Il décolle ! Le marché du Serious Gaming en forte progression pour atteindre les 12 milliards d’Euros d’ici 2018.
L’innovation est au coeur des préoccupations des entreprises qui développent des Serious Games. Elle porte sur des aspects technologiques (accessoires, terminaux, interfaces, réseaux, logiciel et cloud), sur les contenus (gameplay, graphisme, stratégie éditoriale), et également sur les services d’accès aux SG (conditions d’accès, add-on, modularité de la plateforme, fonctionnalité sociales).
Cette progression du marché offre donc des perspectives très prometteuses aux développeurs de Serious Gaming (SG) sur le territoire français, comme le confirment les cinq sociétés que l'IDATE a invitées à collaborer à ce rapport : Daesign ; KTM Advance ; Groupe Interaction ; Manzalab et Dassault Systèmes.
Aussi, sur la période, on observe une croissance à deux chiffres à partir de 2015 et un pic de croissance sur 2016-2017. Ce pic correspond à un phénomène d’accélération de l’adoption du SG comme outil de formation et d’information par des PME. Aujourd’hui, ces dernières commencent à vouloir adopter ces outils vendus sur étagère.
La formation initiale et continue représentera plus de deux tiers du marché en 2018
Le segment de marché de la formation initiale et professionnelle représente le premier segment de marché du SG. Ce segment offre l’avantage d’avoir des modèles économiques compris et acceptés des commanditaires, de la production à façon à l’acquisition de licences utilisateurs.
Pour rappel, en 2014, ce segment représentait plus de 60% du marché global. Il gagnera 10 point jusqu’en 2018.
À l’image du marché mondial, le pic de croissance concernera davantage les années 2016-2017.
Ainsi, Dans les trois années à venir, le défi des acteurs offrant leurs services dans le SG sera de convaincre les entreprises de plus de 500 salariés, soit près de 2 700 en France. Les experts de l’IDATE s’accordent à dire que ce défi pourra être relevé tant les preuves du concept ont été faites auprès des grands comptes nationaux. Il s’appuiera donc sur différents facteurs clés de succès :
Pour retrouver toutes les informations concernant l’étude Serious Gaming et les études associées, cliquez-ici
Plus d’informations sur l’expertises et les événements de l’IDATE sur :
Le digiworld summit 2014 a réuni autour des questions de la mobilité près de 1 200 participants et 140 speakers du monde numérique. Les vidéos des moments forts de ces deux journées.
- L'interview de Laurent Solly, DG de Facebook France
- L'interview de Carlos Moreno, "La ville nous parle"
Consultant de l'IDATE
The study on how the online shift is affecting content industries analyse four main segments: books, recorded music, vide0 games and video products. Presentation.
For each sector, it provides readers with detailed market figures, analyses the move to the internet, its impact on industry structure and revenue sharing, and delivers market forecasts up to 2018, both global and for seven key national markets.
Alexandre Jolin, the Project manager for the report remarks that, “the global content market topped €140 billion in 2014, or only just over 1% more than in 2012, which marked a record low since the onset of electronic distribution channels”. Keeping in mind that 37% of content industries’ revenue come from these online distribution channels, or double the amount in 2010, albeit with huge disparities between the segments: 13% for books versus 67% for video games.
Content dematerialisation produces certain common effects to these different segments, despite the characteristics of books, recorded music, video games and video:
• a rise in subscriptions, at the expense of per-unit sales
• lower prices, which, combined with piracy, has an impact on household spending
• simplification of the value chain, with technical costs and intermediaries having less of an influence, which benefits consumers as well as those involved in creating, publishing and producing content
• piracy has a significant effect, although it seems to be stabilising thanks to new unlimited offerings, at least in developed markets
• a trend towards concentration upstream (production/editing) and downstream (distribution)
The various segments of the content industry are expected to follow different trajectories in the next five years:
• Publishing, which has only just started the process of dematerialisation, is likely to see revenues stagnate.
