Where is the gaming industry going?

This is the burning question on everyone’s mind, it is no surprise considering the gaming industry in the UK alone reached a height of £4.33 billion in 2016.

So what do I think? The only way is up. It seems almost everything these days is engineered for gamers; gaming components, peripherals, chairs, computers, drinks etc. However the discerning amongst us gamers can easily fish out the real gaming products VS the “me too” products.

But what does this mean in reality? Obviously the more and more products which bear the gaming tag, can only be a good thing for us gamers. Gaming is becoming more mainstream and integrated into our culture, and more importantly, more accessible to the masses.

Over the last quarter gaming has successfully negotiated rocky territory, as the bubble around loot boxes came to a head with major developers such as EA backing down after a community backlash. People decided enough was enough, and they were sick of the milking of their favourite franchises for aesthetic content.

Events like this may seem like a one off but I feel it shows the true power of the global gaming community and how even big cheese developers can buckle under the weight of a united front.

Compare this to the absolute machine of a game; PlayerUnknown: Battlegrounds (PUBG) which has re-defined the battle royale genre and single handily smashed nearly every gaming title record to date. This shows the true dynamic nature of the gaming industry with new game developers rising up from just a single early access title.

This shows that the content is forever improving with time and developers are proving to the community, that they will continue to help cultivate a growing industry.

Looking at the hardware side of the coin, we have seen waves made by AMD during 2017 with the infamous Ryzen CPUs, bringing solid gaming performance at a very reasonable price. The side effect has shoved Intel out of their usual development path to bring us 8th Gen “Coffee Lake” earlier than planned. All of this feeds into the gamers and developers, we get our hands on the tech earlier which means we can continue to enjoy and improve the content we are consuming.

It’s hard to talk about hardware and to ignore the VGA crisis that is upon us, block chain mining has reached epidemic level with the demand on high end VGA cards reaching stratospheric levels. The price is getting higher and higher, whilst BTC mining in particular is the poster child of the news, miners are fighting over each and every available card with retailers cranking up the pricing left, right & centre.

Gamers however, are less concerned as most already have their card of choice or are waiting until fresh releases, such as the rumoured GTX 2080. Gaming is everywhere and not just limited to PC gaming, so it is very easy for a PC gamer to transition over to console or even mobile while the market is against them on price, in their search for the perfect rig.

Increasing graphics tech has now seen PC marketing as “console class” (due to the release of AMD Ryzen with VEGA), and consoles marketing as “60FPS ready” are no doubt blurring the lines between the mainstream PC & console gamer. Releases such as PUBG to Xbox One was an extremely fast one, piggy backing off the PC just in time for Christmas. So the natural transition between platforms is more fluid than ever.

 I can foresee more multi-platform titles rising up, such as we have seen with Fortnite & PUBG which bring in droves of new gamers. Not only that but having AMD & Intel in close competition once again will add gas to the hardware fire, cheaper hardware will only tempt more new gamers to the cause.

Growing levels of community engagement will see gamer’s actively decide the future & fate of the content and hardware they so consume, which can only lead to more successful content and ultimately drives a higher retention rate.

This brings me back to my first point, most companies, which ever space they sit in, are aware of this growing gaming leviathan and they all want a piece. The truth is that gaming is going to be in your face for a long, long time, the good news is that you get to decide which part of it you want to keep around.

 Nathan Proudfoot – Business Manager at Zoostorm & Stormforce