Over the past decade, gaming has grown into the biggest entertainment industry in the world. From VR devices and mobile gaming to esports and live streamers, video game technology has developed and diversified far quicker than anyone could have expected.
In order to understand the past and future of gaming, it’s worth finding out which factors have led to the industry’s success. Join us as we take a look at all of the individual elements that have collectively contributed to the rapid rise of gaming.
It’s hard to overstate just how beneficial mobile technologies have been for gaming. Nowadays, mobile games account for the vast majority of global gaming revenue, but that hasn’t always been the case.
In 2011, mobile games made around $1 billion in profit. Compare that to last year, when mobile consumers spent over $90 billion on games. Such a dramatic leap in consumer spending is a clear indicator of the enormous impact mobile gaming has made worldwide.
Free-to-play and play-to-earn games
10 years ago, free-to-play (F2P) games had relatively small audiences, and pay-to-earn (P2E) games were simply unheard of. Out of Metacritic’s 100 highest rated games for 2011, only one F2P game made it onto the list – World of Tanks.
Nowadays, F2P games like PUBG and Fortnite have massive audiences. P2E games are a fairly recent addition to the world of gaming, and without the mass adoption of blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, the genre would never have been created.
Although you can still find physical copies of games here and there, digital storefronts have taken over in terms of yearly sales. However, storefronts such as Steam, the Playstation Store, and Apple’s App Store aren’t the only ones making money.
With each passing year, producers and developers of video games continue to explore several types of payment models. For example, battle passes and seasonal content have replaced the loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions of yesteryear.
Whether it’s a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), a first-person shooter (FPS), or a battle royale, esports games have gone from niche genre to blockbuster entertainment. Tournaments draw thousands of eager spectators, and many are now live TV events.
In 2021, winners of the top five esports games were rewarded with over $110 million in prize money. Compare that figure to esports in 2011, when the top 10 games gave out less than $8 million in total.
Considering it was only launched 10 years ago, it’s amazing how quickly Twitch became the biggest 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, over 2.5 million concurrent users watch Twitch channels on a daily basis, which is more than AMC, TNT, and many other established networks.
At this point, it’s fairly safe to say that Google’s 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 players on their cloud-based streaming platforms.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming have both weathered the proverbial storm, and they are now accepted as just another regular part of gaming. Although Xbox Cloud Gaming is fairly new, Geforce Now was launched back in 2015.
Thanks to increased affordability and improved ergonomics, virtual reality (VR) devices are no longer referred to as novelty products. The VR market is far better than it used to be, motion sickness is a lot less of a concern, and VR games are growing in number.
In 2011, the closest things we had to proper VR 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, VR sales were more than double what they were in 2020.
Before the Game Awards was established in 2014, the gaming industry was the only entertainment sector that didn’t have a major annual awards ceremony. In its first year, the Game Awards was watched by 2 million people. Last year, over 80 million people tuned in.
Produced and hosted by games journalist Geoff Keighley, the Game Awards has gained its prestigious status due to multiple successful partnerships with some of gaming’s largest companies, such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Valve.
If we consider all of the factors mentioned above, it’s pretty clear that gaming has grown far quicker than anyone could have anticipated; turning it from a hobby for some into a pastime for all in an astonishingly short period of time.
With such unprecedented growth behind its success, who knows where gaming will take us next? There’s no way to know for sure, but it’s an incredibly exciting prospect to consider nonetheless.