• Music, video and video games are likely to continue to grow or return to growth.
• The overall dematerialisation rate will reach 63% in 2018.
IDATE has identified the following key factors in digital content market development:
• a tighter link between purchase of a physical copy and a dematerialised copy
• the rise of the 'service' function, which allows personalised content recommendations
• innovative pricing models, individualised for each type of content (yield management)
Household spending expected to be back on the up
Falling in recent years, household spending on cultural products and services should start to increase from 2014, reaching 84.20 EUR per year worldwide in 2018. We nevertheless expect to see huge regional disparities, as North American households will continue to be by far the heaviest spenders on cultural goods and services, totalling an average €375 per household in 2018.
Source: IDATE, Content Economics, September 2014
Would you like to discover ous study ? This way.
Yves Gassot Directeur Général, IDATE
‘‘Mobility reloaded” will be the central theme of the 36th annual DigiWorld Summit.
Following through on ‘‘Game Changers’’ (2012) and ‘‘Digital Gold Mines’’ (2013), this year’s theme will allow us to further our examination of current and future upheavals in the digital economy by exploring the issues from a specific angle: mobility and its impact on user behaviour and on the value chain for telecoms, TV, advertising, the Internet, gaming, smart cities, etc.
- What innovations can we expect from mobile Internet disruption?
- Are fixed and mobile superfast access interchangeable?
- What new players and business models will emerge from the Internet of Things and mobile advertising?
- Will mobile devices turn TV into a one-to-one business?
- How can Europe get back in the game?
IDATE Chairman François Barrault points out that, ‘If the cloud, big data and the Internet of things are clearly the major disruptions looming on the horizon, the momentum today lies in the mantra: mobility first!’
IDATE CEO, Yves Gassot, details the key points of this year’s programme: ‘What began with the swift commercial success of 4G is segueing into the spectacular technological leaps expected from LTE-advanced and, beyond that, the prospect of 5G, the widespread adoption of software-driven networking (SDN)… But questions also linger over the accelerated pace of the migration from the fixed to the mobile Internet, spurred by the massive popularity of smartphones and tablets, coupled with the surge of emerging economies. It goes without saying that a great many stakeholders are being affected by these massive changes in the landscape, which we have chosen to explore from three angles: How revenue is progressing for mobile operators and other players, from M2M to the Internet of things and beyond; How the massively mobile Internet will affect the advertising ecosystem; and how TV industry players are positioning themselves now that video accounts for an increasingly large share of mobile traffic’.
The 36th annual DigiWorld Summit will run from 18 to 20 November in Montpellier, France, and play host to a panel of international industry luminaries who will share their views with more than 1,300 participants from 30 countries. IDATE analysts will lend their expertise to the sessions that will be moderated by Digiworld Institute members.
DigiWorld Week: the DigiWorld Summit broadens its horizons
This year’s DigiWorld Summit will kick off DigiWorld Week: a new initiative from IDATE and its key partners to explore the many facets of the digital society’s core economic issues. A series of exciting events will be taking place from 16 to 21 November on either side of the core two-day Summit:
- The Connected Things Forum
- The Game Summit
- MIG (Montpellier In Game)
- Industry Oracles
- Economic Club on m-payment
> Find the latest programme updates at www.digiworldweek.com
More than 140 speakers on hand
This year, we are delighted to welcome speakers from the four corners of the globe, come to share their views on the future of mobility:
- Mikael BÄCK, Vice President Global Strategy & Portfolio Management of Ericsson will share some of the chief findings of the “Mobility report”.
- Jean-Michel FOURNIER, CEO & Co-Founder of BitGym, a San Francisco-based start-up and winner of the prestigious Auggie Award at AWE 2014, will talk about the “quantified self” phenomenon.
- Kayvan MIRZA, CEO & Co-Founder of Optinvent will unveil his approach to new generation smart glasses.
