAA video game nowadays requires a huge budget and has become increasingly complex with the involvement of a diverse team of developers, actors, musicians, artists, and so on, and with AAA+ on the rise, we are going to see more and more video games released as a service and more companies adopting this business model.
One could even say that the gaming industry has become larger than the movie and the music industries combined. Let us have a look at the ways in which the industry has changed over the years.
It is often difficult to fathom that only a couple of decades ago, we needed chunky monitors to run 8-bit games, which felt like the peak of the gaming industry at the time. Fast-forward to the late 2010s, companies like Google and Facebook being the giants of the tech industry are trying to bring video game streaming services to the masses. Just like Netflix, users will be able to stream the games they play directly from servers using special controllers hooked up to them.
Microsoft’s Project xCloud, a complimentary streaming service for Xbox One and the forthcoming Xbox Series X games consoles would allow live streaming of games hosted on remote servers and the video to be sent to any compatible device over the internet.
Google released a similar service named Google Stadia that provides surprisingly good performance if you have a decent internet connection. Announcing a swath of new games to the service, Stadia has done a lot of things right with little to no latency and seamless streaming on handheld devices as well.
Rise of Electronic Sports
The realm of competitive gaming started at gatherings at friends’ places to hosting of LAN games and playing endlessly for hours has changed dramatically. Today competitive gaming has evolved into a discipline, an organized sport, with competitors from various teams and leagues taking part in the games popular among the masses.
The evolution of eSports has completely changed the face of modern online gaming as it has left behind its niche and countercultural identity and is now embraced by big leagues and the mainstream. It has become a multi-million dollar industry with a huge potential for marketing and brand sponsorship.
Games as a Service
Gone is the time when game publishers used to create fairly linear single-player games, and mass produce discs for gamers to buy. With the increasing popularity of MMOs and mobile games, publishers have adopted and adapted to a new business model that provides games as a service to the consumers.
It’s not about how the games are played but how they are developed and maintained. Most of these games are provided as a subscription with direct streaming via services like gaming on demand coupled with in-game DLC purchases or microtransactions that keep the gamers engaged.
The rise of games also brought about a rise in costs. Additional costs like numerous servers, actors, artists, designers, and copyright fees required the modern game to be an entity similar to Hollywood movies.
Game publishers nowadays leave no stone unturned with respect to selling merchandise like t-shirts, figures, mugs, etc. Flaunting collectibles of the latest game you are playing has become a culture among pro gamers and casual gamers alike as nothing beats you owning collectibles from your favorite games.
The gaming industry has been a consistent force of driving innovation in terms of technology, business, and marketing. With more and more consumers increasingly spending time playing video games, it is becoming a crucial arena for big publishers and companies to tap on and to have a piece of the pie.