In the UK, gaming is a very healthy part of the economy. UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), the game industry’s trade body, announced that the games market grew by 12.4% in 2017 to an enormous £5.11bn. It is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, so it is obviously doing something right.
Businesses in other industries should have a look at businesses in the gaming industry to see what they are doing so well.
Competitor research: Epic Games and Fortnite
When Fortnitewas first launched, it was an open-world base-building horde game that was not received particularly well and was in danger of being a huge flop for its publisher, Epic Games. Epic Games could have kept plugging away at the game and improving this horde mode, but it was clear that there wasn't any hype and that something needed to be done quickly.
At around the same time, another game was doing very well in terms of generating hype. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds(PUBG) was the first big battle royale game. A battle royale game basically uses the premise of the Japanese 2000 film Battle Royale as the basis for its gameplay. In that film, a number of people are put on an island to fight it out to the death. In the game, you are dropped onto an island to fight 99 other players to the death. What Epic did was to make a new game mode for Fortnitecalled Fortnite: Battle Royale. Combining this relatively novel game mode with Fortnite’sbase-building gameplay, free-to-play model and cartoony graphics has made it into a smash hit and teaches businesses that sometimes you need to borrow from the competition.
Adaptability: gambling and casinos
Casinos are not the draw they once were. Several articles have detailed the decline of American casinosin recent years and it comes down to that oft-mentioned bogeyman, the Millennial. Yes, unlike their grey and greying elders, young people today are not drawn to the glitz and glare of casinos. They are drawn to video games and internet entertainment, and some businesses are realising this. Online casinos offer the same thrills of gambling with an even better selection of games to play, from roulette and blackjack to poker. With online gambling, it is much easier to stop because all you need to do is click off the website, making it far more attractive to money-conscious Millennials, who are picking online casinos based on the best casino bonuses.
Listening to feedback: EA and Star Wars Battlefront II
When Star Wars Battlefront IIwas released in November 2017, it was met with a huge backlash over its use of micro-transactions. The main complaint from players was that the game’s loot boxes could be purchased with real cash. Loot boxes had items and equipment in them that could give you an advantage over the competition, such as better weapons or upgrades. The fact that loot boxes could be purchased was unfair because it gave players who spent more money an advantage in multiplayer.
The backlash became so large that developer and publisher EA decided to remove loot box purchasing from the game. “We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases,” read a blog postfrom EA. Now, you can only unlock loot boxes by spending timeon the game, not money. EA has since reintroduced some in-game micro-transactions, but only for cosmetic items that have no impact on how well you play. This is an example of a business listening to its audience and responding in a reasonable way.
Using big data: King
King is a developer that believes in the use of big data to make a better product. King uses its player base as its primary data source, asking them questions about their demographic, as well as asking them to provide feedback on the product. All of this gives King a better idea of who is playing its games and what could be improved about its products. King’s Chief Data Scientist believes in not over-automating the data collection and analysis process.
Businesses should learn from the success of the gaming industry. This is the industry that put Nintendo and Sony on the map and made them two of the biggest brands in the world. This is an industry to watch very carefully.