- Patrick PELATA, EVP & Chief Automotive Officer of Salesforce.com will speak with Thierry VIADIEU, New Mobility Program Director from Renault, about the future of connected cars.
- Christophe WILLEM, Senior VP of Strategy & Marketing at Thales Alenia Space, will tell us if drones, balloons and mini-satellites offer viable solutions for connecting huge swaths of the population to the Internet.
- Michel COMBES, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent will close the “Road to 5G” session, whose speakers include Selina LO, President & CEO of Ruckus Wireless, and Atsushi TAKESHITA, President & CEO of DOCOMO Communication Laboratories Europe.
- Pierre LOUETTE, Deputy CEO of Orange and Carlos LOPEZ-BLANCO, Global Head Public & Corporate Affairs for Telefonica, will discuss how telco business models will evolve in Europe, against the backdrop of market consolidation.
- Laurent SOLLY, Facebook’s Managing Director France, and Benny ARBEL, Founder & CEO of MyThings, a rising star in retargeting, will discuss the challenges that advertising faces as it makes the transition to mobile.
- Luc JULIA, VP & Innovation Fellow of Samsung and Co-authored Apple Siri's core patents, Erick TINICO, Director of Mobility at AT&T, one of the world’s most advanced telcos and Axel HANSMANN, Gemalto’s VP of M2M Strategy & Marketing, will share their analysis of new business models for M2M and the IoT.
- Fu SHENG, CEO of Cheetah Mobile, a growing mobile Internet powerhouse in China, with 340 million users.
- Abigail KHANNA, Head of Digital and Future Media Business Development at the BBC, Steve McCAFFERY, GM & SVP of sales for Europe Arris, Eric SCHERER, Director of Future Media, France Télévisions, and Valery GERFAUD, General Manager, M6 Web, will explore what the future holds for television, now that mobile devices are becoming users’ screen of choice.
- Guillaume de FONDAUMIERE, Co-CEO of Quantic Dream, Susan O’CONNOR, a writer whose script credits include the games BioShock 1 & 2, Far Cry 2, Tomb Raider and Star Wars 1313, along with Charles CECIL, co-founder of Revolution Software, creator of Broken Sword, are among our video game Oracles.
- Meng LI, Director of China Telecom’s Mobile Business Department Europe, will talk to us about the development outlook for mobile in its various forms in the world’s biggest market.
- Jean-Ludovic SILICANI will talk about his time as Chairman of France’s telecoms and postal regulator, ARCEP, and share his insights into key issues going forward.
- Vincent LE STRADIC, Managing Director of Lazard, will provide a financier’s perspective on the health of Europe’s digital economy. And…
- Axelle LEMAIRE, French Ministry of State for Digital Affairs will deliver the Summit’s closing remarks.
Published in COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES No. 94, 2nd Quarter 2014
Video game business models and monetization
Daniel KAPLAN, Business Developer at Mojang
Conducted by Peter ZACKARIASSON, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
C&S: Minecraft is, by any standard, a very successful game. How much of this success do you ascribe to your business model?
Daniel KAPLAN: I think it played quite a big role since it was discounted for quite a long time. The game was discounted from day one, since it was “released” during very early development. The whole idea was to release it early to see if there was an interest and to see if the project could bear fruit. A lot of people who bought it initially, I think, felt that they had somewhat invested into the project and the ones who were on from the beginning made quite a good deal.
C&S: Do Minecraft exploit any specific previous business model, or has it paved its way with a unique model to generate profit?
D.K.: There are other games that were the inspiration for this model, Mount and Blade from TaleWorlds for instance. They also released their game before it was finished for a discounted price and continued the development with the community.
C&S: Today Minecraft has become a phenomenon that is not only tied to the game itself, but there are many physical product spin-offs. How important is this brand extension for Mojang?
D.K.:We are still a game company but it definitely helps. I think there is a fine line in between how much you can do with a brand before it feels too stretched. We try to create merch/products that we would like to have ourselves, rather than try to fill gaps with our brand with various products. It is sure a fine line and I think a brand can be too exposed and become too stretched.
