2019 saw the release of several huge video game titles. Google ventured into the industry and two consoles made crucial announcements. In addition to major headlines, here are more video game trends, facts, and stats that defined 2019.
- Activision and Bungie Split
After a wildly successful ten-year partnership, Bungie broke up with Activision in early January 2019. The announcement came suddenly after efforts to repair the two companies’ growing rifts failed. Following the split, Bungie now controls how the Destiny franchise will be run exclusively.
- PS Vita Discontinued
Despite being written off by the gaming community for several years, it managed to remain in production for 8 years since its launch in 2011. Nothing lasts forever though and it was officially discontinued on 2nd March 2019.
- Google underwhelms in Stadia
After Google announced it would start a video game platform at the start of the year, everyone paid attention. Sony and Microsoft seemed worried while fans all over the world got excited to see what the Giant tech company would deliver.
Sadly, Google Stadia has been underwhelming since its November launch. Most of the features promised don’t work and there are few video games to play. Of course, Google has the money and resources required to turn things around. But based on its present state, it’s a disappointment.
- Microsoft’s xCloud Receives a Welcome Reception
In the meantime, though, Google’s average project is a win for Microsoft and Sony. The former launched Project xCloud in October. And while it’s still in Beta stage, it received better reviews than Stadia for one essential reason: it works with all Xbox titles.
- The Blizzard Controversy
Usually, many video game disputes revolve around publishers and players. In 2019, however, one of the biggest controversies in the industry had politics written all over it. It involved Blizzard banning a Hearthstone player for showing support to the Hong Kong protestors.
- PS Vita Global Physical Game Production Ceases
In parallel with the discontinuation of the console itself, Sony Interactive Entertainment ceased production of physical game cartridges for the PS Vita in all of their plants in the West on 31st March 2019. Contrary to popular belief, this did not mean the end for Vita software releases as digital releases have continued and cartridges are still being made in their factories in the East.
- One billion people in the Asia Pacific region are Gamers
Although it didn’t happen in a single year, the Asia Pacific region is now home to half of the world’s video gaming fans. For reference, there are 2.3 billion gamers in the world. Most of the people who love video games in Asia are below 50 years.
- Esports hit $1 billion
The nascent world of competitive video gaming is now worth $1 billion. With 450 million fans and a plethora of brands to sponsor professionals, it’s bound to continue ballooning. Speaking of brands, 40% of the revenues in eSports came from sponsorships. When trickled down to players, here were the best paying video games for eSports players in 2019:
- Dota 2 – $137 million
- CS: GO – $52 million
- League of Legends – $50 million
- StarCraft II – $26 million
- Heroes of the Storm – $12 million
- Steam helped Sell 47% of Video Games
Steam was the best place to sell a new video game in 2019. Case in point, the platform controlled 47% of the industry video game sales. Its closest competitor, Battle.net, helped sell 18% of titles. A significant percentage of publishers, 26%, preferred to sell their games directly to players.
- Gaming Industry hits $135 billion
The gaming industry defied critics saying it would plummet to rise by 10% from 2018. The US contributed $29.1 billion of the revenue. When it came to making purchases, 82% of gaming fans preferred to buy online.
Future Proof Trends
- Hollywood and Casino Synergy
After years of minor partnerships, 2019 saw more video game movies and casino games inspired by the industry take off. Keanu Reeves did a stellar job in Cyberpunk 2077. Then there were Angry Birds 2, Resident Evil, The Witcher TV Series and Minecraft the Movie.
Zuma, Hitman, Bejeweled, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider are no longer just video games. These titles have been turned into slots, and have become some of the best online slots to play for real money. The slots don’t ask for sophisticated skills to play but they are entertaining and can be profitable.
- Twitch Alternatives Rose Up
For a long time, Twitch has been the undisputed home of video game streaming. But after Microsoft, through Mixer poached a few of Twitch’s top streamers, the platform could look different this year. Microsoft allegedly paid $50 million to convince Ninja to ditch Twitch. It also brought Ewok and Shroud, two other renowned streamers. Facebook also made major moves to get streamers to stream on the giant social media network—a trend it will reignite in 2020.
- Mobile Gaming became Trendy
After years of being sidelined as a niche sector for amateurs, mobile gaming dethroned PC and Console to become the leading gaming platform. Predictably, major developers announced interests to invest in mobile games.
Microsoft’s xCloud, for example, will be a platform to provide major Xbox games on android and iOS devices. Konami also announced it shake up its services to become more of a mobile game developer. Apple, on the other end, launched Arcade, a $5 per month service that will give users access to hundreds of free to play games.
- Influencer Marketing
Most people might not have noticed it but most video game companies in 2019 made major investments to partner with influencers and celebrities. A case in point was Microsoft shelling out $50 million to get Ninja’s signature.
Ninja had also received $1 million from EA to promote Apex Legends when it came out. The Canadian partnered with 99 more influencers who got paid to stream or aggressively promote the company’s video game to their fans. Fortunately, the efforts paid back as Apex Legends earned a million players within eight hours. Within one month, the game had 50 million players.
Curious Facts and Stats
- The average gamer is 34 years old
Contrary to popular belief, more adult women play video games than teenagers. The average female player is 36 years while the standard gaming male is 32 years of age.
- 63% of millennials have tried VR games
Again, VR games are pretty much alive and thriving. And based on last year’s stats, no one should dismiss them as a niche destined for doom. VR games might not be popular with older players (2%), but 63% of players between 25 and 34 have tried them.