Damn the recession! Games still manage to sell and draw literally millions of players in to open up their increasingly tight coffers, now more so than ever. Stamford, Connecticut technology researchers Gartner projects a total of $74 billion spent on gaming for 2011, a growth of over 10 percent when compared against 2010’s expenditures. Additionally, Gartner are reporting that some 75 percent of that total will go towards software alone with profits rising until 2015’s projected estimate of $112 billion. Yes, that reads right – $112 BILLION, as in Carl Sagan B-illion.
Market Trends: Gaming Ecosystem 2011, as the report is being called, also states that the systems and peripherals will give way to the games themselves in total sales (an obvious observation – who buys fifteen sets of $60 worth of controllers?). Additionally, the rise of micro-transactions and a larger number of pay-for-play/subscription games and services for online MMOs and games are on the rise with a total growth of 27 percent per year until 2015.
“We find that subscription fees are giving way to ‘freemium’ models, in which the game is provided for free to gamers but is monetized through advertising (both in-game advertising and display advertising) and in-game micro-transactions, such as the sale of value-added services or virtual-good purchases,” said Brian Blau, one of the directors of research for Gartner, going on to state that, “This trend is prevailing given the rise of social gaming, in which online gaming is connected to social networking sites and social networking platforms,” showing the true power of companies like Zynga in this Facebook-centric era.
Contributing this reliance on social networks for profit, the market for mobile and tablet gaming has increased as technology has improved. Tuong Nguyen, a principal research analyst for Gartner, explains:
“Mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores. For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices.”
How long until we get 8 gigs of RAM in an iPad to run Fallout 3? And how long until we worry about the Game Ecosystem’s natural resources?