C&S: Is it possible to become too successful? That is, having produced Minecraft – is it possible to repeat that success? What about the next game of Mojang?
D.K.: I think the problem with becoming too successful is that you will always be compared with your success, regardless of what you produce after that. It is important to not lose focus and continue to deliver things regardless of what they are so you don’t stagnate.
I think that it is almost impossible to create a success like Minecraft again. A lof of the “cred” Mojang got was because it was an up and coming company/person during the initial development of Minecraft, and the whole story around Notch (the founder of Mojang) was a classic David and Goliath story, which we can’t reproduce anymore. We have a whole different starting point now in comparison from where we started.
The next game we are working on, Scrolls, is already profitable and was released in a similar manner to Minecraft. We are super happy about the game being profitable even though it is not close to the success of Minecraft. It is a bit silly to try to compete/compare our projects with Minecraft to be honest.
C&S: What directions do you see the video games industry taking when it comes to generating sustainable business models? Last year Minecraft was one of the two pay per play games in the US top 20 mobile games. Not adopting a free to play business model, is it a conviction or the best way to be different within a serious competitive framework?
D.K.:I don’t know what will happen in the future. You see different trends all the time and you see companies not following the trends and they are successful. I think that the mobile business will continue growing and will continue to have different business models for various types of games or apps. I think it is hard to say that everything will be x or y. Considering the widespread presence of mobile devices, it allows for more niche products too which will let you create products that don’t follow the trends and can still be successful.
Daniel KAPLAN is Mojang's business developer since October 2010. He was born and raised in Skövde, Sweden. He founded ludiosity.com
For more information about our activities: www.comstrat.org
COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES
Discover our issue Video Game business models and monetization on this subject.
Published in COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES No. 94, 2nd Quarter 2014
Video game business models and monetization
Interview with Yves GUILLEMOT Co-Founder and CEO UBISOFT
Conducted by Philippe CHANTEPIE
French Ministry of Culture and Communication;
Associate researcher, Innovation & Regulation Chair, Paris
C&S: We have entered the 8th generation of consoles. Do you consider it likely that this will upset the market positions of publishers and console manufacturers?
Yves Guillemot: This new generation of consoles brings many changes, incorporating all the innovations from parallel markets and multiplying their potential through technological power. These platforms reach an unparalleled high level of performance, immersion and opportunities which allow us to create even more powerful game experiences. Each generation of consoles has large implications for publishers who need to invest heavily to maximize power and be able to seize the great opportunities that arise.
On the other hand, the strong growth in mobile and PC markets, driven by social games, permanently connected and free access, is a challenge for traditional industry players, with new economic and editorial models that differ from more traditional games. These models started being introduced at the end of the previous generation of consoles. New platforms like the Playstation 4 or Xbox One have fully integrated these developments and allow us to put the player at the center - before, during and after the game experience - and to give him/her an increasingly active role in changing content.
C&S: Casual gaming has grown rapidly and has already started occupying a predominant position. Do you think it is likely that this will continue to increase?
Y.G.: Casual gaming is not a new phenomenon. In 2006 the Nintendo Wii had taken a big step towards attracting video games and a new audience, part of which is now plays more traditional games. The rise of social networks, mobile games and online greatly amplified this phenomenon and globalised the supply and the audience to which it is intended. The video game market today encompasses nearly 2.5 billion players, compared to 500 million previously. This is a pool of significant growth for our industry. For example, one of our flagship brands Just Dance is a dance game first released on the Wii, which has sold 49 million copies since 2009. It was particularly popular during the Christmas season.
C&S: We are witnessing significant changes in revenue models. Are these new models mature enough and able to renew the game console segment?
