In general, we like to think we know how much something is worth. The decision is based less on logic and more on emotion, an intangible gut feeling. When it comes to video games we know when a game is under, or in most cases, over-priced. Unfortunately, that aptness in designating price to value is disrupted by inflation.
These are troubling times. The UK economy is on the brink of a recession. We have an energy crisis and stubbornly high inflation of 9% (with forecast of peak 11%), which the Bank of England is trying to cool with higher interest rates. This, along with geopolitical uncertainty, is helping to slow the economy. According to the Office of National Statistics, the UK’s statistical agency, GDP fell by 0.3% in April 2022, after a decline of 0.1% in March 2022. Two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP signifies a recession. We may already be there as GDP is a backward-looking indicator.
Sony’s PlayStation business strategy is changing. During the PS4 generation, Sony’s strategy was to double down on releasing quality first-party narrative games and offering its customers access to catalogue games with its PlayStation Now service. Although PS Now had PC access via a streaming solution and games controlled with a PS4 controller, the addition of a PC solution was not ideal. Apart from the fact keyboard and mouse was not supported, the quality of the streaming was sub-par even with a strong 30Mbs broadband download speed.
Stock markets are volatile. At best they reflect the health of a company and the overall direction of the economy, at worst they are hostages to human emotions and anxieties. There is no denying that a lot of decisions corporations make are to protect or boost their share price. Video game publishers which have gone public are no exception. Although it can be argued these companies produce “art”, they are fundamentally a business working in the entertainment sector and for many their goal is to maximise profit to ensure longevity. The purpose of this snapshot analysis is to gauge how resilient investors see video game companies given the turbulence of the pandemic, higher costs of living, and now a major war in Europe.
Games are getting bigger in size, and not only the size of the game worlds. The actual size of a game install is getting unwieldy for a physical disc, even for UHD discs that can pack 100GB of data. In the last several years there have been numerous articles in the game press on the huge install size of modern games. PC Gamer ran an article that Call of Duty Warzone maps are running into 80GB. Optimizations and compressions can help with lazy and bloated coding, but they only go so far. Modern Warfare season 6 was so big, coming in at 375GB of data with a base install size and a patch, that it could not even fit on an Xbox Series S console and took up half the space of a PS5. For a Call of Duty gamer who owns Xbox Series S, it no longer became a question of what to uninstall to make room for Modern Warfare, it became an issue of which external hard drive to buy.
The acquisition of Weta Digital, the special effects company co-founded by Peter Jackson by a video game engine company, Unity, should not be a surprise given what video games and mainstream Hollywood films and TV shows want to achieve. Their end goals follow a similar path, that is to tell compelling stories and to immerse the audience into another universe or another life. Many films today rely on computer generated visual effects, either to save money or to film what looks like the impossible, something that modern video games have achieved for some time now.
Cloud gaming is being sold as the next stage of video game innovation, but consumers will have the last word
The Xbox Series S gets filled up pretty quickly. Pondering which game to delete in order to make space for a new one isn't a nice problem to have. Even on a relatively fast wireless broadband connection a typical game on Game Pass can take over an hour to download.
However, a cloud option on numerous games is becoming the norm on the Ultimate tier. Not only does this overcome the storage issue, but it is also a great option to try games like the demos of days gone by.
Game Pass Ultimate currently classifies its cloud service as "beta". Until the service is more polished with faster Internet speeds and stronger connection stability, multiplayer and Esports won't be the default experience on the cloud any time soon. So, although it seems the broad trend is towards cloud gaming there are numerous barriers that need to be addressed first.
Let's explore some of these issues.
Running a metaverse takes continuous corporation engagement, investment, and control.
Metaverse this and metaverse that. NFT this and NFT that. Towards the end of 2021 these were the two buzzwords that had the video game market all-a spin. They are words that capture a possible future where video game worlds are interconnected, from which gamers could transition “investment of time” into money by engaging in the metaverse and selling content.
Today streaming is crucial for game discovery, understanding gamers and how that can translate into sales
Forecasts are never easy; this is because most of the time near-future forecasts are specifically wrong but generally right. One place to start is to look back in the previous year and extrapolate what could happen in the forthcoming year. 2021 was not short of ground-breaking news for the video game industry, below is a summary of the biggest news items.