Gaming: The Force Awakens?

Posted by Karen on Dec 10, 2015 12:00:00 AM
According to the Global Games Market report, the global gaming industry will be worth $91.5bn by the end of 2015 (a growth of 9%). Gaming isn’t just something that teenage boys do anymore. In fact, Pew Research found that 42% of American games console owners are women - as opposed to 37% of men (the rest didn’t specify a gender). It also found that 55% of US adults between 30 and 49 owned a console, 30% of 50-64 years olds and 8% of those aged 65 and over. Fifty-six per cent of 18 to 29 year-olds also owned their own consoles. Games have become more social experiences, while gamers of old needed to arrange LAN parties to play games with their nearest and dearest, these days game publishers provide hordes of servers dedicated to online gaming. People have been able to play massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) for years now, but the form is becoming more popular, with many games having, at least, some element of a multiplayer experience.

Always online

There have been protests at publishers insisting that players have to be “always online” to play the game they’ve paid for. When Electronic Arts launched Sim City in 2013, it encountered significant issues with its servers. You see, the game had been designed to be online only. It was the first release of the hugely popular gaming franchise in 10 years, and everyone wanted to play at the same time – the servers, however, couldn’t handle the traffic. So no one could play the game. The game had been designed to require online access to help combat piracy, but that didn’t matter to those who had paid to play it. Never mind those who lacked a decent enough internet connection to always be online. The designers quickly set about creating an offline mode.

EA didn’t make the same mistake with its recent launch of Star Wars: Battlefront. You do need an internet connection to play it, but you can play elements of the game offline. In the three weeks since its release, 29.8 million minutes have been played as Boba Fett alone. With the new Star Wars movie being released on 17th December, the game is likely to become even more popular, especially with Christmas around the corner. It’s a shame for those who lack the high-speed broadband connection required to enjoy these games, and what’s clear is that gaming has the potential to contribute even more to the economy (for example, the UK Government has recently invested £4m in small gaming firms). Connectivity will be key in helping the industry develop in the future.
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