Over the past decade, gaming has become the biggest entertainment industry in the world. From VR devices and mobile games to esports and live streamers, video game technology has grown and diversified much faster than anyone could have expected.
To understand the past and the future of the game, it is worth finding out what factors have led to the success of the industry. Join us as we take a look at all of the individual elements that have collectively contributed to the rapid rise of the game.
It’s hard to overstate how beneficial mobile technologies have been to gaming. Mobile games account for the vast majority of global gaming revenue these days, but that hasn’t always been the case.
In 2011, mobile games generated approximately $1 billion in profits. Compare that to last year, when mobile consumers spent over $90 billion on games. Such a dramatic jump in consumer spending is a clear indicator of the huge impact mobile gaming has had on the world.
Free games and games to win
10 years ago, free-to-play (F2P) games had a relatively small audience, and pay-to-play (P2E) games were simply unknown. Of Metacritic’s 100 highest rated games for 2011, only one F2P game made it to the list – World of Tanks.
These days, F2P games like PUBG and Fortnite have a massive following. P2E games are a fairly recent addition to the gaming world, and without the massive adoption of blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, the genre would never have been created.
While you can still find physical copies of games here and there, digital storefronts have taken over in terms of annual sales. However, storefronts such as Steam, the Playstation Store, and Apple’s App Store aren’t the only money-makers.
Year after year, video game producers and developers continue to explore several types of payment models. For example, battle passes and seasonal content replaced the loot boxes and paid microtransactions of yesteryear.
Whether it’s a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS), or battle royale, esports games have grown from genre from niche to blockbuster entertainment. The tournaments attract thousands of eager spectators, and many are now live televised events.
In 2021, the winners of the top five esports games were rewarded with over $110 million in prizes. Compare that number to esports in 2011, when the top 10 games gave less than $8 million in total.
Considering it was only launched 10 years ago, it’s amazing how quickly Twitch has become the largest live streaming platform in the world. In 2011, Youtube had been around for a few years, but Twitch completely changed the way we consume video game content.
Fast forward to today and Twitch and Youtube can compete with major TV broadcasters. For example, more than 2.5 million concurrent users watch Twitch channels daily, which is more than AMC, TNT, and many other established networks.
At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that Google Stadia failed in its attempt to bring cloud gaming to the masses. However, several other tech companies have managed to gain a steady stream of gamers on their cloud-based streaming platforms.
Both Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming have weathered the proverbial storm, and they’re now accepted as another regular part of gaming. Although Xbox Cloud Gaming is relatively new, Geforce Now launched in 2015.
With increased accessibility and improved ergonomics, virtual reality (VR) devices are no longer called novelty products. The VR market is much better than before, motion sickness is much less of a concern, and VR games are on the rise.
In 2011, the things closest to virtual reality were amusement park rides and unique arcade games. When the Oculus Rift was released in 2013, it sparked a VR revolution that is still being felt today. In 2021, RV sales more than doubled compared to 2020.
Prior to the creation of The Game Awards in 2014, the gaming industry was the only entertainment industry that did not hold a major annual awards ceremony. In its first year, The Game Awards was watched by 2 million people. Last year, more than 80 million people logged on.
Produced and hosted by gaming journalist Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards has earned its prestigious status through multiple successful partnerships with some of the biggest gaming companies, including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Valve.
If we consider all the factors mentioned above, it’s pretty clear that the game has grown much faster than anyone could have predicted; turning it from a pastime for some into a pastime for all in a surprisingly short amount of time.
With such unprecedented growth behind its success, who knows where the game will take us next? There’s no way to know for sure, but it’s an incredibly exciting prospect to consider nonetheless.