Y.G.: These new models are growing dynamically and also continue to evolve. Some examples or experiences have shown us the difficulty of maintaining high market shares and good consistent results. Without a miracle, renewal is necessary to adapt to a changing marketplace. Ubisoft deploys and uses these models, while consolidating and diversifying a portfolio of original brands for which we control the entire creative and commercial process. Beyond the video game, our goal is to increase the visibility and attractiveness of our franchises by being increasingly present on new media such as television, with the Raving Rabbids TV series, and soon the cinema with the adaptation of franchises like Assassin's Creed or Splinter Cell. The Raving Rabbids Futuroscope theme park attraction, open for several months, is also a success.
C&S: Do you consider that the development of competition in the video game industry will lead to transform the production system of game publishing and how?
Y.G.: In recent years, production of video games has become considerably more professional. Our industry is constantly evolving: our businesses, the technologies we use, as well as the habits and customs of the consumers, such as being permanently connected with their phones. These changes are revolutionizing the way we design our games. We must constantly renew and adapt to propose the most innovative and immersive creative experiences. For example, a game like Watch Dogs allows our players via mobile applications connected to the game console, to play anywhere and anytime; it also allows their friends who do not have game consoles to help them progress in the game. Our mission is to provide our players ever stronger and enriching experiences while finding technical solutions allowing us to reduce our costs and therefore our risk. To remain agile and ready to face these challenges, we actively invest in R & D in France and abroad.
C&S: Which factors do you think are the most disruptive of the game economy factors present or future: free to play, an actor like Steam, etc.?
Y.G.: The free-to-play model was born in Asia to circumvent the problems of piracy of the PC game business model. This model has experienced significant growth in recent years in Western markets. By removing entry barriers, it allows players to experience games and be free to invite their friends and invest if they like the content. This model has now gone beyond the sphere of casual games in which it was previously embedded to move towards more traditional experiences and platforms such as consoles. Ubisoft has been present in this segment for some years with games like Settlers Online, Howrse, and more recently with Trials Frontier, and The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot.
C&S: The Montreal studio set-up seems to be a supporting model of this industry. What elements of this support do you consider are the most strategic to strengthen the ecosystem of this sector?
Y.G.: Canada, but also other territories around the world, has been able to highlight craft, creativity and innovation as a driver of economic development. These territories were able to discern the many benefits that the digital creation industry and jobs with high added value could bring. In addition to the direct incentives, education is also specialized in these areas to form a diverse pool of talents. Two key factors in this success that are important in the eyes of the gaming industry are the unique efforts and the simplicity of public procedures.
Yves Guillemot founded Ubisoft in 1986 with his four brothers, and was named CEO of the company in 1988. Starting off by importing and translating video games from England, Yves and his brothers immediately used the distribution business to fund the creation of games, starting with Zombie in 1990 for Atari ST. Yves has overseen the phenomenal growth of Ubisoft into an internationally renowned and respected creator of quality video games with 29 studios, distribution in 55 countries and with more than 9,200 employees around the globe. For the 2013-2014 fiscal year it generated sales of 1.007 billion euros.
Born in Brittany of France's west coast, Yves grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. All five Guillemot brothers worked summers in the family agriculture supply business. Later, Yves attended business school in Paris, formalizing his education in the creation and sustenance of an enterprise. Yves is married and enjoys playing video games with his three children.
Published in COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES No. 94, 2nd Quarter 2014
For more information about our activities: www.comstrat.org
COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES
Head of Consumer Electronics & Digital Entertainment Practice
By 2016, the segment of the home consoles share will increase to 42.6% of video game market total revenue, or 35 billion EUR.
Many are claiming that this will be the last generation for consoles as cloud computing and network technologies have shown that they could make console hardware obsolete. However, this is not going to happen in the next seven to eight years, which is the typical life cycle of a home console.
We have released our latest report, “Next Gen Consoles”, performed under our on-going monitoring service of the worldwide video games market. This report explores the technical specifications of the latest generation of home consoles, their features and the gaming and non-gaming services they deliver. It focuses on machines produced by Nintendo (Wii U), Sony (PlayStation 4) and Microsoft (Xbox One),recognised as the leading players in this still very lucrative market, and purveyors of the most spectacular gaming experiences.
