In the last decade, we’ve seen the launch of new gaming software, the introduction of live-streaming platforms, and gaming subscriptions like Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass. Gamers can now establish a professional gaming career for themselves, and casino games are now accessible via mobile devices.

Here are some of the significant changes we’ve seen in the gaming industry over the last ten years.

Mobile Gaming

While mobile games have existed since the early Nokia phones, they took off in 2002 with the broad availability of Wi-Fi, and the debut of the iOS App Store.

And then, the in-app purchase feature released by Apple in 2009 became the defining moment in the last decade for mobile games. Since then, the popularity of mobile games has skyrocketed. This year, Niantic Inc.’s location-based augmented reality mobile game, Pokemon Go, surpassed $3 billion in lifetime revenue. 

In its first four months on the App Store and Google Play, Tencent Games’ multiplayer PUBG Mobile surpassed 100 million downloads. With 129.3 million downloads in the first 30 days of availability, Mario Kart Tour became Nintendo’s most successful first-month mobile launch, generating over $37.4 million in player expenditure, since September. And then, Call of Duty Mobile surpassed this with 148 million downloads in its first month, making it the second-most-successful mobile launch of all time.

These are just a handful of the titles and figures behind the market’s steady increase of late, which peaked at $69.7 million in the United States on Black Friday last month, with the App store accounting for the vast majority of revenue.

Mobile games now account for 59 percent of the whole digital gaming market. Zynga, a video gaming firm, set a new revenue record in October, with $328 million in revenue from its mobile games division, accounting for 95 percent of its overall revenue. However, it’s not only video games and the gaming industry that have boomed, but also the casino industry and games like Slingo.  

 The Biggest Changes in the Gaming Industry in the Last Decade

Gaming Subscriptions

Xbox Game Pass, Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, Playstation Now, Twitch Prime, and EA Access are just a few gaming subscriptions now available, with the number of alternatives increasing dramatically in recent years.

The concept of a ‘Netflix for gaming’ model has arrived, with a roster of games spanning all genres, styles and aesthetics on each subscription platform.

Rise of Esports

Gone are the days when ‘esports’ was only understood by those who worked in the industry. The presence of prominent players like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins left Twitch for Microsoft’s Mixer platform, and 16-year-old Fortnite megastar Kyle Giersdorf made worldwide headlines when he won $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup tournament in July. This is having a huge influence over the competition’s visibility.

Top gamers can now earn up to $15,000 per hour by streaming games to their followers on networks like Twitch. As a result, signing streamers has become increasingly competitive in recent months.

Narrative Games

If we didn’t mention narrative games’ leaps and bounds somewhere in this list, something would be wrong.

While story-based games have been around for 30 years, the last ten have seen a rise in popularity, from Annapurna Interactive’s exploration of life, death and family secrets in What Remains of Edith Finch, to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Story-driven games have earned their place in the video game industry, providing an alternative — and often more confident — experience to the many playful shoot-em-ups and death-defying first-person shooter titles that dominate the industry.

 The Biggest Changes in the Gaming Industry in the Last Decade

Launch of Nintendo Switch

Since the first unveiling of The Switch console in 2017, the game has changed. Sales have remained high due to its capacity to function as a portable handheld device and a permanent home gaming console.

The Switch has sold over 40 million consoles worldwide and over 17.5 million units in the Americas since its launch. The Switch Lite, a cheaper, lighter version of the system entirely dedicated to handheld gaming, used by the bulk of players, was released by the Japanese gaming business in July of 2019.

The Introduction of Actors

Keanu Reeves, best known for his performance in John Wick, will play an outlaw in CD Projekt Red’s upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. And Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead starred in Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding, which received eight Game Awards nominations.

The Game Awards

The Game Awards, founded by video game journalist Geoff Keighley in 2014 as a reinvented version of the Spike Video Game Awards, has grown to an audience of 45 million live streams this year.

The awards are held at the Microsoft Theater and are accompanied by live musical performances, multiple new game announcements, and the red carpet treatment for celebrities, video game veterans and esports professionals. The awards acknowledge the best content creator of the year, esports game, event, player, team, coach and host, in addition to the finest in video games.

The last decade has seen significant advances in technology and software when playing some of our favorite games. The classics are now available at a higher quality, but with the same value for entertainment. Bring on the next decade! 

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