Video gaming has surged in popularity over the last decade and is no longer seen as the hobby of solitary teenagers; video games are now enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. The main reason for this has been the increased availability of video games and hardware to play them on.
When they were first introduced video games needed freestanding arcade machines to be able to run them, now they fit in the palm of your hand. Smartphones have brought videogames to the masses, with no need to purchase specialised consoles or equipment to play them. Mobile games also have a much cheaper price point, increasing their mass appeal.
A Shift in Focus
In order to take full advantage of this, an entirely new sector grew up within the gaming industry, focused exclusively on mobile and internet gaming. Mobile games appeal to the casual gamer and tend to have different features and play styles than console games. Rather than focusing on open world, story driven games, mobile video games have linear progression, can be easily picked up and put down, and have simpler stories.
Established game developers launched mobile spin-off games, like The Sims Go and Assassin’s Creed Rebellion, to try and appeal to existing fans and expand their franchises. These companion games offer familiar characters, stories, and gameplay in a slimmed down fashion, however they haven’t always been immediately successful.
Because gaming is such big business now, there are always announcements from the gaming companies bringing you the next big update. Whether it’s a new release, updated content, the next generation of console, or a company merger, there’s always something going on to keep gaming fans excited. Here’s the latest news from the world’s biggest gaming companies.
Microsoft’s products range from the hardware side of computers, consoles and mobile phones, to the software, operating systems, and games you can play on them. They recently announced plans to purchase Activision in Santa Monica, an established game developers with a huge back catalogue including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. The decision wasn’t made lightly, with Microsoft forking out $68.7 billion on the takeover.
Despite their Xbox franchise going strong, most of Microsoft’s business actually comes from business contracts and loud computing sales. Activision Blizzard have 390 million active users who they will bring to Microsoft, making the tech giant into one of the most influential voices in the gaming industry. And the Microsoft brand will give Activision Blizzard a huge boost too: the company has been struggling to retain business for a while now, and they haven’t released any games outside of their existing ranges for years.
Another big acquisition was announced in January with game publisher Take-Two announcing their intention to purchase game developer Zynga. This merger could prove to be the fuel which sends both companies into the big leagues as each brings to the table something that the other is missing.
Take-Two in America, has a huge back catalogue of successful console games such as Borderlands, Grand Theft Auto, and NBA 2K. But the company has yet to make a real impression on the mobile gaming market – something that Zynga specialises it. It looks like Take-Two is hoping to use Zynga’s mobile gaming market experience in order to launch mobile versions of some of their most popular games. This would give them immediate access to millions of gamers without access to computers and consoles.
It will also bring strong competition to the already fierce mobile gaming market. Other companies like EA, Activision Blizzard, and even online casinos like 888poker in Canada, will find that some of their customers move across to Take-Two once they start bringing out new releases.
One new release which is hotly anticipated by gamers is the PS4/5 exclusive Horizon Forbidden West. Sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn, the game features the same protagonist, Aloy, and sends her to the western frontier of a post-apocalyptic United States. Horizon Forbidden West keeps the well-loved features from the first game, with side quests, explorable maps, and plenty of opportunities for character development, and expands upon these to create a game that is truly worth of the franchise.
Gamers have had to wait five years to revisit Aloy’s world, and the wait has definitely been worth it. Early reviews are good, with IGN in California scoring Horizon Forbidden West a 9/10 and Metacritic giving the game a solid 89%. Even those who haven’t played the first title will be able to enjoy this epic open-world adventure, full of exciting combat, emotional storylines, and beautiful graphics.
It’s an exciting time to be a gamer, whether you consider yourself a casual player or more of a hardcore follower. The market is moving towards consolidation, with companies joining together and becoming gaming superpowers. This means that that dominance of Sony and Microsoft is coming to an end and allowing other developers to compete at the top level.
This fierce competition is great for the consumers, as they can look forward to a steady stream of new games and consoles, as well as seeing old favourites ported to new platforms. This year has already seen two big name acquisitions to get excited about, and we can’t wait to see what their collaborations produce.