Earlier in 2020, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, head of gaming, announced that Sony and Nintendo were no longer considered key rivals for the Xbox. Instead, Spencer suggested that Amazon and Google were their competitors for the future of gaming and said that Nintendo and Sony were “somewhat out of position.” The cloud-computing nature of Amazon and Google (who launched Stadia in 2019) means that they represent, at least to Microsoft, their future rivals. But how can traditional games developers remain competitive in a highly competitive market?
Customer Sales Incentives
One of the primary ways in which games developers can continue to remain relevant and offer a competitive edge is through sales incentives, such as special offers, deals, and competitively priced products. Taking inspiration from elsewhere in entertainment, such as at an online casino site, there are many ways in which customers are incentivised to choose one operator over another. This could influence other aspects of gaming.
For example, the casino bonus list shows how each site puts forward their unique welcome offer to attract customers – from free spins on online slots to cashback. These offers help new customers decide which site to go with, especially when the offers relate to specific titles, such as free spins on popular game Gonzo’s Quest, which may solidify a customer’s decision.
Video gaming could therefore further appeal to the price point of the consumer. Indeed, Google Stadia is a subscription service for $10 per month and Sony hinted – and then quashed – the idea that they would offer something similar with the PS5. Contrast this with the new price of some console games – upwards of £50, it could be a factor in their lack of competitivity in the future.
The gaming industry exists through the hype created around the games and the consoles or methods of playing them. Games are successful when they develop fan excitement and games operators are successful when they offer something their loyal fans deem better than their rivals’. Hype by fans themselves acts better than advertising and is considered more trustworthy.
The virtues of the games are told by influential people in the gaming sphere, who help act as unofficial brand ambassadors to showcase why the games are doing so well. It could be argued that cloud-computing style gaming or major subscription services won’t generate as much focused hype, but could see PR disseminated across a multitude of titles instead.
Hype for games doesn’t just work for their release, but long after they have been on the market. The latest multiplayer online game, Among Us, wasn’t just eagerly awaited but held fans afterwards. This was down to the ease of playing, the interactivity with memes on social media, and by creating a buzz led by players themselves.
Similarly, the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield was covered extensively across social media by those who enjoyed the game, securing Nintendo real word of mouth hype. Traditional methods of gaming, therefore, must remain relevant and constantly produce something that naturally gets fans talking.
Gaming has grown even more competitive and the advent of cloud-computing in gaming could abruptly change the shape of the industry in the years to come. To stay relevant, Nintendo and Sony must appeal to players as an alternative to the new software players may be seeing offered. This will be through creating hype for fans and being prepared to make a deal with customers to gain their business.