The games industry has become one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. Games can be seen everywhere these days: in your living room, on your phone, in all kinds of conferences and events, to name a few. Over the years, the game industry has consistently been growing bigger and bigger, now employing more people than ever all around the world.
An early 2021 survey for global game developers found that 39% of respondents were working in the United States, followed by Canada with 12 percent. Finland and Sweden were the top-ranked locations for game developers in Europe, accounting for eight and six percent of respondents respectively. These numbers obviously don’t form a completely realistic picture, but they can still help us see how widely developers are spread all around the world, proving that you don’t necessarily need to live in a large country to find success.
Most game developers are employed by large studios that work on games aimed at larger audiences. Often these bigger studios focus on developing big-budget games for console, PC, and mobile players. These games rarely take as many risks due to being aimed at a wider, more casual audience. Meanwhile, smaller indie developers are commonly more focused on offering unique experiences that might appeal to smaller, niche audiences. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule, but commonly indie games try to avoid competing directly with large AAA games. By focusing more on other, less saturated genres, they can often find their spotlight more easily.
The steady growth of the game industry can be clearly seen when looking at the steady climb of the yearly worldwide market value. In 2021, the market value for gaming has risen to over 180 billion dollars, and many analysts have estimated that if the growth follows similar patterns in the future, by 2023 the games industry might exceed 200 billion dollars yearly.
Looking back in 2022, the status of the world during the recent years has in many ways affected game developers everywhere. Global issues like the pandemic may have caused permanent changes to how the industry works, with remote working practices being more common than ever. Meanwhile, large business acquisitions made by Sony and Microsoft are also bringing new shifts to the former status quo. The world of game development is constantly changing, and developers must be ready to change with it.
In the early 2000s, the console and PC markets dominated the gaming landscape. At a glance, it's still easy to get that impression due to how much more spotlight their large AAA games tend to get. However, the rise of smartphones changed the gaming landscape for good, and now it has become easily the largest and most profitable market for games. Back in 2016, over 500 games were launched daily in the App Store, and that number has only gone up exponentially since then. According to a research conducted in 2020, smartphones have the highest percentage of players in Europe and the USA (61%) - no doubt due to a relatively low barrier to entry for gaming on those devices. The numbers are slightly lower for console (52%) and PC (49%) gaming but as the graph (2021 Global Market Revenue Per Device) showed, mobile games are by far the biggest when it comes to revenue.
It's important to note that the rising popularity of mobile gaming has not diminished the popularity of the other platforms in any major way. In fact, both console and PC gaming are at the height of their popularity. For example, Steam, the largest digital distribution service on PC, commonly breaks new concurrent player records every year. Millions of players are online every second, and, if the trajectory of the industry remains the same, those numbers will only keep climbing up. Generally speaking, gaming as a whole is bigger than ever before, and not showing signs of slowing down.
In the following video Eric Jordan talks about what makes video games so special.
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