The games market has exploded in the past seven years. In 2009 mobile games barely made a dent in the overall games market. Today mobile is one of the fastest growing segment.
Advances in the graphics quality and player engagement have opened up mobile to a growing mid-core audience. The PC is experiencing renewed growth thanks to expansion of the overall player base that includes a wider demographic and broader geographic reach. In the future, new growth will also be supported by emerging opportunities in virtual reality/augmented reality and eSports. Ultimately, today’s games cross an array of platforms that includes mobile, PC and consoles.
The latest data from the Open Gaming Alliance shows the total global games market for 2015 is estimated at $76 billion and is expected to reach over $100 billion by 2019. While all segments will see growth over the next four years, mobile and PC gaming will continue to grow significantly. The mobile games market is projected to reach $35 billion by 2019, while the PC games market is estimated to reach $36 billion.
This growth has proved to be the backdrop for major shifts in game development itself. Once accessible to only a handful of companies, game development is no longer dependent on large team with multi-million dollar budgets. Game development has expanded to include an increasingly wide range of companies – from the small studios to the medium and large studios.
A snapshot of these studios shows that 20% have over twenty-five people and currently make up the bulk of overall revenue, as outlined in research from M2 Research. These mid-to-large studios are looking for time-saving techniques and easy deployment options across multiple platforms. Start-ups and smaller studios have generally been in business less than eighteen months but make up 62% of all game studios. These companies need support and access to solutions and tools.
This shift in development has been in large part due to accessible tools. Unity has become an important tool set for independent developers and larger publishers alike who are looking for a flexible game engine, deep toolkit and an active developer community.
Game development has quickly moved into a new phase of expansion as platform vendors such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony look to expand their individual ecosystems. As a result developers must innovate for each platform and build games that take advantage of each platform’s strengths while maintaining a broad multi-platform strategy.
Competition to reach consumers has never been more prevalent and developers must work harder to find creative and innovative techniques that grab the consumer’s attention. Discovery is imperative as crowded platforms require developers to continue to iterate and innovate. At the same time challenges continue as developers must effectively monetize games through a multi-platforms strategy.
The growing interest in virtual reality and augmented reality will have an instrumental impact on the industry over the next twelve to twenty-four months as the first hardware solutions launch and the first commercial immersive content appears. Virtual reality and immersive experiences provide developers with additional opportunities that extend beyond games into immersive entertainment, education, training, medical and communication applications.
Tomorrow’s games and interactive experiences will expand the markets well beyond today’s confined definitions. The entertainment and digital experiences of the future will be fostered by with a mix of innovation, imagination and inspiration.