Figure 1: Video game market worldwide by segment, 2013–2017 (Billion EUR)
Source: IDATE, December 2013
Console manufacturers and their publishing partners have already made the transition to dematerialization. This can be seen with the ability of next-gen consoles to use the cloud for content and data storage services, content streaming, multiplayer and social features and even remote gaming. Console manufacturers will eventually be offering their own cloud gaming offerings. In this context, console manufacturers will exploit second screens. These could be a tablet, smartphone or dedicated platform and could offer synchronous or asynchronous and complementary or substitutable use in terms of game experience.
Several 'social' features have also been added because social networks have proved to be important for the gaming experience and for revenues, as well as for loyalty. Console manufacturers have therefore integrated the ability to share game images and videos on social networks, such as Facebook and YouTube. As well as these new features, console manufacturers have retained and improved their gesture recognition devices and added or improved voice recognition.
The online services available to players generally require a paid subscription. While Sony and Nintendo offer some particularly attractive free services, Microsoft has made its online services paid only.
The catalogue of games available on each console, including exclusive games, is an important issue for hardcore gamers, who set the tone and trends in gaming. At launch, Microsoft was ahead of its competition in terms of volume of games available on physical and downloadable media.
However, according to NeoSeeker1, the trend was reversed in the weeks following launch.
Technical specifications can also distinguish one console from another. Although the Wii U is clearly behind its competitors in terms of graphics and processing power, its game library does not necessarily require high performance hardware. On the other hand, Sony and Microsoft are battling it out over the respective power of their machines, which is an important issue for early adopters.
Since the previous generation of consoles launched in the mid-2000s, there have been many new technological innovations. We have therefore seen many initiatives appear in the home console market segment, especially with regard to home mini-consoles. There are now a dozen challengers, including Valve/Steam, nVidia, Ouya, GameStick, eSfere, Razer Edge, Bluestacks and its Gamepop console, Green Throttle, and Mad Catz and its micro-console M.O.J.O. Few of these will see much success but the Steam console would be IDATE's favourite to take some market share.
While these new challengers are mainly focusing on video games, the three leading console manufacturers are continuing to position their devices as entertainment centers over and above gaming.
Video Game & Digital Entertainment Programme
Our Video Game & Digital Entertainment programme offers a unique watch service that tracks all video market segments, and provides users with data and analysis that draw on our own database, and on our series of reports and insights on the key issues shaping the video game industry:
• The World Video Games market:
database and its analysis report
• Cloud gaming
• Social gaming
• Mobile gaming
• Next Gen Home consoles
More on Video Game Markets:
Round-up for 2014
It’s hard, in the first editorial of the year, to avoid laying out the overriding themes that we expect to see play out over the next twelve months. But it is still too early for me to deliver a complete summary of the year gone by, which has become the much-anticipated task of our DigiWorld Yearbook.
You will also need to wait until the next Executive Note to find out the central topic selected for this year’s DigiWorld Summit (but you can already mark your calendars for November 18, 19 and 20).
What I can share with you, however, is our belief in the profound relevance of certain issues, by summarising three topics that we have chosen to explore in this year’s Collaborative Research Programme (CRP 2014). These are think tanks open to existing IDATE member companies and those wanting to join, who will work for close to a year with a dedicated team of our analysts on the following subjects:
Telecoms USA: model or counter-model?
Following thorough on the two projects carried out in Brussels in 2012 and 2013 on telcos’ new business models, and the new European policy options being considered, we will work to deepen our understanding of the specific points that explain the different directions being taken on either side of the Atlantic.
The internet of things: will everything be connected?
We are going to analyse the true potential of the internet of things, by taking account of the developments that need to occur in the technical environment, difficulties in generating income from both consumer objects and industry applications and, finally, governance and personal data ownership issues, with tie-ins to our 2013 think tank on personal data
What will tomorrow’s TV and video networks look like?
