Today we’re going to talk about fiction. That’s not unusual, because although video games are serious business, after all, we are all sellers of fiction – we create worlds that have never existed before, we tell stories that no one has heard before, we show things that no one has seen before. We are able to make intangible things give our audiences completely real experiences. This is something that until relatively recently people would have called magic, fiction, or futurism.
That said, I come to the obvious conclusion – we have every reason to try to see into the future – “when no man has gone before”. However, this is not the telling of tales, our thoughts will be based on the thorough knowledge we have gained throughout the time we have been exploring the skill-based gaming market together. If you are reading these sentences, you surely already know what skill-based games are, how big their market is, who our target audience is, how we can attract this audience, what categories of skill-based games are the most popular, how we can monetize our productions, and how they differ from gambling games.
But before we move on to predict the future of skill-based games, it is worth asking – where is the whole video game industry heading?
When I was preparing for this article, I read a lot of summaries and looked at dozens of charts illustrating how big the market is and where it will be in the coming years. I wanted to throw a lot of examples, numbers, charts into the text – I wanted to show off.
And then I thought: meh, boring. Today we want to predict, not analyze – we already did that!
If you have read the previous articles, you already know everything. It’s been a while since the gaming market has completely outclassed Hollywood. The esports gaming segment alone (skill-based are part of it) is expected to reach over one billion dollars by the end of 2021 (combined – online gaming and gambling), and over one and a half billion by 2024. The gaming market is growing faster and faster, and there is no indication that this growth will be halted – not even the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on this growth (albeit the global crisis we are in is visible on all indicators).
However, what is important and interesting, is that the “power over the world” – that is, generational prime time is celebrated by millenials – if you’ve read one of the previous articles about the target audience for our games, you know that Millennials and Generation Z (generations that play the most games of all living) – are our target… for the time being, because they will soon be joined by others generations. However, for people born in the 90s as well as for those who were born in the world where internet is a normal thing, computer games are no longer something that is just an addition to life, a new entertainment. For each of these generations, games are second nature, a completely natural way to spend their time.
Technology is adapting just beneath them: Elon Musk is launching his star-link satellites so that everyone around the world can have access to good quality internet. Why? For work? Well, sure, but after all, everyone knows that we actually want to look at funny pictures of cats and have fun with online entertainment. That’s why technologies related to game streaming – like google stadia – will develop faster and faster, making it so you won’t have to have amazing quality hardware to play nice games – which will also probably affect the mobile industry; the rapid development of 5G networks (and what’s next: 6G, 7G?) is already a fact, after all.
Another change resulting from the fact that millennials rule the world is that people who grew up with them are coming to work on games – how many new perspectives, how much diversity awaits us in the next productions created by such people?
Games streamed from the cloud will free us from problems with matching hardware, and AR and VR technology will bring productions directly to our reality – games will become even more mobile than they are now. What will skill-based games look like that you can play on a walk in the park, using – for example – real environmental elements?
And further – maybe games will stop being associated only with entertainment. Perhaps a small social revolution awaits us: a mini-game on a crosswalk, to kill time? Or maybe AR games, which will be introduced in schools from an early age, in order to teach children more effectively both the subjects we already know and the programming?
I didn’t write these thoughts just for the sake of predicting. We know how games – and the entire environment that comes with them: distribution, software, hardware, etc. – have changed in the last ten to twenty years. It’s a completely different world, and there are many indications that in 2030, 2040, the world of video games may surprise us again.
And that means one thing – games are getting old. Those who stand still and don’t adapt their productions – die. In the case of many games, this means redefining the mechanics and entire concepts of such productions. In the case of skill-based games… well, not really.
Why do people play games? In general, we want to experience excitement. Entertainment. These things can be given to the viewer in many different ways, but where others – with mechanics – have to constantly invent something new, we: skill-based game developers, have one main advantage – our main mechanic is how the human mind works. Our games work both in the virtual environment (which will change) and in the human psyche – and that will remain the same for many, many years to come.
I’ve written about this before in an article focusing on how our viewer’s mind works; when you can only win with your mental/physical skills – which you can tweak for yourself, each success tastes very different and is addictive. You can always be better. It’s not the game that gets better – it’s YOU becoming a better person, gaining new skills. Better reflexes, strategic thinking skills, familiarity with quizzes, vocabulary development.
Let me go back to what I wrote above: games will become even more mobile. Streaming will provide support for virtually any terrain. Games will teach, games will help with many illnesses (they already do), games will be around every corner.
Ask yourself what kind of games are best able to interact between the virtual and real worlds. What games are already based on the fact that they interact with the player, teach him something, do not operate on virtual statistics, but arouse real emotions because of the achievement of real goals?
Skill-based games – these are the ones that will occupy the majority of the market.
About the Author:
Michał Stonawski (born 1991 in Kraków, Poland) – writer, publicist, game designer.
Originator and co-author of the anthology “Map of Shadows”, author of the ebook collection of short stories “Strange Days” (published by Ebookowo 2018). In July 2020, he debuted his first full-fledged paperback book; “Paranormal: True Stories of Hauntings” (published by Znak), which gained bestseller status.
Proudly working with RealityUnit as a game designer.