Historically seen as a niche market aimed, primarily, at children, video games are now big business.
So much so that the 2012 launch of the 18-rated Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 stands as the biggest entertainment launch of all time, grossing $500million in the 24 hours of its release.
This was shortly followed by an announcement from Activision, publisher of the Call of Duty games, that total sales for the franchise have now surpassed both the Star Wars and Harry Potter movie series, the top-grossing film franchises in history. In fact, a recent survey by digital media research company, Wiggin, showed that more people play online video games than regularly visit the cinema.
One in three people describe themselves as gamers. Statistics from OFCOM suggest that half of UK households contain at least one video game console; in 2010, a total of 63 million console and pc games were purchased, working out as more than one per person in the UK.
The hardcore gaming community is passionate, loyal and vocal, possessing an ability to shape the future of the industry unlike most consumer groups.
The hardcore gaming community is passionate, loyal and vocal, possessing an ability to shape the future of the industry unlike most consumer groups
The recent furore surrounding the launch of Microsoft’s newest games console, the Xbox One, is a perfect example of this phenomenon in practise. After months of anticipation, Microsoft’s hardware launched boasting a new cloud-based operating architecture, a move that, essentially, rendered traditional physical media (game disks) obsolete.
Not only would this have made it impossible for gamers to share game disks with friends, the move would have all but destroyed the second hand games retail market. Microsoft viewed this as a bold step forward in home media consumption. The gaming community disagreed.
After weeks of campaigning, complaining and assertions from thousands of loyal Microsoft customers to buy a rival console (Sony’s Playstation 4) in protest, Microsoft relented and remodelled the entire core architecture of the console (in essence, completely changing the business model) to meet customer demands.
But the stability and growth of the industry does not rest on these hardcore gamers. The last decade has seen an extraordinary rise in the number of casual gamers playing on social networks, smartphones and tablets.
Worldwide social gaming revenue more than doubled between 2010 and 2011 and reached over $6.2bn in 2012 . Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, confirmed that 50% of Facebook visits are to play games.
The video game industry is in a state of flux, with new opportunities presenting themselves alongside new technologies. This, coupled with the creativity and salesmanship that define the industry make it an exciting, fresh and franchise sector for an aspiring entrepreneur looking for a unique and innovative opportunity.