The gaming industry is a rapidly developing media industry and it is only getting bigger. In preparation of creating my own game I conducted a lot of research in order to get to grips with the industry. I was looking for trends, job roles and looked for were the potential future of gaming lies. This research is to help me produce the best product that I possible can as well as just having a great insight into the industry itself.
To show the sheer magnitude that the gaming industry holds here are some statistics from Business Tech. Games vs. movies: who wins?. 2016. Games vs. movies: who wins?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://businesstech.co.za/news/general/19901/games-vs-movies-who-wins/. [Accessed 15 January 2016]. According to the NPD Group in America the gaming industry generated $17.02 billion in 2011 compared to movie sales making only $9.42 billion in the same year according to The-Numbers.com. This shows the pure volume of what the gaming industry can achieve.
AAA Companies Vs Indie developers
Getting into the gaming market itself use to be a very difficult task for most people. The industry uses to be dominated by large gaming companies, not allowing a great deal of diversity within the industry. It made the market consumed by shooting and very repetitive games made by AAA game development teams. These companies where almost scared to try something different or new, instead they decided to go for the safe option. Some titles had budgets in the billions, because of this companies wanted to make that it was going to sell. This pushed out indie games, for the simple fact that they didn’t have the restrictions these large companies had and this made indie games extremely popular. The developers of indie titles had the freedom to create whatever they desired. It almost in a way went back to how games where originally made. Indie developers create games because of their passion for gaming rather than mostly for pure profits. This is great news for gamers everywhere, breathing life back into the gaming industry.
Indie games have become a lot easier to create and to market these days, this is due to a number of factors. Software’s and equipment for developing games has become a lot cheaper and in some cases free. The Unreal Engine is a great and powerful tool for creating games, that is completely free to use. This is the engine I decided to use to create my game, for a number of reasons. It is a great piece of software that suits me perfectly due to the price and efficiency.
The marketing of indie games has become much faster and simpler due to the way the gaming industry has developed over the years.
Digital downloads are a major factor in how it was even possible to distribute indie titles. Without digital downloads indie developers don’t have the means or funds to burn their games onto disks and ship them across the world for sale. Developers used to have to have a publisher to ensure that their games would sell and simply was not possible until digital downloads. Steam created by Valve, is a massive digital store for games. This changed the game for how people distributed games. This helped indie developers get their games out there. There are over 4 thousand indie games on steam. Nearly half of them arriving in 2014 and 2015. This shows the sudden boom in the production of indie titles.
Digital downloads are one of the top 5 trends in gaming in 2015 according to internap.com.
Top 5 online gaming industry trends for 2015 | Internap. 2016. Top 5 online gaming industry trends for 2015 | Internap. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.internap.com/2014/12/01/top-five-online-gaming-industry-trends-2015/. [Accessed 17 January 2016]. This shows that digital downloads would be the best way for me to market my game. Its popularity cannot be ignored and this definitely the course to take when publishing an indie title.
The internet itself also has a key role in this. Just from the way the internet is set up, it is the largest database in the world, because of this anyone with the knowhow can promote themselves. Perhaps the main reason indie titles are so popular is because of the way that everyone is connected through the internet and it has become the main way we communicate today. This had lead consumers to feel that the internet should be main way companies and brands should communicate to them. We have a tendency as humans to criticize and generally not be fans of big companies, because of this it is no surprise that indie developers have become more popular. They seem more human and are on the same level as consumers, giving them more appeal than larger companies.
Another major factor that helped indie games climb in popular is crowd funding. Instead of having to pitch their games to publishers, indie developers can put it up on site like Kick Starter and reach out the consumers themselves. I think this a great change in pace for the gaming industry. This means that they can directly ask the community their thoughts on concepts. Giving games a more community driven production feel to it.
Mobile games popularity has boomed over the last few years. The revenue of mobile games has surpassed console gaming. Here is a chart from gamesindustry.biz
Report: Mobile to become gaming’s biggest market by 2015 | GamesIndustry.biz. 2016. Report: Mobile to become gaming’s biggest market by 2015 | GamesIndustry.biz.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-22-report-mobile-to-become-gamings-biggest-market-by-2015. [Accessed 19 January 2016].
This shows the rapid growth in the mobile game industry. Mobile games have become very popular for causal gamers with games like candy crush. The potential in mobile games is undeniable when it comes to making money. Because of all of this I think it is key for me to keep in mind that making a mobile port for my game would be a very smart move. Realising this early on is very good because that allows me to keep in the back of my head that a mobile port should be thought about on each production step to ensure it is possible to make. However, saying all this the mobile game market is already showing signs of early saturation, which means I should work on the mobile port before it becomes to over saturated. This is because hundreds and hundreds of mobile games are put onto the market each day, on platforms like the app store for Apple.
When looking into the gaming industry it is important to consider what job roles are available once you finally get out there. This can be broken down into 5 groups.
- Audio engineer
- Games designer
- Lead artist
- Level designer
- Technical artist
- Lead programmer
- Assistant producer
- Creative director
- External producer
- Project manager or producer
- Producer of brand and manager
This is just a rough idea of what roles there are in the industry. This is usually how large companies are divided to create a AAA game, but because of the rise of indie development small teams can take on a number of these roles or even do every role themselves.
Future of gaming
This sure is an existing time for gaming and who knows where it will take us in the next decade or so. My predictions are that there are a number of trends that will become massive over the next few years. Mobile games will become a force to reckon with and is already showing signs of this. AAA companies are already producing mobile games, with the free to play business model. The free to play business model is when games are free to download, but there are a number of in game purchases that the consumer can make. This varies from boast, better gear and increasing the amount of time you can play the game. Free to play games are extremely popular within mobile gaming and I won’t be surprised if that it will be main way companies sell mobile games in the future.
VR is for the first time really making its way into the limelight recently. Thanks to advances in technology this has become possible for the first time and for reasonable price as well. The potential of Virtual reality is massive and un-matched. As well as being the future for gaming it also has a number of amazing uses. It can be a great assistance in education, for training people to be able to do certain activities. For example, it can be great to help pilots experience a realist simulation of flying a plane. The entertainment potential is also massive. Creating a personal fantasy space were the user can experience whatever they want. There is no doubt in my mind this not only the future of gaming but the future of media itself.
The gaming industry is rapidly expanding medium that only the future can tell where it is going to go. It is a very exciting time to be part of the gaming industry and I can’t wait to see what the future has instore for us. I’m sure that mobile game, digital downloads and virtual reality is going to shape the industry in the near future.
virtual reality (VR) | computer science | Britannica.com. 2016. virtual reality (VR) | computer science | Britannica.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
Samsung Gear VR Review – YouTube. 2016. Samsung Gear VR Review – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVX7iruysrM. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
Walking New York (VR Video) – YouTube. 2016. Walking New York (VR Video) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0-89v4Fk-M. [Accessed 16 January 2016].
Pixels and Polygons: An Indie Game Developer Story – YouTube. 2016. Pixels and Polygons: An Indie Game Developer Story – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFELtcCnD94. [Accessed 15 January 2016].
Independent: An Indie Movie About An Indie Game – YouTube. 2016. Independent: An Indie Movie About An Indie Game – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0wQ675iKLE. [Accessed 15 January 2016].