How Has the Game Industry Changed?

The history of video game industry has been almost 50 years. It is not very long comparing to other entertainment industry, such as TV, film and music. However, there are billions of people who play games every day and purchase games regularly. The consumer base of gaming industry should not be underestimated. Based on a research about the computer and video game industry in 2016, 63% of U.S. households have at least one person who plays video games 3 hours or more per week. 52% of the gamers choose to purchase video games over DVDs, music and movie theatres because they believe video games are more worthwhile. [1]

Within these 50 years, there has been a lot of changes within the industry and game features are updated incredibly fast.

Firstly, with the development of technology, game devices have been changed a lot. From arcade game machines, then personal computers, then consoles, to mobiles today, the popular game devices are becoming smaller and more portable.  Moreover, many game studios are developing AR and VR technology to combine elements of reality and virtual games. The dramatic popularity of Pokemon Go is one of the examples. Osmo Monster, a product that provides “mixed reality” experience for children to interact with a monster character, is another example.[2] Secondly, games are becoming more and more human-human interactive instead of human-computer interactive. The player mode has also changed from single-player mode to multiplayer mode. 40% of the gamers play with friends and 21% of them play with their family members. Also, 51% of the gamers enjoy a multiplayer mode weekly. Many players are also into virtual world game, such as shooter games, fighting games, and even dating games. Thirdly, game production and development are becoming more global-oriented nowadays. Many game development studios are targeting not only the domestic market but also the international market, especially China, US and Japan. Here is a list of top 13 countries by game revenues in June 2016[3]:

Top Countries by Game Revenue Figure 1

Here are more insights of video game industry in US which shows the profitability of game industry[4]:

Revenue Insights.png Figure 2

According to this chart, it is estimated that revenue of online games will be increasing while that of download games and mobile games remain constant. In fact, “online games” is the largest segment in the game market with a market volume of USD 3,961.1 million in 2016.

User Insights.pngFigure 3

This chart shows that the number of mobile game users will exceed that of download games and eventually be the largest in 2020. “Mobile is the future”, Google also emphasized the increasing popularity of mobile usage in people’s life and the importance of being aware and catching up with this trend for companies.

ARPU InsightsFigure 4

Average revenue per user is also an important metric in game industry. ARPU of online games is always larger than that of download games and mobile games.

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[1] “2016 Sales, Demographic and usage data essential facts about the computer and video game industry”, Entertainment Software Association. Accessed on June 27, 2016.

[2] “Osmo Monster Lets Kids Interact with Cartoon Characters On iPad.” VentureBeat. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2016.

[3] Figure 1: Chikhani, Riad. “The History Of Gaming: An Evolving Community.” TechCrunch. N.p., 2015. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.

[4] Figure 2,3,4: “Video Games – United States | Statista Market Forecast.” Statista. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.


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