The video game industry has come a long way since their early development in the 1950s. As a teenager, I played the all-time favorites such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and The Legend of Zelda. As, as an adult, I have continued playing the Zelda series among other adventure and puzzle games. Regardless of console, video games offer much entertainment to both children and adults. The popularity of video games increased greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic. USA Today reports that the amount of players increased to 227 million U.S. Americans whom played to escape from their reality and to reduce their stress levels. Video games have become more than just a leisure activity because they are interwoven into our culture and our daily lives. The gaming industry is having great influence in business and society at large.
The Value of the Video Game Industry
Globally speaking, in 2021, Wijman reported that mobile games that included tablet games had a revenue of $11.7 billion and smartphone games reached $81.5 billion. PC games had a $36.7 billion revenue. And, video games from consoles reached $50.4 billion.
In particular, game sales increased among consoles such as Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X, cloud gaming, and mobile gaming, with an estimate of $179.6 million from monthly gamers. Additionally, major corporations such as Apple, META (formerly Facebook), and Google forecasted wanting to invest in the video game industry. It is predicted that by 2025, the industry will have an increased revenue of $260 billion. Fascinatingly, Marketwatch stated that the video game industry is larger than sports and movies combined.
Part of this video game boom is explained by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdowns, individuals were isolated, and video games were used to reduce boredom and isolation. Video games allowed individuals to connect with others by making new friends and reconnecting with former friends. According to Dr. Griffiths, gamers developed new friendships and created their own social communities to overcome the isolation experience from physical distancing efforts. Gamers communicated with each other using video game avatars through chat, microphone, and/or webcam. Gamers also developed and participated in video game communities through Facebook groups and Twitch. In these communities, gamers discussed strategies and experiences of playing similar video games.
Innovations of the Video Game Industry
The gaming industry has evolved throughout the decades since classical games like Pong and Tetris with 2D graphics. The evolution includes enhanced graphics, the incorporation of playing live with other users, and various technological platforms. According to Engineers Garage and De Vivo, these are some of the latest innovations that have kept this industry alive.
1. Online Multiplayer Gaming
Online multiplayer gaming enables users to play with each other simultaneously in open worlds. A person could be playing a game live with someone from another part of the world. Video games with this capacity include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Super Smash Bros, and Fortnite. These video games allow for competition and collaboration through the development of groups to fight opponents.
2. Downloadable Content (DLC)
Video games whether free or paid are also earning revenue through downloadable content. DLC enhances the overall gamer’s experience with the virtual purchase of better weapons, clothing, food, pets, houses, among other items. Users with Internet access can also download additional stories and levels through the digital store of their console such as the Playstation Store with games such as Fallout 3, The Witcher, and Mortal Kombat.
3. Wearable Clothing
Nowadays, one can play using wearable gadgets such as smart watches. The Google Glass and Apple Smartwatch allow individuals to play video games using a digital watch. These games can be played with a finger’s touch. Popular wearable games include Bubble Shooter, Wear Maze, Tic Tac Toe Play, Roll the Dice, PetQuet Virtual Pet, Tilt, and Wear Droid.
4. Mobile Gaming
Mobile devices such as smartphone provide a variety of videogame apps. Players use these apps to play any game, whether puzzle, adventure, word, or card-based with their phone. Some mobile games include Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Monument Valley, and Jetpack Joyride.
5. Cloud-based Gaming
Cloud-based gaming offers video games using remote servers and streams to a device such as Google Stadia, NVIDIA, PlayStation Now, Project xCloud, and Amazon Luna. These “clouds” allow multiple users to access a network of data centers, similar to Netflix, which streamlines videos from a cloud. These games can be played using a web application using a PC or a Mac computer. Games that can be streamed from a cloud include Darkest Dungeon, Halo Infinte, Hades, and Minecraft Dungeons.
6. Augmented Reality Gaming
Augmented reality is a hybrid of the physical environment and virtual environment. Players can incorporate game characters and items into the real world. A popular game includes Pokémon Go, which enabled users to catch Pokémon in real geographical locations. Another game, Zombie, Run! allows everyday joggers to spice up their routine by becoming part of a zombie world where one needs to run and find things that will help players survive zombie attacks.
7. Virtual Reality (VR) Gaming
Virtual reality (VR) gaming allows any person to enter a realistic 3D environment. Users interact with an environment using a headset and a hand console. Individuals feel as if they are in the video game. They can perform physical movements and interact with others. In Fruit Ninja VR, players get to slice and stab all kinds of fruits for points. Cloudlands VR Minigolf allows players to feel as if they are playing golf in real life using various courses.
With these innovations, the gaming industry will continue to be part of our lives.
Careers in the Video Game Industry
An exciting, emerging career continues to be being part of the gaming industry. Young gamers dream of getting paid to play or create new video games, as their life career. The gaming industry offers several career opportunities for those who are passionate about video games. Below are descriptions of trending careers in the gaming industry.
- Animator: Animators develop new graphics and images that help to visualize video games.
- Videogame Tester: Testers test video games to catch bugs and flaws. They also provide their insights to help the development team improve a gamer’s overall experience.
- Marketing Manager: Marketing managers can market to increase the video game’s annual revenue. Managers focus on developing a brand, campaign, and advertising materials.
- Market Research Analyst: Market research analysts develop surveys to enhance the sales of video games and to determine their worth.
- Social Media Influencer: Social media influencers create their own YouTube channel with millions of subscribers.
- Developer: A good option for those into coding and programming is developing video games. Developers are in charge of creating the visual content and codes of video games.
- Designer: Those with the creativity juices may benefit from designing video games. This entails coming up with the storyboards with a team. Designing movie characters and concepts help transport players into new realities and possibilities.
Overall, video games will continue to be big in the business world for years to come. With innovations in their platforms and consoles, gamers will continue to play video games worldwide. And, many will consider a career in the video game industry and take coding, programing, marketing, and game development courses.