4 Important Gaming Industry Trends to Follow
Filed under: Gaming & Technology
June 19, 2017
The popularity of gaming shows no signs of fading—if anything, gaming is becoming a growing part of the lives of people of all ages, with 65% of US households having at least one person who spends three or more hours per week gaming. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), in 2016, US consumers spent $30.4 billion on the video game industry, up nearly $7 billion from 2015. As the industry continues to evolve, so do gaming trends, and below are some of the most important current gaming trends and news to know.
1. Quality of graphics ranks #1 with consumers
ESA’s 2017 Essential Facts gaming trends report found that when deciding which video game to purchase, quality of graphics was the one influential factor, above price, story, online gameplay options, game series, and game familiarity. Just two years ago, graphics ranked sixth, but they have now done an about-face to take the lead. This prioritization of graphics fidelity and quality perhaps partially results from the media’s frequent discussions and comparison of graphics quality across platforms.
2. Physical sales are dwindling
While digital sales have outweighed physical sales in the gaming industry since 2013, their market share keeps climbing. Gaming trends uncovered by market research group NPD reveal that nearly 75% of game sales in 2016 were digital. However, digital sales encompass more than just software download sales. In addition, video game publishers generate significant revenue through consumers purchasing subscriptions, expansion packs, and digital add-on content, as well as completing micro-transactions to acquire virtual goods.
3. Mobile is still driving gaming trends and sales
Gaming on mobile is at an all-time high, overtaking PC and console gaming. With mobile gaming accounting for $41 billion in spending worldwide in 2016, mobile gaming demographics and preferences cannot be overlooked when describing gaming trends. Mobile gamers tend to be more casual than avid gamers, with puzzle and board games making up 38% of mobile game activity. Such games have attracted more female and older players, and last year, the highest percentage of females gamers were in the 50+ bracket. Across all gamers, the average age is now 35, with the average female player at 37, and the average male player at 33.
4. Producers continue investing in VR
In-home ownership of VR (virtual reality) technology has so far not lived up to the hype or hopes of video game producers, yet companies are still willing to invest in and develop new VR tech in the hopes of creating a breakthrough product. According to the ESA, over 90% of VR owners are pleased with their purchase and one in three of the most frequent gamers say they’re likely buy VR in the next year. Still VR has a long way to go, and the most immediate future for VR may exist outside traditional in-home gaming experiences and instead rest with educational or training simulations and out-of-home entertainment.
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