The video game industry is still growing strongly.

"Tomorrow, all gamers?" The opportunity to take stock of the video game industry today, worldwide. This was the theme of the meeting-debate recently organized in Paris by the G9+ Institute, a platform for studies and exchanges on digital technology.

The numbers speak for themselves. "The worldwide turnover of video games is estimated at 130 billion dollars" and "the supply of games, which is growing exponentially, is now plethoric: more than 1,000 games and applications are released every day", explained Julien Villedieu, director-general of the National Video Game Syndicate, which represents French companies and companies established in France (250 members), and has a strong foothold in the regions, around nine clusters of companies spread over the territory. . In this global market, "France has a leading industry," with no less than "7,000 video game developers, and a 20% growth in our workforce: we are recruiting a lot".

Design, production, distribution: trends

In this industry, "everything is moving very quickly, both in terms of production and distribution and the way games are designed, "he continued: "what we are doing today has nothing to do with what we were doing five years ago." Distribution methods have thus radically changed in just a few years. "Today, 100% of games are available for download, and 80% of purchases are made online ", which is why "almost all publishers have their online store. " Physical distribution (in-store), which now represents only 20% of purchases, "remains an interesting source of income for publishers" and "allows lending and resale" for buyers.

Other fundamental trends are emerging in this market: the practice of occasional gaming on mobile phones (smartphones, tablets) – thanks to the insertion of advertisements in games, "many plays for free on mobile, a few minutes on public transport, in the waiting rooms…" –, the development of "game as a service" – the games are regularly updated, and their content is enriched after their publication, to retain players as long as possible – and the arrival of streaming games – via a subscription to a platform that offers games on-demand ( cloud gaming ), like video on demand. Recently, this very last formula is "a real underlying trend, there is a lot of excitement around it today. "

Gamers and communities at the heart of market dynamics.

On the side of consumer-players (gamers)," the key to success in the world of video games is communities, "underlined Odile Limpach, professor of economics and entrepreneurship. The link with players has become central as the distance between game designers and players has reduced: everything revolves around the gaming experience. This is why the level of sales at launch has less and less importance: the success of a game is closely linked to its appropriation by the communities of gamers. The proximity between designers and players is also reflected in the development of crowdfunding (crowdfunding) to finance the creation of games.

Another current trend: "more and more people are watching others playing" when the latter are filming themselves or during video game competitions. Or, the success of the organizational meetings – physical – between gamers, who sometimes have already met online, during events dedicated to these communities: "this attracts more and more people."

Tomorrow, all gamers?

Beyond the effects of fashion or generation, video games are investing the lives of a growing number of people. There are thus "more than 70 million players around the world, including more and more female players ", pointed out the director-general of the union. Above all, we observe a clear sociological evolution of the population of gamers: "one in two French people play video games," "the average age of gamers is around 40 years old," and "women now represent 50% of gamers" in France. And to emphasize that, "far from the clich├ęs that stick to his skin" (a practice of associable geeks locked in their room), "it's a social practice: we play together, with friends, with family…".

And what will the video game industry look like tomorrow? "The market will probably be Asian, "the game will be mobile, on smartphones and tablets, this already represents 45% of the world market ", "there will always be more artificial intelligence in games and perhaps more virtual reality, "and "e-sports may be a discipline of the Olympic Games."

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