Gaming is moving beyond the console

Chapter 1


The traditional video game industry has just launched the 8th generation of consoles, which will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the cornerstone of the gaming industry, relevant to millions of people globally. Gaming overtook the film industry four years ago, and with 2013 revenues forecast to be $58bn, up slightly from $57.2bn in 2012, it’s an industry that is mature and relatively stable.

Contrast this with the explosion in mobile gaming which last year was reportedly worth $6bn globally, this year is expected to be worth $8bn and will continue to grow in years to come. Such rapid growth has happened due to proliferation of smart phones and tablets, the former now being in the hands of over 72% of the UK population. But growth of gaming outside of consoles and PCs is not limited to our new found love for mobile.

We believe that gaming is evolving quickly and is fast moving beyond the console, particularly here in the UK. Mobile gaming and the multi-playing behaviours of recent years are changing the scope of what gaming is; new people are gaming; there are new places and new occasions that gaming will take over; and the definition of what we will call gaming tomorrow is very different to what we call it today.

To help us understand the future of gaming, we’ve undertaken a series of interviews with experts from across the gaming industry and carried out primary research with our ‘Future of…’ Research Community forum to help understand today’s gamers, understand how the gaming world will develop in the future and what this means to brands.

We will argue that:

1. MOBILE AND SOCIAL WILL BRING NEW AUDIENCES TO GAMING
As smartphone and tablet penetration has increased gaming devices are now in the hands of almost three quarters of the UK population. The simplicity and accessibility of smartphones means gaming is fast becoming one of the most popular habits for millions of people. Although social acceptance is still an issue for new gamers, the growth in sharing at the console level will begin to soften the residual stigma that
 gaming has in some circles.

2. GAMING BEYOND THE LIVING ROOM: TAKING OVER NEW PLACES
The portability of gaming means that gaming is moving beyond the living room. It’s on the way to work; it’s moving out on to the streets, it’s even setting up in your local pub. Gaming is immersive and when gamers play, they’re ignoring everything else. Gaming has even become a professional sport and youth audiences are watching in their millions.

3. BLURRING THE DEFINITION OF A GAME
The formats of gaming will change considerably. No longer will the experience of console games reside with just a hand-controller or even gesture control; they’ll extend across to tablets and smartphones. Even console gaming, about to enter its 8th generation, will change as motion control improves and new technology like Virtual Reality headsets makes gaming more physical and immersive. We believe gaming in the physical world, with mechanics like geo-targeting, has been over-hyped; and will not extend much beyond fitness brands.

4. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BRANDS
With gaming growing to the point where it’s starting to disrupt other media habits, it’s easy for brands to feel overwhelmed about what to do in this rapidly changing world. Few brands have been repeatedly successful in gaming and as the gaming world continues to be a challenge, we look how brands can approach gaming in a way that mutually benefits gamers, brands and publishers alike.

Rich Smith