Life is a game, they say. And it’s hard to argue with that: we learn, we play, we lose, and we win. That’s it. And being good in this game is more than important to every human, because our nature is all about being first, sometimes even for the largest price. Nothing can compare with this game, and sure thing this game defines every entity in it, including the way we compete and the way we entertain ourselves. Competing and entertaining are really close to each other, though you may never thought about this idea this way. The most entertaining thing is to prove to everyone that you’re the best in some areas. Whether it’s business, or sports, or even arts. So there’s that: we can already answer to the “Will Games Ever Rule the World?” question. However, the question itself is not correct, because it implies that games are not ruling the world, which is blatantly not true. Human life is a game of sorts, and it contains different types of smaller games in it. After all, Ilon Musk once suggested that we’re leaving in the virtual reality. This statement may seem a bit out of this world (pun intended), but only time will tell how wrong or right Tesla inventor was.
But philosophy aside, we can ask more direct question: will video games will ever rule the world? Now that’s the question! It requires analysis of the game history, along with the present situation in the gaming industry, which will help us to define the answer. So if we’re talking about the past, video games have some serious history of development and conquering the world.
Back in a day, kids were playing Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunting on the NES. And that was as amazing as it could get: the gaming community at that time had the best audience of 8 to 15 year old kids, and they were going crazy over pixel games. Now, we can consider that the game industry is one of the biggest forms of entertainment to date. If not the biggest one. Actually, according to a recent study made by Reuters, gaming is bigger than anything in the entertainment world.
Just think about it: in 2018, the approximate revenue of the gaming industry was $116 billion. This number beats literally every other entertainment medium, including but not limited to TV and streamings. TV and TV streaming made it to $105 billion, which is dramatically less than gaming revenue. You said movies? Well, here’s an interesting thing: the movie industry only made $41 billion while music only made $17 billion. Moreover, the industry of gaming is still growing, seeing up to 11% growth over 2018, while TV, streaming and movie services revenue decreased by eight percent.
There were various factors of growth, and Reuters study mentioned all of them. One of the main factors was Chinese market opening. Chinese gaming market assures moderate and stable growth of sales. Moreover, the last year delivered the premieres of blockbuster games, such as Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto V. These are real standouts, and if we think for a second how much money was spent on the infamous microtransactions in Fortnite… Wow. These numbers are really huge. And don’t forget about astonishing sales numbers of already mentioned Grand Theft Auto V. Wonder what numbers are? Well, to date Grand Theft Auto V sold way more than 90 millions units, which lead to the gross revenue of 6 billion dollars. This record seems unbreakable for all the competitors, because for now it’s safe to say that GTA V is the most profitable game ever made. Overall, it is the most profitable entertainment service release in any entertainment industry domain.
And since we are on entertainment industry mediums, let’s check what is happening in movie and TV domains. Back in a day, the default scenario was “successful entertainment product leads to rights selling for game studios to make the successful game based on a movie, or a book, or a TV show”. Now it’s the other way around. Successful games made by game studios are sold for movie or TV show makers, or media giants in general to help them make commercially successful products. Just check a profitability level of a few recent examples: the Assassin’s Creed movie, the Castlevania Netflix series, or the Five Nights at Freddy’s novel series. One of the most interesting things in that phenomenon is that game-based movies can be successful even if the game is not super popular at a time. Wonder what examples are presented? Well, the perfect examples would be Angry Birds movie, which is trying to benefit on nostalgic love to that casual game. If that is not enough, there is Rampage movie. Both of these movies were made when the spotlight left the games themselves. That means such approach can be make a life of a game a bit longer. Or maybe it’s even more: a movie based on a game can assure the brand new stream of players and thus a profit increase for game studios. And these studios are already making money with game intellectual rights provision to media corporations, who will basically make everything possible to make a good blockbuster which will be the best promotion ever possible for any game.
What else? What indicators of the fact that the games are slowly dominating the world can we check? Well, one of the biggest game changers were community growth and community improvement and – what’s the most important – a community diversification. Now, games are not made to satisfy high school kids or “weird” technology geeks. Games now are literally made for everyone, because there are oh so games with different genres, and oh so many technology mediums available. There are tons of ways to play a video game now. From gaming on a personal computer to gaming with a brand new console version. Due to streaming services and streaming bloggers e-sports became even more successful than they were before. It’s like a constantly growing wave of getting into game play streams of gaming competition or just progression through a game mission. The whole agenda of e-sports has integrated gaming into various lifestyles, where people from colleges and kids high schools forming e-sports teams.
Games are everywhere. Due to the never-ending technological progress people got used to portability of every gadget, including TV players and media library of thousands and thousands of digital books. And when it comes to gaming, sure thing there were many competitors, like portable Playstation product PSP or its cheap Chinese copies Sovereign. Now we have a big player of portable gaming and it’s called The Switch. The Switch proposes a whole new lifestyle to a gamer. It is tied to proposing various portable gaming options to people who may not be in the market for powerful gaming devices. It is for people who are playing occasionally. This target group is called “casual players”, and they may be more than satisfied with The Switch unique selling points. Just so you know, there are many Switch exclusive games designed with portability in mind to allow players take their gaming experience with them.
