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article imagePost-lockdown developments with the video game sector

By Tim Sandle     Jun 9, 2020 in Business
The video game industry continues to shift huge volumes and to generate high-volume sales. While games have received a lockdown boost, the industry needs to continue to innovate and transform in order to dominate different forms of entertainment media.
The video game sector has had a 'good' coronavirus pandemic. For example, the Bidstack Group has informed investors that the fledgling In-game advertising industry is seeing an increase in demand amidst the coronavirus pandemic, signalling one area where advertising is growing among a general global fall in ad demand.
However, in general the video gaming industry is facing an uncertain future growth pattern, according to an overview in The Daily Telegraph. This is because the industry still remain dependent upon new hardware, with the sector hoping for a boost when the PS5 and Xbox X are released. This reliance on new consoles cannot, however, carry on indefinitely given the attraction of streaming and improvements with Internet speeds, two factors that are anticipated to make the console redundant.
Three areas where the industry is developing are examined below.
Adding a competitive edge to video gaming is one way to reinvigorate the industry and to increase sales. Competition has been enhanced through the growth of 'eSports'. This relates to the 'professionalisation' of video gaming, with attempts to bring gaming on par with more traditional sports. Platforms like 'League of Legends' run major competitions, drawing players and large audiences from around the world.
ESports is an industry that especially attracts young people. For example, there are some eighty U.S. colleges with varsity eSports teams, plus 22 institutions are now offering scholarships in competitive video games. Further, in China iResearch estimates over 260 million people are already playing eSports.
Game boosting
A development with video gaming is the concept of video game boosting. This is when a player's opponents or enemies work with you, as in a multiplayer match, instead of against you, as is more typical in most playing modes. The video game boosting sector is becoming a growth area of the digital economy. The approach should not be confused with 'game boosting', which relates to various software-driven measures designed to enhance computer performance through the elimination of unwanted background processing.
Different companies entering this space seek to offer boosting services for the more popular video games, in return for a fee (and hence the market for game boosting is rising to several million dollars per year). Games for which such services are available include Hearthstone, Overwatch, League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and Rocket League, among others. The largest growth is with Valorant and this was one of the first boosted games on the market (and hence the popularity of the term 'valorant boost'), which is a first-person shooter from Californian company Riot Games and designed for Microsoft Windows operating PCs. This is due to the game's rising popularity as an all-out competitive game. As a beta launch, ESPN states that Valorant amassed the second most concurrent viewers for any game ever on Twitch, with 1.7 million viewers
Gaming as a service
Gaming as a service is perhaps the most significant part of the industry's digital transformation. It comes in several forms, such the transition away from purchasing physical copies of games towards digital distribution. This has been seen foremost with mobile gaming, to the extent that mobile gaming now accounts for approximately 51 percent of the market share.
A second development is with cross-platform capabilities. This enables players on one platform to interact with players on a different platform. For example, an Xboxer can play against opponents on PCs and Playstations. As a sign that different media are beginning to cross-link, a new title called Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix allows the home player to sometimes play against real drivers and celebrities (for a fee).
The third development, and core to the 'gaming-as -a-service' model, is with games moving more towards being be sold through a subscription model, allowing a whole ]library of games to be streamed to a device on a rental model. An example is with Shadow, which is a subscription service that offers cloud-based gaming across Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, as well as providing a beta service via Ubuntu.
Future prospects
The extent and popularity reflects the net value of the video game economy (the development, marketing, and monetization of video games). This is currently valued at $120 billion, with many top video game releases making more money than blockbuster movie releases. Such economic power if reflective of video games having become an irreplaceable part of global culture. Three video game titles have sold more than 100 million copies: Minecraft, Tetris and Grand Theft Auto V. While the popularity of games remains, further innovations in the gaming sector are required if the digital economy of video games is to remain as strong as it has been.
More about Video games, digital economy, digital transformation, Gamers
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