In a year which will be remembered for high-quality games like Fortnite: Battle Royale and Far Cry 5, it is no surprise to discover that the video game industry has enjoyed huge financial success. Consumers are increasingly seeking a flexible gaming experience, which is why online gaming and mobile gaming have been two fruitful avenues for video game developers. This success in the industry will encourage more innovation in years ahead as companies seek to replicate the financial rewards of 2018.
Fortune have reported that consumer expenditure on video games rose by 40% in the first half of 2018 in the United States, taking customer spending to $19.5 billion. With investments in video game hardware already reaching their highest total for seven years even before the lucrative festive period, this is an exciting time for those in the industry. The bar has been set high for future years, so there will be an onus on innovation in order to match these numbers.
Industries with a heavy emphasis on technology are in a constant process of development, with new technological capabilities informing new business directions. This has been evident in the music industry, with streaming becoming the dominant means of consumption, and in the battle for supremacy in the online movies market. Video gaming has undergone a similar shift. While there is still a demand for individual games with a narrative focus, games now largely live and die on the strength of their online modes.
The rise in the gaming industry has encompassed a variety of products, from match-3 games like Candy Crush to online multiplayer games like Fortnite. However, more traditional modes of gaming, like card games and board games, have also embraced the online model. For instance, people who enjoy the occasional card game either alone or with friends have benefitted from the number of new online casinos that are launching to cater for the growing demand. In such a competitive market, the need to find a unique selling point is imperative, both for the operators offering them and consumers looking out for them.
With the above in mind, the tradition of sharing a sofa with fellow gamers is quickly disappearing. While being in the same room as a gaming opponent has its benefits, the scope of online gaming allows players to instantly connect with a diverse set of contemporaries from across the globe. There are always players waiting to join an online game, giving gamers an almost boundless level of flexibility when it comes to scheduling their gaming. The biggest restricting factor comes with maintaining an internet connection, but this is becoming less of an issue in an increasingly connected world.
Source: Fortnite via Facebook.
Therefore, a game that fails to offer a well-constructed online option is likely to suffer. A look at the most popular games of 2018 reinforces this argument. Fortnite will be remembered as the defining game of 2018, with its unprecedented success destined to have ramifications on the development of games in the upcoming years. Few will have remained oblivious to the game’s rampant success, such is its prominence in popular culture.
The numbers that display Fortnite’s success are staggering. Fortnite: Battle Royale has broken financial records for free-to-play games, raking in $318 million in May 2018 alone. Electing to create a Battle Royale style of game (fighting to the death to be the last player standing) is credited with propelling Fortnite’s success to astronomical levels. Over the next few years, companies larger than Fortnite’s creator Epic Games Inc will no doubt offer up huge quantities of money in an attempt to replicate the success.
Whether those attempts prove fruitful, only time will tell. Fortnite took inspiration from huge gaming franchises like Call of Duty but added the clever twist of taking all of the excitement online. It is this emphasis on online gaming that will guide game development in the next few years. The rise of consumer spending on video games in 2018 shows that the demand for high-quality gaming is not going anywhere.