In other words, such products allow users to manage their gaming schedule to fit their free time spots. The Reuters study mentions that this has brought about a huge and big change on the mass market of game development. There are a whole lot of new diverse models to appear on top of existing gaming experience provision models. Console sales had dramatically increased when the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X were released. The situation is a bit different in the world of PC games. The sales numbers were way lower due to graphics card shortages. But something must change, and something changed. The release of a new graphics card models changed the market climate and increased prices. This whole thing brought attention back to PC gaming. Moreover, PC are still great for general shooters and first person shooter games. You can check the Counter Strike (also known as CS) game history: it was a massive and huge hit in the 2000s, and a few years ago it got back to the top with Global Offensive edition. Players of CS:GO can easily make a living from participation in the esport competitions, and the budgets are way out of this world! So if you have a free time, check how to play this wonderful blockbuster.
And of course we should keep in mind the volume sales of mobile gamers. Available both for Android and iOS, mobile games can be clones of “big” and “real” console or PC games, especially racing games, RPG games and shooter games. There is a brand new wave of “weird casual games”: the mechanics of such games can be delivered in a very strange way, and such delivery makes the game play viral or at least popular among casual players. And if we check the situation with tablet games, there would be interesting cases as well. Many small and indie game development studios became famous and successful due to the special types of games they released. Such games are made around a cool and a hip idea, while also being totally focused on a delivery to low specification hardware, for example extra small notebooks or previously mentioned tablets. And since we’ve been analysing low-end indie games, let’s not forget about retro love wave. There is something that will never go away, and sure thing it is the SuperMario Bros. game or even simple Tetris game. Many of these retro games are purchased on digital platforms. And they are delivered through “classic” consoles, but even those who don’t have console can enjoy playing favourite childhood games via emulators on similarly low-end devices and gadgets.
We can totally assume that gamification term is more and more applicable for every day life of us. Starting with mobile games and further with playing on console, we spend more and more time playing video games. There are games that are really addictive. For example, you can spend almost all your free time on playing some cool RPG game, focusing on a daily progress for your virtual hero. And here comes another profitability channel: in-game transactions or in-game microtransactions. What are these? Well, in some cases you can’t win a round or make serious progress on some level without purchasing some in-game inventory stuff. It can be a brand new gone or more fast and awesome racing care. The thing is that merch becomes digital, just like everything. Of course there is an “offline” merch available, and it sells pretty well. But for the first time in human history we can trade things that are completely belongs to the virtual world. This action is making an equality between so-called “real” world and the world of gaming. We spend time, we spend money, we spend effort. And of course we want to achieve something more than just a game progress unlock. And that’s why we can totally state that games not only will, they are already ruling the world. For now, you either occasionally playing a mobile game, or making a few bucks from game play streaming, or maybe even making tons of money in the professional esports team.
And let’s not forget about fast growth of virtual reality games and applications and augmented reality games and applications. For the past five years, both virtual reality devices and augmented reality devices became really common for the mass market and regular consumers. This is the future of games and gaming after all — being all “in” the process by all means is really cool and addictive. Therefore, there is no way that virtual and augmented reality games will be out of trend. There are many things that already indicate the potential growth and improvement of VR and AR entertainment mediums.
Even regular TV industry is already trying to change. It comes as no surprise that smart TVs are now being delivered along with built-in games. Such games can be played without a console, so there’s that. You don’t even need to buy a fancy console to start playing games! Because if you don’t have money for exclusive and premium console games, then you can totally give a shot to game streaming services! These services will introduce gaming to consumers who cannot afford high-end gaming equipment. That’s the reason why Google is now trying to get into the gaming industry. Games will rule the world!
So if you look closely to what is happening in the modern world, you’ll see constantly and dynamically growing domination of games. It takes over the culture and it dominates in the business. And moreover, it’s not even that spotlight for the gaming industry. It would be safe to say that the games are only starting to reach the top of everything. That’s why we can reflect undercover gamification of everything, from “serious” business industry software and to education in the avant-garde schools and colleges. Gamification of life has become irresistible, because there are so many things in our daily lives, and we are just tired and want to have some fun. However, when the climate dramatically changes, the information mediums such as academic newspapers or just well-respected press in general won’t react as fast as possible. That’s why games and gamers and the gaming industry as a whole is rarely mentioned in today’s news. But it’s an issue related to a reaction time. Believe it or not, quite soon games and the whole industry will become a serious discussion topic among businessmen, scientists and cultorologists. For now we still have the portrait of a lonely strange guy who’s playing CS:GO or Dota 2 with his virtual friends. And this is not actually true. The time has changed, and they changed forever.
Games are ruling the world. And the future is totally belongs to the game industry.