2006 was a pretty big year for video games - it was that year where we had the launch of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and brought gaming to the general masses with the Nintendo Wii. A few years later, the iPhone enabled even the most casual consumer to jump in and experience the craze. While I was always a gamer, it was during that period where my passion for the industry really kicked off, and it’s no surprise that it continued to grow from there. That year alone, video games sales reached 7.3 billion. Guess what we saw in 2017? A whopping 36 billion in video game revenue! I think it’s only going to get even bigger from there.
There are so many reasons as to why we continue to see the industry grow. For one, the video game industry is a new medium that is starting to mature, with AAA titles rivaling budgets to blockbuster cinemas. These large budgets have allowed publishers and developers to truly make immersive storytelling experiences and conceive multiplayer titles that were previously unimaginable.
Furthermore, the introduction of downloadable content, season passes, and microtransactions allow a game to generate additional revenue after the initial sale...but I think the industry really needs to be responsible on how to implement these into titles. Right now, there’s isn’t proper regulation; not everyone, including myself, seems to be happy with how some of the microtransactions have been handled last year.
But I digress. We’re seeing some major growth in the industry and new players every year - and that’s a good thing. The entry barrier for casual consumers to play video games has gotten easier. Nintendo and mobile publishers have taken notice, many of them building their platforms/titles to accommodate that group. Developer entry barrier is low too - we’re now seeing more and more low-budget indie titles that skyrocket up to major blockbusters - who would’ve thought Minecraft would become such a global phenomenon?
But that’s just really the tip of the iceberg. 2017 was a major milestone for the industry, but don’t start counting your pennies yet. It’s only going to get bigger - virtual reality and augmented reality have had a slow start, but we’ve seen a lot of developers starting to embrace the technology. Developers also continue to have access to new technology, such as Improbable’s Spatial OS, which aim to let them create bigger and more complex games. Add to the fact that we’re now seeing esports events being broadcasted on national sports channels... I think it’s a tell tale sign the industry is going to become even more mainstream within the next few years.
“2017 was a special year for the industry and for everyone who loves games,” said Mat Piscatella, The NPD Group’s video game industry analyst, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Developers created content that delighted gamers across all gaming platforms. From mobile to PC, and from console to virtual reality, growth was achieved because the passion of gamers was matched only by the talent of game makers.”