Growth is upon us here at Emerging Insider Communications, which means we are acquiring the best and brightest in the industry to join our talented team. One of the most promising additions to the Emerging Insider family is Adam Dawson, a passionate video game expert who has been instrumental in navigating this evolving industry through his analysis on emerging trends and in-depth knowledge. By examining the past and future of the gaming industry, Adam is determining the best ways to help position new clients into the evolving ecosystem. Here, Adam shares his knowledge and insights on the current gaming landscape and where he sees the industry heading in the future:
Where does your passion for the gaming industry stem from?
Adam Dawson: I’ve been passionate about games for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of me climbing out of my crib to play my brother’s SEGA Genesis. Ever since, my passion for games has grown exponentially. It’s truly fascinating how video games allow us to assume the role of a character, escape into fantastical digital environments and experience adventures we could never dream of experiencing in real life.
In your opinion, what has been the biggest disruptor in the gaming industry to date?
AD: Cloud gaming hasn’t completely emerged yet, but once it takes off, it will be the biggest disruptor the video game industry has ever seen. Cloud gaming allows video games to be streamed through a thin client, similar to how Netflix steams video. They will be stored on servers and streamed directly to the device. Since the servers handle most of the performance intensive operations, the power of the device becomes less important, allowing newer games to be run on dated hardware. Once completely established, cloud gaming will disrupt the retail game market because consumers will stream games rather than purchase a physical copy. It will also disrupt the used game market, as less physical copies of games will be purchased and will result in fewer trade ins. Developers will be on board because it will eliminate packaging and distribution expenses, and also help prevent them from losing money on the used game market. It will also disrupt the PC hardware market because state-of-the-art gaming hardware won’t be required to run new games.
What about a major disruptor in the last few years?
AD: The ability to purchase games digitally has disrupted the retail market by offering new games for less than their original prices. Digital marketplaces like Steam and Origin have sales that allow gamers to purchase and digitally download new games at huge discounts. Console marketplaces such as the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network offer new, free-to-play games each month as well as sales.
Since a lot of gamers are buying digitally, it disrupts the used game market. The development of buying digitally allows consumers to buy new games for much cheaper than a used game, without worrying about the condition of the disc. Taking away the reselling of used games, which is a billions dollar business, will dramatically affect companies like GameStop. On the other end, development studios are on board with the digital purchasing of games because it saves them money on manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Also, when a used game is bought, the store selling the product receives all of the money towards the purchase, cutting the creators out. If games went completely digital, studios would share a percentage of the sale with the marketplace their game was purchased from, but still make money off of their titles several years after their release.
Where do you see the space heading in the future?
AD: Once high speed, broadband internet connections become more common in households, the space will go completely digital. With the advancement of digital marketplaces and the development of cloud gaming, physical copies of games will become irrelevant. Gamers will only download or stream games from their homes because it is convenient and inexpensive. It is also cheaper and easier for studios because they don’t have to worry about the headache and expenses of finding a publisher to publish and distribute their game—the marketplaces themselves act as the publishers.
What do think are some of the more exciting gaming tech developments?
AD: The return of head-mounted VR consoles with the development of the Oculus Rift is extremely exciting because it aims to offer a truly immersive gaming experience. Other exciting developments are modular computers, open source gaming, multiscreen gaming, advancements in graphics and physics engines, advancements in motion capture and animation, and advancements in motion controlled gaming.
Is there anything missing in the gaming world?
AD: Originality. As the years pass by, less and less intellectual properties (IP) are created. It seems that companies keep pumping out titles to already successful series instead of making something new and exciting. During this new generation of gaming, I hope that studios will take advantage of new technologies and create some interesting and innovative IPs. Also, open source gaming will hopefully add more originality to the industry by allowing independent developers to produce and share games without the need for and expensive software development kit.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about gaming?
AD: Video games being a cause of violent behavior is probably the biggest. There have been numerous studies proving that excessive video game playing does not cause violent behavior, but many people still use video games as a scapegoat in displays of violent behavior by the youth. Another misconception is that gaming is a waste of time. Gaming offers a chance to develop skills such as team building through cooperative play, hand-eye coordination and sharpened reflexes. Also, since the video game industry is one of the most profitable spaces in the business world, there are many opportunities for corporate careers.
Are there any companies or technologies on your “must watch” list?
AD: There are many technologies to watch out for in the near future, and most companies are always worth keeping tabs on. Specific technologies that are a must watch are the Oculus VR, cloud gaming, modular computers, multiscreen gaming and open source gaming. All of these technologies and trends will change the gaming world over the next few years. As for companies, Valve is always doing something new and exciting. Razer and Origin are making moves in the PC landscape, developing the first modular concepts. In general, it’s always good to watch development studios, my favorites being Naughty Dog, Rockstar Games and Sony Santa Monica.
What do you see in the future for gaming media development?
AD: I see a more immersive and interactive experience. I also see a more social experience as online multiplayer games become even more popular and interactive. Development studios will take advantage of new technologies and create more lifelike visuals, as well as improve upon game mechanics. Narrative in games will become more important, resulting in video games with narratives that are deeper and more captivating than most movies and television programs. Games will go completely digital, resulting in the collapse of the retail and used game markets. Open source gaming will allow a plethora of new game content into the market by enabling independent developers to create and publish games for cheap. The video game industry is growing and changing more rapidly than ever, so there are a lot of expectations and speculations.