For over three decades, the gaming industry had operated on a different level. People used to rent offices, set up studios, employ staff for in-house work, gathered funds and found publishers to distribute the games.
Indie developers worked outside this set up and operated as a separate entity. And the gaming industry worked in a cycle span of seven years, corresponding to the lifespan of gaming consoles. For a time there the industry seemed to dip down but not for long.
Now internet has changed the way the industry works. Instead of boxed copies, games are distributed digitally. This has reduced making and distribution costs. There are plenty more innovations and reasons that have ensured the survival of gaming industry. Let us look into them in detail here.
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Smartphone remains a significant reason for the surge in popularity of gaming industry. The introduction of game development apps like Twine, GameMaker and Unity made it easier for game development. Steam created a big impact on the PC games sector.
And console manufacturing had undergone vast changes. Instead of retaining the same architecture, Microsoft and Sony announced upgrades for their machines in the mid-lifecycle stage.
The PS4 Pro from Sony and Microsoft’s Xbox One S support 4K gaming and powerful VR performance, while newer versions are being developed with 8K capability and more advanced features.
In short, the consoles, contrary to the earlier models, will have regular updates in tandem with the technological advances. This ensures that the earlier versions are not rendered obsolete.
The easy and multiple upgrades have minimized the life cycle to two years, instead of the seven year cycle thus keeping their audience intact.
The game structure has seen a big overhaul in recent years. The increase in downloadable content, micro transactions occurring in-game and other such changes help to extend the life of new releases.
For instance, when you buy a game such as Call of Duty, you can also buy the season pass, which will get you subsequent content additions, map packs and other features that will keep you interested in the game.
However the initial amount for buying the original copy was still a drawback. This was countered by release of limited game version at cheaper cost with players having the choice to use the additional features by paying extra.
Game makers have started focusing on building direct gamer relationships to reduce development risk. Gamers are given a combination of free to play games, DLC and micro transactions ensuring the gamers are engaged and continue to spend money on the games.
And ads have become integral to gaming with players being given the option of watching advertisements to access new game content. Ads are now seen as way for players to access the game rewards, instead of a barrier. This format has improved revenues and also increased playtime duration by 250%.
Gone are the days when staff were crammed into office space and employed on two year projects. Instead virtual studios are the trend now with small teams working from their home and supported by contract staff working part time during key phases of the game development.
Every team member works remotely and communicates via Skype or Slack and meet occasionally. This reduces overheads, time needed for office management and burn rate among the team members.
Of course internet and cloud storage play a key role in keeping the communication strong. This also allows people with diverse expertise to work on the game development and hence product top notch work quickly and effectively. This has paved the way for a more resilient industry with flexible work hours, accessibility to work spaces, fund and talent.
Gaming industry is changing rapidly and adaptability is the significant factor that ensures its survival. The concept of shared work spaces and remote working has introduced better quality output. The demographic constitution of the game industry is much more diversified than what it was earlier. A hub for working allows better flexibility and allows easier adaptation to work changes and striking a balance between life and work. Governments too have begun to recognize the impact of games. The industry infrastructure has changed, allowing you to garner support, get rants, and work on new game ideas.