Over the past two decades, the gaming industry has seen a significant rise in popularity to the point where it has now become a $184 billion industry. Gaming is a pop culture institution, with video games and gamification influencing everything from entertainment to the corporate world.
The growth of gaming has also not gone unnoticed by mainstream entertainment companies, with movie studios keen to capitalise on gaming IP like Warcraft, Pokémon, and Super Mario Bros. However, it’s no longer just the big-name Hollywood studios who are interested in gaming; the industry recently caught the attention of content streaming platforms. Below, we’ll explore what makes the gaming industry so appealing to media production companies like Netflix and discuss why gaming is the new cinema.
Major moves in the gaming industry
Gaming has been on the rise since the 1980s when home consoles brought colourful characters and this unique form of escapism to consumer attention. However, it’s truly come into its own with the rise of the internet, which in turn created brand new gaming markets and opportunities for expansion.
It’s thanks to the internet that traditional gaming activities like board games and blackjack have experienced a new lease of life in the digital realm. Today, consumers are more likely to utilise platforms like PokerStars Casino to access casino games than they are to travel to a brick-and-mortar gaming venue. Meanwhile, mobile gaming has introduced a new generation of players to classics like Monopoly.
Being such a lucrative industry, it’s no wonder that media and entertainment powerhouses want to be part of it. In recent years, Netflix has made a move into the gaming realm, creating its own in-house gaming studio and mobile gaming platform.
Mobile gamers can now access over 40 games, including a number of exclusives from leading development company Ubisoft, via their Netflix subscription as the streaming giant goes into battle against established gaming brands.
But Netflix isn’t the only mainstream brand keen to add games to its portfolio. Blumhouse, the production company behind The Purge, has recently announced plans to enter the field too.
During a February interview with Bloomberg, Blumhouse president Abhijay Prakash stated that the gaming “space is hundreds of billions of dollars; we’re in a great position to try and access it”. The production company plans to develop a series of immersive horror games that will be compatible with the mobile, PC and console platforms.
Is gaming Is the new cinema?
For several years now, the act of playing games has been more popular with global consumers than going to the movies, but why is gaming the new cinema from the perspective of production companies?
Firstly, the gaming industry has a massive and still-growing audience, which currently stands at over 3 billion gamers worldwide. The gaming audience is known for being incredibly diverse, as it includes players of all ages, genders and economic backgrounds — in effect, gold dust for media production companies. Furthermore, gaming audiences are highly engaged and continuously hungry for bigger, better and more engaging gaming experiences.
It’s also worth mentioning that the synergy between gaming and media is stronger than ever. Today, most gamers are fans of movies and TV shows and vice versa. Netflix is currently investing in gaming-related content to cater to its existing audience, hence the release of games based on existing content like Stranger Things. Meanwhile, as we’ve seen in the 2021 series Arcane, it’s also branching out into producing content based on popular gaming franchises.
Finally, the fact that the gaming industry is constantly evolving makes it an incredibly relevant and lucrative market for media conglomerates. In an ever-growing digital world, staying ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and technology is of paramount importance.
Take the virtual reality gaming sector. Presently, the market has yet to be fully realised, and no gaming or entertainment company has been able to create a monopoly. This means it’s ripe for disruption, so it’s no wonder that the likes of Netflix are engaged in research and development to create gaming content for emerging tech.