“The first person to release an app for eSports will be a billionaire.”
Insight. Virtual Reality, summoners war toa team 2019, eSports, Wearables: What will move developers in the coming years? Founder scene has been listening around for you in the gaming scene.
Mega Market Mobile
2011, a look back into the future: The German games company Innogames is just starting to build mobile-optimized web pages – that wasn’t common practice four years ago. However, the “huge interest of the players” and positive market data quickly ensure that Innogames’ core business shifts completely to mobile game development.
Back to 2015: The Hamburg-based company has left its status as a classic browser game manufacturer, which among other things developed the successful browser game “Die Stämme”, far behind. According to their own information, about 50 percent of newly registered players in some games are mobile players.
For Innogame CEO Hendrik Klindworth, mobile solutions remain part of the company’s focus. However, it is foreseeable that they will not remain the only important element. “It will be a matter of complementing mobile devices in a meaningful way. For the foreseeable future, smartphones and tablets will remain elementary components of our everyday lives, but in the future they will be meaningfully complemented by wearables,” says Klindworth. “Finding smart solutions here and filtering out which tasks wearables can really take on – and which they can’t – will be decisive for success and failure.
But such new developments cost money – especially if they fail. While the industry is also working on solutions for smart devices, the mobile games market continues to grow diligently: games market research firm Newzoo estimates the 2014 revenue value of the global mobile games segment at 25 billion US dollars. This sounds like a huge market, but production and marketing costs are also rising. For Patrik Wilkens, Senior Product Manager of game developer Goodgame Studio, it is important to find new ways for game companies to finance themselves.
The Hamburg-based games company began entering the mobile market in 2013 with the app “Empire: Four Kingdoms”. “The average marketing costs per installation on a mobile device will continue to rise in 2015,” says Wilkens. “Game developers will have to find new ways to reduce these costs: This can happen through diversification into alternative platforms such as messaging apps, partnerships with well-known brands and a stronger focus on virality. For example, many messaging apps promote games that users can play with their friends. Integration into these services potentially reaches more players”.
Free-to-Play goes classic
Especially in the mobile gaming segment, the revenues with the typical free-to-play concept – the game is free, but offers in-app purchases – are not comparable with the revenues of traditional console or PC games: According to Statista, a PC game cost an average of 17 euros in 2013. A console game even cost more than 30 – and a mobile game not even two fifty euros.
But the cheap mobile games sector is on the verge of upheaval, explains games company consultant and gaming journalist Oliver Redelfs. By the end of the year, some higher-quality F2P games can be expected. “Game companies from the free-to-play market are investing ever larger sums in the development of new products due to the strong competitive situation. Production cycles of up to two years and production costs of several million dollars are no longer uncommon,” says Redelfs. “This will not only have an impact on the market for ‘casual games’. With the significantly increased product quality, the upcoming games will also become more and more interesting for ‘core gamers’. Thus it is a logical step for the games companies to approach the classic game consoles with their F2P titles.”
The trend towards eSports
According to Redelfs, the eSport is a niche for PCs and consoles that has so far been pure. Although electronic sports are slowly arriving in Germany, there is no comparison to the popularity of eSports, which is similar to popular sports, especially in Asia. Sports arenas occupied down to the last seat, in which “League of Legends” tournaments are broadcast live on screens, and eSports stars who are admired like real sportsmen and women, do not yet exist here. But the gaming journalist sees great potential: this trend will continue unabated in 2015 and conquer Western gaming markets.
“It will be exciting to see which provider first succeeds in developing a combination of eSport and mobile games. There is gigantic potential here. Whoever is the first to launch an ingenious app in this area will certainly become a billionaire,” says Redelfs.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The most futuristic hype in the gaming segment is probably the one about virtual and augmented reality. From Google to Microsoft – everywhere is diligently tinkered. Some providers are already in the starting blocks with their AR and VR glasses, Redelfs knows. But until “the upcoming high-tech glasses, such as Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus or the augmented reality glasses Holo Lens from Microsoft, are mature enough to conquer the mass market, it will still take some time,” Redelfs says. “Virtual and augmented reality will have a huge impact on the entire content industry. Game companies will be among the forerunners due to their experience in creating digital worlds. This is now a huge opportunity for game companies to enter this future market at an early stage. Because once you have worn VR glasses and are completely immersed in the 3D world of a game, you will never let go of your enthusiasm for VR”.