The gaming industry is huge. In 2019, gamers spent $152.1 billion on buying titles and paying for in-game items. This figure was almost 10% higher than in 2018, showing that the industry doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down any time soon. It’s a trend that African developers are also benefiting from.
While there have been few losers in the video games market in recent years, there have been some huge winners that have raked in huge sums from their gaming products. Here’s a look at some of these brands and why they’ve been so successful.
Few game developers can publish titles that remain in the top 10 best selling list seven years after they first hit shelves. Rockstar Games can though, and it’s exactly what they managed to achieve with Grand Theft Auto V.
Rockstar, which started out as DMA Design in the 1980s, saw its first success by publishing the popular game Lemmings. Throughout these early years, the company built up a reputation for taking risks in its development, instead of chasing easy money from proven and repetitive titles. This risk-taking led to the development of Grand Theft Auto.
GTA was a hit on the PlayStation, but it wouldn’t become the huge success it is today until Grand Theft Auto III for PlayStation 2, which was released in October 2001. After a string of other titles, the GTA series has become the most successful in the world.
This comes from a combination of different factors. The first is that the open-world structure lets players enjoy the game in the way that they want, rather than being forced down a particular path. This was particularly novel at the time of earlier GTA releases. The games also execute each element (the story, the driving, the shooting, the mini-games, and the freedom) exceptionally.
Rockstar has since carried these elements over to games like Red Dead Redemption, making them fan favourites too.
PokerStars is one of the biggest online poker brands in the world. Having been founded in 2001, the company has refined its product offering over the last two decades to include a wide selection of real money games and online tournaments. It also sponsors some of the world’s most prestigious live poker competitions, such as the European Poker Tour, which holds events in cities like Barcelona, Prague and Monte Carlo.
In addition to its real money games, PokerStars also offers free-to-play versions where players can compete in online tournaments like the Sunday Billion. The company also has a virtual reality poker game, which is available to download through Steam. In it, players can immerse themselves in a 360-degree environment that creates the most realistic digital poker experience available.
PokerStars’ success lies in its commitment to innovation and willingness to invest heavily in its marketing.
Tencent is a comparatively newer name in the industry compared to some others on this list. The company was founded in 1998 and has since grown to become a multinational conglomerate, with divisions that deal in social media, music, e-commerce, and payment services.
The company’s gaming arm, Tencent Games was founded in 2003, with a focus on mobile and browser-based games that have a wider appeal. It initially placed most of its focus on the domestic Chinese market but has since expanded internationally.
Recent titles include Call of Duty: Mobile, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Ring of Elysium. With the exception of the Ring of Elysium, Tencent only owns a partial stake in these games, which has been how it’s been able to associate its name with so many of the biggest titles of recent years.
Tencent makes the majority of its money from in-game purchases and has helped to drive the free-to-play model further. This has driven the company’s net profits to more than $4 billion per quarter.
There doesn’t seem to be any sign of it slowing down either. Tencent Games has been developing its own games console and operates its own platform, WeGame, a rival to established services like Steam. With deep pockets and a desire to innovate, there appear to be no limits to what Tencent can achieve.