Up until recently, gaming was a closed shop. Just a handful of developers and brands monopolised the market – and consumers were broadly content with the most popular games produced. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog, FIFA and Grand Theft Auto. However, all that changed in the late noughties. Gaming became possible on smartphones, ushering in a new industry of mobile gaming overnight. Gaming apps transformed the industry and opened it up to a whole new market.
Just two years ago Fortnite emerged on the scene and brought freemium console games to the fore, further revolutionising the industry. Now the market is thriving, with more companies vying to outdo each other and grab a greater share of the market. Mobile gaming now accounts for half of the global games market, bringing in more players than all other types of gaming – including on consoles and PCs – combined.
But just what exactly are gaming companies doing to attract new customers and secure the next generation of gamers? Read on to find out the latest trends used by gaming giants in their battle for customer acquisition.
1. No Deposit Offers
In the past 15 years gambling has gone from strength to strength. That’s partly thanks to innovations in digital technology, which makes its games more engaging and accessible than ever before.
In recent years, online gambling has invested heavily in games development, often poaching some of the best names from the world of video games to develop their software. Now it’s estimated to be worth around $90 billion by 2024.
Given the huge size of this growing industry, the competition between casino brands is fierce. In a bid to reach out to more customers, operators have various bonuses and comps on offer. No deposit bonuses are among the most appealing kind – as it’s a no-strings attached bonus that gives customers a free amount of cash to bet with.
Every major online gambling company now offer new customers tempting free offers like this
The gambling industry has always offered bonuses to players – however, they used to come with a series of caveats that would require the player to wager more than the sum of the bonus in question. The difference today is that the best online casinos offer an amazing no deposit bonus with no wager required.
Check it out and you’ll soon understand that, with these types of offers available, it’s no surprise that so many players have made the leap from land-based casinos to online ones.
2. Freemium games
Steve Jobs and Apple reinvented the wheel when they released the first ever iPhone in 2007. Since then hundreds of thousands of games developers have turned their hands to mobile app development – and the sector has quickly gathered pace.
Games like Candy Crush – best categorised as social ‘freemium’ games – have opened up gaming to a brand new market. More women and more elderly people than ever are now playing games and this down in large part to these type of games.
If you’re unaware of how freemium games operate, they are basically games that are free to download and play at a basic level. In order to access more content or augment their gaming experience, players are urged to make in-game purchases.
For games such as Candy Crush these purchases can be as simple as extra moves or access to a new level. If players don’t want to pay for access to these bonuses they are then urged to refer friends in order to get premium content.
It’s a fantastic way to organically market to new customers whilst maintaining regular income streams once the game is already being enjoyed. In 2017, freemium games made their way into the news again with the popularity of Fortnite.
Fortnite makes money from in-game purchases such as these victory dances, which are purchased by thousands of players every day
The cartoon style shoot ‘em up console game officially became the world’s most popular title in 2018, netting a rumoured $3 billion in profits. Over 125 million were playing Fortnite across the world just one month after its release in early 2017.
The commercial success of Fortnite has inspired a new wave of freemium console games to flood the market. At time of writing it is hard to predict whether or not these type of games will become the norm in the coming years, but the early signs show that freemium console games are indeed here to stay.
3. Streaming services
If you’re of a certain age you will remember the video rental chain Blockbusters that dominated the high street in the 1990s. Back then Blockbusters stores represented a world of variety and possibility for avid film fans.
Now the chain is a relic of the past, and has been replaced by the mother of all streaming sites, Netflix. Hundreds of millions of people around the world subscribe to Netflix and watch their favourite shows and films from the comfort of their own homes.
Gaming is now going firmly in that direction with the imminent launch of Google Stadia and Apple Arcade, two revolutionary game streaming technologies. The former is due for release towards the end of 2019 and promises to offer gamers access to triple A gaming titles from any Google enabled device.
Google Stadia could eradicate the market dominance of existing consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox
The latter from Apple will work on a similar premise, but will only offer customers a limited selection of games already available on the App Store. Industry experts are predicting that these two platforms will irrevocably change the gaming world.
There will no longer be a need to spend a significant sum on a specific gaming title, and certain gaming consoles may fall in popularity and use. While everyone was busying themselves in excitement at the prospect of virtual reality, Google and Apple were beavering away with the biggest change in gaming of the past 50 years.
Time will tell what steps today’s gaming giants will take to win and retain new customers. But one thing’s for sure – the leaders of the pack aren’t able to rest on their laurels with quite as much confidence as the gaming heavyweights of old.