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While it may be hard to predict what will actually happen in 2015 it’s always nice to learn about the upcoming trends from Gamesindustry.biz.
Free-to-play goes hardcore
Michael Pachter from Wedbush Securities thinks that we’re going to see a lot of interesting stuff in F2P-segment from Activision. The company already has a very successful title Hearthstone (produced by Blizzard’s small internal team), but this is only a beginning. Pachter believes that Heroes of the Storm, Call of Duty Online (this is actually a game for China; not available in the US or EU) and Overwatch will help the company earn over $500 mln in 2015. 2016 will be the more profitable for Activision with $1 billion in F2P sales. It’s definitely a possibility, taking into account the incredible popularity of Blizzards’ franchises and the Call of Duty series. Anyone for a CoD-free-to-play shooter?
Microsoft will likely also try something interesting with this new business model. It can try experimenting with Minecraft. This game has all the potential to become the next big F2P-monster. Pachter thinks that Microsoft will take this sandbox outside games.
Independent analyst Billy Pidgeon thinks that 2015 will see even more people enjoy games. Social and casual games with poor mechanics, low quality and unreasonable in-app prices have no real value for new gamers. Instead more and more players will try hardcore products.
Hardcore games, whether paid for or free-to-play, have been consistently delivering higher quality and more value to gamers for both aftermarket and in-game transactions. As platforms for high quality immersive games expand, so do opportunities for audience growth on all platforms worldwide.
Billy Pidgeon, Independent Analyst.
Pidgeon thinks that that market is ready for better mechanics and value in F2P-segment, but he’s really cautious to predict revolutionary releases in 2015. To overcome this barrier he advises bigger companies to rely less on raw data and to work with the community and nurture future players.
Digital sales overcoming retail
Interestingly enough Pidgeon believes that retail stores will continue to lose sales and bring less profit. Digital games, add-ons and online games will continue to earn more money than packaged products. The trouble with digital sales is that very few companies actually report the numbers for digital goods. David Cole from DFC Intelligence disagrees and says that consumers still want digital products. He doesn’t mean games but rather accessories and toys (Skylanders).
Indie will continue to dominate
David Cole from DFC Intelligence believes that the gaming industry will become very similar to music industry with independent developers gaining more influence and a bigger share of profits. Digital distribution and mobile platforms allow smaller teams to produce brave experimental games that find global success. In 2015 we will see more breakthroughs and more challenges as the discoverability of new games will continue to be an issue. Therefore letsplayers and shows about videogames will become even more important for the average consumer.
Patrick Walker from EEDAR and his colleagues from other agencies all agree that virtual reality will become one of the major trends. The majority of analysts believe that VR will become an integral part of our everyday life. Obviously Facebook will have the biggest influence here. Games will benefit immensely from VR-technology. However there’s no clear vision of virtual reality becoming a mass-market product. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Author: Alexandr Agapitov