Here we are building on the 2013 Video as a Service think tank by exploring issues surrounding the future of television and video distribution networks, and by analysing long-term scenarios for the delivery of TV and video products, taking particular account of the cooperation and convergence between networks, i.e. hybridisation involving both fixed and cellular networks
Other topics may be added to the CRP. For instance, we are contemplating an ambitious project that aims to define what could be a comprehensive, metropolitan area-scale digital investment strategy, going beyond marketing clichés and segmented vertical approaches.
I can also tell you that the next issue of Communications & Strategies (DigiWorld Economic journal) will be published in March, and is shaping up to be a promising one. It will be devoted to scoring Europe’s telecommunications sector, and examining potentially clashing policies.
And, finally, a reminder that the best way to delve into the subjects that are consuming our teams is though the reports that we publish every month as part of our annual Market Research programme.
Head of Consumer Electronics & Digital Entertainment Practice
After having first been dependent on computing and display power to dazzle gamers, the success of home consoles was next shaped by innovation in consumer electronics and IT. Earlier generation consoles had adopted this prerequisite, and their manufacturers had innovated by outfitting them with a DVD and later a Blu-Ray or HD DVD player, an accelerometer and an inclinometer, gesture recognition capabilities and even, for Nintendo in the mid-90s, with a hard drive.
For this new generation of consoles – which came on the market from late 2012, starting with Nintendo’s Wii U, up to late 2013 with Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One – innovation lies less in the technology than the software. It lies in services for the whole family, from VoD to gaming, by way of web browsing. And it lies in the gaming experience, opening it up to an array of social dimensions.
The cloud as a springboard for innovation
After the first announcements from console makers, aware of how much innovation influences the success of home consoles, but without imagining that innovation could be in a realm other than technological, financial analysts gave a rather tepid welcome to the latest generation of machine. Of course, this meant overlooking the fact that innovations on the service and user side of the equation are now growth drivers in and of themselves, and vital to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s success. Knowing this also helps understand where companies seeking to rival these three titans – e.g. Valve/Steam, nVidia, Ouya, GameStick, eSfere, Razer Edge, Bluestacks and its Gamepop console, Green Throttle, Mad Catz and its MOJO micro-console, etc. – are coming from.
Consoles getting social
Consoles have become social creatures. Console makers are working to satisfy gamer expectations, which have been clearly expressed by the success of social networking sites and of game publishers like Zynga, King, 6Waves, Pretty Simple, EA… Their machines are now equipped with sharing, communication and linking features, which should help consoles capitalise on the viral effect of a game’s sudden huge surge in popularity, just as Facebook and the iTunes and Android app stores already do.
The companion screen, home consoles’ ubiquitous helper
Consoles will help promote the companion screen and ubiquitous gaming. We have already seen companion screen app initiatives in the realm of TV, introduced by broadcasters and ISPs. The video game sector’s manufacturers could easily give birth to a second generation of applications that link the TV with a tablet, smartphone or PC. The companion screen goes hand in hand with the growing ubiquity of content. It is on every gamer’s wishlist and will no doubt be ushered formally into the equation with this new generation of consoles.
Is the hard copy dead?
Next gen consoles have taken one step closer to the web in their clear and decisive positioning on solutions that use the cloud for storage and computing. These include services like remote control, game downloads, interacting with other gamers, rankings, challenges, VoD, etc. But a host of questions remain over console-makers’ and their partners’ desire to do away with hard copies entirely over the next six or seven years. All have no doubt thought long and hard about it. If we are seeing the first signs of it today, it is no doubt with a view to having full command of all-digital gaming by the end of this console generation’s lifespan. In any event, the transition needs to be considered in light of new HD picture formats. An ultra high definition picture will “weigh” four times what an HD picture does, but should benefit from significant progress in compression techniques, beyond the capacities of H265, and so be transmitted with ease over the networks.