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The gaming market is not what it used to be a few decades ago when amateur developers would program code from magazines and come up with a game idea every few months. It is now a multibillion-dollar industry that is even rivaling the film industry.

According to MildMint significant growth is forecasted in the gaming industry until 2026. Part of the reason is the need for game development for the amount of platforms game studios needed these days, ranging from PC to console and mobile.

Some of the high hitters on the PC gaming market today in terms of popularity are League of Legends, Minecraft, Counterstrike Global Offensive, Hearthstone and Fortnite. Some of these titles also share console variants such as Minecraft, but many console games are specific to platforms. Nintendo titles, like the latest Super Mario Maker 2, are popular but only available on the Switch for instance.

Nintendo games like Blizzard titles tend to hold up over the long term in popularity and sales. However, the industry is volatile and a title popular one week may totally die off the next when the next heavy-hitter gets noticed and tops the charts. Gaming is an industry that is often hard to predict and titles or genres may be popular one minute and irrelevant soon thereafter.

There is a trend for many games to be similar to subscription services rather than one-time experiences. Such games require constant updates throughout their life cycles, which depending on their popularity may be five years if not longer. Many of these also games start out as free-to-play and have monetization via downloadable content and in-app purchases (IAPs) or microtransactions.

Many universities offer game development degrees and gaming studios often take programmers specializing in languages like C++ or Unity, common languages used for development. There are also various software development services available for anyone to tap into for any company lacking experience in this area of development.

Optimizing Game Code is Key

Streaming services are gaining traction these days. In fact, Google is about to enter the market with its Stadia platform. This November, for just $9.99 monthly, gamers will be able to play the latest titles via their browsers when using this upcoming service without having to own bulky and expensive consoles or desktop PCs.

Gaming studios and software developers will have to continuously optimize their code for the games to function lag-free when streamed. This will separate the good or desired development teams from those that just provide functional code and not much optimization.

ESports or watching game tournaments is taking off as well these days. Entire show events are forming around ESports and millions of viewers are tuning in to watch the latest gaming tournaments.

A website called eSports Earnings offers some examples of these tournaments. For instance, during the International 2018, where a game called Dota 2 was being played, more than $25 million was handed out to winning eSports teams with the top team earning over $11 million.

The games played at these tournaments tend to fall under the genre of MOBA or massive online battle arena. Dota 2 is one example of this and so are League of Legends and Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. First-person shooters like Overwatch and Counterstrike tend to be popular as well.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, in 2018 there were 215 million occasional viewers and 165 million enthusiast viewers. The annual growth rate is predicted to stabilize at 14% by 2021. There are also around 18,000 active players at such tournaments from all over the world competing and the prizes and competition will continue to grow.

Twitch is also a popular platform these days among gamers and viewers alike. It is a platform that allows gamers to stream their gaming sessions to other users, often generating hundreds of thousands of views per session. The platform is opening up new market opportunities for advertisers and various companies offering gaming-related products among other monetization efforts.

Twitch also requires good optimization in both its software for viewers and streamers alike and game code to work well with the platform. Optimization and being able to create games across a wide range of platforms and devices is a key aspect of modern game development and one to look for when looking for development services. 

Although hobbyist game designers can create a good design using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) languages such as GameSalad or RPG Maker, professional AAA studios and design efforts look for developers familiar with specialized languages. Some of these languages are Javascript, HTML5, C++ and Java. Mobile games also often use languages like Unity, C# and C++.

Another thing to consider is that many game development studios will need specialized talent for creating their own engines using various languages for an optimized framework of sorts. This will allow them to reuse assets for future game titles and streamline development going forward while standing out from the competition.

Gaming Spearheads New Technological Developments

Gaming has spread to new markets over the years. For instance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are here to stay and opening up new ideas for gaming development. These experiences are much more than just a game you see on a flat TV screen.

A game called Superhot requires the player to look in all directions and dodge projectiles thrown at him. It also requires to be fine-tuned to the sound around the player to pick out enemy hotspots and be able to both shoot and strike at enemies.

New technologies like VR are great for developers to get into because they offer an exciting way to reach players. They also offer opportunities for companies to establish themselves in a market that is going to boom in the years ahead before major competition steps in.

Today, VR requires bulky headsets that still take consumers back a few hundred dollars or more, but as the technology matures and becomes more affordable and is independent of a video card or console tether, it will continue to grow. Recent advancements have already seen tetherless and platform-independent headsets, such as the Oculus Quest.

New markets, such as VR, also offer developers a way to work with the latest cutting-edge technologies and influence player experiences beyond just a flat-screen. This experience can then be put into use in a user interface (UI) or overall user experience (UX) design for other software. This is why innovative markets like VR are popular among startups and independent developers.

Reaching New Audiences

Gaming is also spreading beyond just its main demographic that has been teenage males and young men for the past few decades. Now more women and even elderly people are a significant percentage of gamers. In fact, if we consider simple browser games to be part of the equation alongside the latest complex 3D titles, women make up the majority of all gamers.

The industry is trying to tap into this market segment and it is doing so with even the full-blown AAA titles. Many games today have a female lead or allow for the user to switch between a male and female lead. In RPGs (role-playing games), female characters have been gaining significant roles as well.

This is another reason that gaming development is often dynamic and is an exciting field to get into. It offers a way to reach different audiences and resonate with them. Unlike books and movies, games allow users to make choices and pick their paths. They allow them to escape the world around them and live an alternative life they may not have had a chance to experience in their daily lives before.

As VR and other technologies advance, this alternative world will become closer and closer to reality and it will take unique approaches to coding and development to stand out amongst modern gamers hungry for ever more innovative content.

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