E3 is back, and though virtual, hopes to pack enough pizazz to invigorate the industry and sustain record gaming audiences. Last year’s surge in gaming saw increased engagement times across digital, as well as introduced bastions of noobs to gaming life. But as many inevitably get back into old routines like school and office work, expect to see rapid developments across consoles, games, and categories in an effort to sustain current user engagement levels. As game publishers work to leverage momentum, let’s take a look at current trends in gaming audiences within each category.
Console gaming audiences
COVID propelled video game sales and intensified new console releases, with shortages and limited supplies an ongoing occurrence. Microsoft now touts a 232% gaming growth, the PS5 is the fastest selling console in history, and Nintendo’s Switch is still on top. With Sony skipping on E3, much attention will be on Nintendo and Microsoft, with a rumored Switch revision potentially making an appearance at the show before eventually printing money. Microsoft has been putting huge efforts into gaming, notably its recent $7.5B Zenimax acquisition, creating some serious competition for Sony in securing certain exclusivities. We should see sustained engagements across platforms with its cloud gaming services providing coverage across consoles and PCs, as well as upcoming AAA titles like Halo Infinite released across the Microsoft ecosystem.
More mobile gamers
With a user base of billions, coupled with phone technology continuously advancing graphical capabilities, it’s no wonder publishers will be focusing more within the mobile realm in 2021. Mobile veteran Zynga enjoyed record activity and profits in 2020, reaching 164 million monthly active users. Meanwhile, PC titan Activision Blizzard plans to release a mobile version of every one of its hit franchises, such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, citing continuously growing profits from their mobile game output. As more high-profile developers take mobile more seriously, we’ll see mobile gaming further legitimized through more robust game experiences and ultimately more player time spent on devices, even after offices and schools reopen.
PC gaming evolves
Microsoft is intensifying its focus on PC gaming with competitive acquisitions and cloud gaming coverage across devices. The tech giant is also aggressively taking on gaming marketplaces Steam and Epic, now offering a sweeter deal for developers who choose to publish through their store. The move makes sense, as Steam’s impressive engagement stats last year underscore the high value of PC gamers. With Steam also reporting a 30% increase in VR play time last year, expect the virtual realm to continue blooming, enticing new users as technology evolves. Similar to the mobile realm, we’re watching the tech rapidly evolving UX to reap the benefits of greater accessibility.
The world is reopening, and we’re expecting everyone to impress at this year’s virtual E3. Game publishers are showing how seriously they’re investing in the field, and how important sustaining 2020’s momentum will be. For now, it’s a gamers’ world, and if you happen to be interested in reaching them, be sure to reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.