Technological changes have revolutionised many industry sectors and none more so than the games industry – something that now crosses over into many other sectors with the rise of gamification of everything from online shopping to personal fitness.
The last few years in particular have transformed the way games – and by this we mean those ranging from traditional console games, social media game apps, casual games for tablets, smartphones and laptops and everything in between – are developed, published and marketed.
What is quite striking is that now independent developers are also given a chance in this market. It’s not just the big players anymore.
Independent developers on the rise
Statistics gathered in the GDC 2013 State of the Industry survey show that small teams and independent game developers are increasing in a way never before seen. More than half of the survey respondents categorised themselves as indie developers, showing a marked sea change from the days of major publishers like EA and first parties like Nintendo and Microsoft holding budgets and influencing the direction of the games made.
Around 46% of the developers surveyed work in companies with less than ten people and just 24% worked with a publisher at all on their previous project. This represents a massive change in developers taking control back, choosing to self-publish their games and taking the opportunity afforded by social media and online marketing to get the word out there.
Smartphones and tablets most popular platforms
Technological developments and advances has allowed a cross platform revolution to seriously change the way people play games and, in turn, how developers make them. Not long ago, all video games were on PCs and consoles, a major focus in the industry is now on developing apps and games for smartphones and tablets.
The ability to play games on tablets and smartphones have allowed for the games industry to infiltrate other sectors in subtle and useful ways. There are apps and websites that allow consumers to measure their fitness progress, shop online, or enjoy online roulette with live dealers, throughout Europe and the UK. These companies are again utilising technology to provide products that have quickly become indispensable. All this has meant a hugely increased target demographic, allowing for a resurgence of development and a boost to a struggling industry.
It is, of course, the increase in affordable technology both for the consumer and the developer that is allowing these changes to go ahead. Access to WiFi, 4G and powerful technology has allowed a cross platform revolution to seriously change the way people play games and, in turn, how developers make them.