As humans, we are constantly expanding our opportunities and platforms for social interaction and connection. For decades, we have seen technology shrink the world and open us up to new people, movies, music, cultures and experiences – and translated real life and fictional scenarios onto screens. Technology has also made it easy to have experiences that would have been otherwise out of reach to our very homes!
One industry that has advanced significantly as a result is the online gaming industry, with WWE 2K Battlegrounds making you feel like a wrestler in a ring and online roulette taking you to casinos in Vegas. The online gaming industry has indeed come a long way from Islands of Kesmai and SGI Dogfight.
Accenture has estimated that the full value of the gaming industry exceeds $300 billion, with $200 billion being attributed to direct spending on software, consoles, subscriptions, ad revenues and in-game purchases, and $100 billion to relating industries such as mobile devices, peripherals, gaming PCs and gaming-related communities. The gaming industry has also attracted 2.7 billion players from across the world. People can engage in friendly competition with friends and strangers and unlock new levels and virtual worlds together.
Why is Online Gaming so Successful?
There are a number of factors responsible for the success of online gaming and its increasing popularity in recent years. First is the pandemic.
While the pandemic was a nightmare to the world and several industries, it contributed to the success of others – especially those that exist wholly or partly in the virtual world. With billions of people confined to their homes without an end to the lockdown in sight, many turned to online gaming to occupy and entertain themselves. There was a 12 percent increase in in-game downloads and 21 percent increase in paid downloads worldwide. 2020 also saw an explosion of gaming content streaming with Twitch audiences watching over 1 trillion minutes of gaming video content, which is almost double the amount of time spent in 2019.
Second, people are beginning to recognize the various opportunities available in online gaming from the obvious ones like game design, programming and sales to playing in single games or tournaments, organizing live streams for games and doing YouTube reviews. Seeing gaming as a viable career path has made it more acceptable to people who had held the opinion that it was a waste of time.
Thirdly, new mobile technology. With new technology offering immediate and on-the-go access to online games, more people are able to participate in and enjoy the games than ever before. There is also an improvement in the quality of games available for people to play, making it attractive for casual gamers to participate for the fun of it.
Finally, the shift of the emphasis to gaming’s social dimension has led to new levels of engagement and competition. Social interaction is a human need. Being able to serve this need while providing people with the entertainment of playing or streaming video games makes it a great deal for people.
Other Industries and Online Gaming
Industries do not exist in isolation and the online gaming industry is not an exception. They provide support for and receive support from other industries, especially those in entertainment and marketing, including movie, wrestling and dance.
Other industries have been leveraging online gaming in three major ways:
- Gamification of audience education and engagement
- Basing them on successful movies or creating stories around successful games
- Advertising on online platforms
Gamification of Audience Education and Engagement: There is no limit to who can employ gamification for the purpose of promoting audience education and engagement. What this requires is simply weaving often simple games into your website, social media or online community or application, to encourage your audience to participate, as a way of promoting engagement or education. Gamification is also an effective tool in building brand love and advertising products. It is not limited to specific industries.
Pulling off successful games usually require incentives that people are sufficiently interested in, a simple or medium difficulty challenge and involvement of friends. These three things are likely to increase the audience's interest in games and encourage participation.
Basing Games on Successful Movies or Creating Stories Around Successful Games: The movie industry often intersects with the movie industry – with both being strong influences on each other.
A common practice that has been around for years is creating games from the stories in commercially successful movies, especially when they are action themed. This happened with Marvel's Avengers, Jurassic World Evolution, Star Wars: Night of the Old Republic, among several others.
On the other hand, movies have also been inspired by successful games, such as Tomb Raider, Super Mario and Resident Evil.
Advertising on Online Platform: Online advertising on game sites and applications are very common and are an effective way to expose products and services to a diverse audience. This helps advance entire industries and makes advertising more effective.
The key thing to note here is that intrusive marketing must be avoided to ensure that gamers do not become irritated. This is both for the benefit of the site or app and the product being advertised.