CONSOLES WILL TAKE OVER
As traditional segments are losing more and more ground, home consoles are triumphing their way right into living rooms across the world. According to a recent study by IDATE, consoles will represent almost half of the total market in less than 5 years from now. That’s some impressive growth, given the 31% market share in 2013.
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The console ‘boom’ will be mostly driven by new consoles (like the upcoming Steam Machines) hitting the shelves as well as the next-gens by Sony and Microsoft. Handheld consoles will see strong competition from mobile terminals, resulting in a downfall of market share – to 13% in 2017 from 22% in 2013. Offline gaming on personal computers, meanwhile, will see an irreversible decline.
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SOME GAMES WILL REMAIN UNFINISHED FOREVER
While some game developers have a downright deadline in mind for their product, many others get their sense of completeness in the process. Steam’s Early Access is a great example of how the gaming industry develops business-model-wise. The disclaimer now says: "You should be aware that some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state."
Some people fairly claim that’s what the Early Access concept is all about – being allowed to the game you desperately want to play; even so, many consumers without clear knowledge of industry ways are buying Early Access with the idea that their game will eventually be fully released. Frankly, some games don’t even have to be finished to become successful – take Bohemia Interactive’s “DayZ Standalone” (2 million copies sold in early Alpha) or Valve’s “Dota2”, which spent most of its existence in Beta stage.
HARDWARE WILL BE IN THE MIDDLE
By ‘hardware’ we mean a complex of devices from second screens, be it a mobile device or geeky game-specific gadget, to virtual reality goggles and whatnot. To a certain point, this trend is determined by major industry players such as console-making companies (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) and technology companies like Oculus VR.
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There is a rush in inventing secondary gaming devices for gamers – that’s a huge market to be tapped into. Hardware always mattered when it comes to games. Now, as a single console upgrade is worth light-years of hardware evolution, it does even more than ever.
INDIES WILL BLOSSOM
Indie games are so successful now that they can hardly be called ‘hip’ anymore. Once a defiance of the mainstream machine, they are now flirting with console makers and major game publishers. But that’s just one side of the coin. No matter how big and lucrative the AAA-world grows, the indie side of gaming industry will always have its devoted fans. There is no better place for great new out-of-the-box ideas than the indie domain.
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Even industry powerhouses are trying to “harness the power of indie” by publishing indie games (Resogun – Sony) and announcing support programs for smaller developers (Microsoft). Seeing a number of indie hits enjoying such support from big-name companies is great, not to mention even more gems coming up on mobile, PC and Steam.
GAMING MARKET WILL GROW
According to IDATE World Video Game Market Report, the gaming market will see an average annual growth of 11% over the next four years, driving the global gaming market from €54 billion in 2013 to €82 billion in 2017. The two principal reasons behind the steady growth are: the launch of the next-gen handheld and home consoles, and the booming of mobile and online games, along with cloud gaming.
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P.S. Do you plan to attend iGaming Super Show in Amsterdam on 24-27 June? Feel free to visit SoftTechnics and Intersog at stand A9 to explore more thought-provoking gaming trends of 2014.