What is the first thought that comes into your mind when you hear the words “video gaming”? Maybe you think of Pong, a table-tennis-themed game released in the 1970s that I remember having played as a kid on a black-and-white TV in the basement of my aunt’s house. Or maybe you remember PacMan, one of the most successful arcade games that cost $100,000 to develop in 1982 (about $300K in today’s money). Or you may think of CandyCrush, a highly successful mobile game that created a whole category of what is referred to as “match 3” games.
Today, the gaming industry is twice as large as video-on-demand and over ten times as large as music streaming.
Whatever you think of, you probably believe video gaming is still a niche activity mostly for children and teenagers, which cannot rival other forms of digital entertainment like video-on-demand (e.g., Netflix, Disney+) or music streaming (e.g., Spotify). Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the gaming industry is twice as large as video-on-demand and over ten times as large as music streaming. It has given rise to an entirely new category of websites dealing with video game streaming (e.g., Twitch), to industries like e-sports (which come with their own teams of athletes, merchandising, and training programmes), and to a support network of communication platforms (e.g., Discord, Reddit).
The special report recently published in The Economist is an excellent introduction for all those who want to familiarize themselves with this industry. I am excited to see that the topic is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Video games are an inexhaustible mine (for my craft)
Personally, I have been dealing with questions related to video games for a few years and my research work with Andreas Kaplan showed as early as 2009 that some virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are closely related to video games. This could last a lifetime as they are an inexhaustible mine (for my craft).
Specifically, my research looks into how brands can use video games as a marketing communication channel; how to understand and measure consumer behaviour and engagement during gameplay; how streamers can be used for influencer marketing (and how they differ from traditional social media influencers); how being a professional video game streamer impacts mental health (especially given that many of them are teenagers); how video games can be seen as an example of disruptive innovations; how the video gaming ecosystem relates to the metaverse; how companies can make use of the abundance of data generated by video games; and how to understand the complex world of e-sports.
Feel free to reach out if you want to understand more about these topics. And now – let the games begin!
This post gives the views of its author, not the position of ESCP Business School.
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