2022 has been a remarkable year for the global gaming industry, bringing with it immense highs and lows.
As a major player in big tech, all eyes are currently on the gaming market as we move forward into a brand-new financial year.
Having been on the rise since 2019, the gaming industry will continue to build on the momentum that’s been generated to date. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what lies in store for the gaming industry over the next twelve months, covering the major new releases and business developments lined up for 2023.
A New Direction for Video Gaming
One of the biggest developments that lie in wait for video gaming in 2023 is that it will move to the centre of the pop culture universe. Gaming is already the world’s most popular form of at-home entertainment, generating approximately $184 billion in revenues on an annual basis. Gaming is undoubtedly a lucrative IP resource, and it’s something that everything from streaming services to government bodies are keen to tap into.
Netflix has already outlined its plans to utilise gaming as a way to expand its reach, acquiring its fourth gaming studio – Spry Fox – at the tail end of 2022. Now, streaming platforms are lining up to broadcast TV adaptations of top gaming titles The Last Of Us (HBO), Fallout (Amazon), Assassin’s Creed (Netflix) and God of War (Amazon). There’s even a big-screen adaptation of The Super Mario Bros coming in 2023 that will surely be a major Hollywood hit.
We’re also likely to see an increased focus on the social element of gaming, in conjunction with eh expected rollout of metaverses and Web 3.0 technology, as the year progresses. A number of gaming genres are likely to go down the social route, following a path similar to the remote poker vertical. Currently, leading platforms like PokerStars allow gamers to set up and manage their very own home games via its Poker Club feature – itself a template that will likely be replicated across the industry.
A Political Impact
As with other leading big tech industries like social media, the gaming industry is no longer a stand-alone entertainment industry. In the digital age, technology is inherently socio-political, and it seems that 2023 will see gaming have its day as a viable way for governments to improve economic prospects.
The Savvy Gaming Group, which is founded by the Saudi Arabia government, is one such example. In total, $37.8 billion will be invested into gaming as the kingdom attempts to establish itself as a leading authority in the global gaming market.
According to the kingdom’s official press statement, $13 billion has been earmarked for the “acquisition and development of a leading game publisher”. In comparison, a further $18 billion will be invested into creating 250 local game companies, which in turn is expected to produce just shy of 40,000 new employment opportunities in the country.
Games developers, too, are finally beginning to understand the importance of diversity and representation in video gaming characters. While the business end is finally beginning to catch up, with more women and BAME professionals taking key posts in leading gaming companies, diversity on-screen leaves a lot to be desired.
With 46% of gaming audiences consisting of female players, studios will be taking steps to authentically represent the diversity of gamers in 2023 and beyond. One of the most anticipated new games of the year, Forspoken, will see a black heroine at the helm. Meanwhile, Redfall continues a theme established by Horizon: Zero Dawn and Hellbade: Seuna’s Sacrifice in offering a fully diverse line-up of leading characters.
One of the biggest questions facing the gaming industry in 2023 is whether the US Federal Trade Commission will block Microsoft’s landmark acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Should the trade indeed go ahead, it would place Microsoft as the second-largest video game publisher in the world (behind Tencent) and knock the incumbent Sony off its throne.
Speaking of Sony, the company will be taking further steps into the sectors of eSports and Virtual Reality gaming. PlayStation Tournaments, its “eSports for everyone” offering, will hit the PS5 early in 2023, meaning that more players will be able to track down and compete in eSports events. Furthermore, its second attempt to create the VR market will launch in February in the form of the PSVR2, which may well have the impact its predecessor sadly failed to achieve.