The multi-billion dollar video game industry has been a leader in the adoption of exciting technologies. While the amazing visuals and entertaining play are the hallmarks of the industry, video games, and their developers are influencing several technology trends as well as cutting new paths in the use immersive computing.
Just like any mature industry, video games and the console providers endure uncertainty in the sales and adoption of their products. While the business of getting a game into the hands of a player has evolved, so have the demands on IT organizations at Gaming companies. A more mature internal practice has emerged as well as deeper reliance on service providers in order to deliver on the consumer demands.
Gamers can’t be sure where the next great adventure will come from, developers are suffering from skyrocketing costs of game creation, an increase of 500% to 700%; sometimes even more, and publishers find themselves buried under complex distribution and ecommerce revenue models but there is a technology trend which helping navigate these challenges: SMAC – or Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud is more often providing technology stacks to address gaming needs.
Social platforms have become an invaluable marketing tool as well as a feedback mechanism for game development. Games have quickly adapted in shifting from physical sales to online through various ecommerce models, but social platforms are just now being leveraged to understand the success and failures of games.
Akin to the film industry, Games and game play are moving seamlessly between platforms including mobile. At a much lower cost, game developers release mobile versions of their games on a Free-to-Play model in order to test the waters for a concept. Most new game concepts often come from independent upstarts, but the largest companies are investing heavily in Analytics platforms in order to close the monetization gap. Triple A Game telemetry data exceed terabytes a day from online play. Data Science teams are looking to data mining tools and cloud analytics to provide the necessary platforms to find the revenue opportunity in existing games, but how game play can influence future ideas.
It’s hard to predict whether a new game will be a ‘stud’ or a ‘dud’. Developers and online platforms like Xbox Live bear risk with each release as the implications for committed infrastructure are huge. Millions in hardware and service provider fees can be incurred in preparation for online seamless play. However if the game flops, that cost can hurt both the developers and service providers. Portability of games across cloud infrastructure can insulate developers from this risk, but it comes at a cost. SMAC stacks won’t provide an investment roadmap for all gaming companies, but it can serve as a guidepost for those in the industry to understand where gaming is going and how trends will fit together.
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