By Wing Lee
Next-generation games will be unlike anything we have seen before
Gaming has transformed from a ‘geeky’ activity into a dominant force in entertainment. With one in three people considering themselves a gamer, it’s safe to say the industry is reaching new heights (Newzoo).
What makes the gaming experience unique is that it extends beyond the players. The fans who follow competitive gaming, or esports, have turned it into a global form of entertainment, as more people watch esports than HBO, Netflix, and ESPN combined (Roundhill Investments). Gaming as a spectator sport is massively appealing, whether for a kid who’s chasing their esports athlete dream, a gamer who loves to socialize with fellow players, or a casual fan who watches live streams on YouTube.
Changes of this magnitude are rare in entertainment. Traditional sporting content on television has dominated home entertainment for the last few decades. The new era of esports-related content and live streaming will likely be an enduring trend, given the increasing pace of digitization.
Next-generation games in the new decade will be unlike anything we have seen before, reshaping the way people interact with and consume content. A game may just become the next big social network, for one. Popular shooter game Fortnite is already drawing comparisons to Facebook. Millions of people play the game in teams, and even when gamers are not actively playing, they chat and watch others play.
The next Marvel universe may very well stem from the gaming industry. Action-adventure game Red Dead Redemption II had the largest opening weekend for game sales in the history of entertainment, topping Hollywood’s weekend box office record set by Avengers: Infinity War.
Players are devoting thousands of hours to interacting with characters and stories, as MMORPGs (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) are designed as massive worlds for players to explore. This highly-engaged fan base provides excellent opportunities to build the next big movie franchise or lifestyle brand targeting millennials and Generation Z consumers. U.S.-based esports organization 100 Thieves has invested heavily in its clothing brand, and many more are sure to follow suit.
Technology will also open up more ways for gamers to engage in their favorite activity. Currently, platform segmentation across P.C., mobile, and console makes it hard for friends to play with and against each other if they are on different platforms. But tools like Unreal Engine will enable developers to build cross-platform games. Multiplayer experiences will also be enhanced, leading to more player acquisition and engagement.
Gaming and esports are creating a culturally visible community of passionate gamers and fans. The fans, often affluent and digitally-savvy, will become a highly sought after consumer pool for corporations and brands. We can look forward to a massive wave of commercial opportunities across the world, and the most immersive, imaginative, and entertaining gaming experience yet.
About the Author
Wing is an entrepreneur and investor who invests in startups across the education, esports, and tech sectors. He is a former investment banker with more than ten years of experience in corporate finance and debt capital markets across London, Singapore and Hong Kong.
This story was originally published in Jumpstart Issue 29: Back to Basics as The Next Great Entertainment Revolution.