Video games have become an integral part of our culture, and the video game industry now represents more turnover than the music and movie industries combined, according to a study published in April 2021.
Player experience: a key concern
The emergence of new gaming platforms, changing demographics, and gaming habits mean that game companies are becoming less product-focused and more experience-focused. It is often the search for sensations that pushes the player towards this or that game, for example, online casino players, such as videoslots for example, are attracted by the immersive world that is offered to them and that provides sensations that are very close to reality. VR headsets, increasingly powerful smartphones, powerful and versatile consoles, and computers are as many media as they are possible experiences for the player. The video game industry must balance the needs of its new followers, who care deeply about their online interactions, with the expectations of its most loyal players, who remain the most lucrative customers.
The video game market is worth more than $300 billion in revenue worldwide and its growth has been boosted by the impact of the pandemic and the rise of mobile games. The four largest markets worldwide are China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The video game market has 2.7 billion players worldwide and has grown by 500 million users in the last three years. It is expected to continue to grow, gaining 400 million players by the end of 2023. To better understand where this $300 billion comes from, it must be divided into two distinct parts. On one side, $200 billion comes from direct sales of consoles, video games, and subscriptions, but also from in-game purchases and mobile advertising revenues. On the other hand, $100 billion comes from adjacent industries, such as mobile devices, PC gaming, as well as peripheral sales related to video games or revenues from eSports. Ironically, the business model that brought in the most money in 2020 was… free games. This business model accounted for 78% of the market’s revenue, 59% of which was generated in the Asian market. The mobile sector has grown by 10% and represents 58% of the market, more than consoles and PCs.
Not just entertainment
Among the new gamers, 60% are women and 30% are under 25 years old. These gamers particularly appreciate the opportunities offered by mobile games. Long-time gamers, on the other hand, are predominantly white men over 25. Many survey participants noted that video games help them meet people with similar interests, a trend that has increased with the pandemic. A majority of those surveyed also indicated that they play to stay in touch with friends, make new ones, or find a community that matches them. This means that video games are no longer seen as just entertainment, but also as a social medium: one-third of players surveyed play more than they did before lockdown periods and 52% of gamblers believe that their game allows them to “create social links”, and one in three declares that it has allowed them to “keep in touch” with their loved ones.