With revenue projected to hit $300bn by the end of 2022, gaming is currently the fastest growing sector of the entertainment industry. Naysayers who disparaged the potential for profits outside triple-A studio games have been trounced by an explosion of dividends from indies, mods, streaming, and esports.
Once, studios decided what to produce, build, and ship. Now, gamers are empowered by an ever-expanding range of gaming experiences, and emboldened by increasingly accessible technologies. They have made their demands very clear:
- New types of experiences powered by emerging technology
- Games built not just as pre-determined stories, but storytelling engines that enable gamers to generate new stories within the world of the game
- Experimentation with innovative economic models that benefit gamers as well as developers
- Games launched through early access, leveraging the community to help develop, refine, and evangelize the game
In spite of this, game studios have alienated loyal fanbases in their haste to jump on hot, new technologies without careful forethought into the player and developer experience. This trend can be observed in the rush to esports, and the integration of NFTs that lack utility. Rather than successfully broadening their base, studios have created confusion and division, leaving money on the table.
In response, gamers are asserting their independence by harnessing open source technologies, improved internet access, and widespread coding literacy to build their own playgrounds. But there is room for everyone—Games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Sea of Thieves win by opening up features that allow players to create their own content. Yet, even these games don’t allow true ownership of digital assets. The big question is: How would the gaming & entertainment landscape change if players could own the assets they earn, build, and improve?
This five-part series from The Lydion Magazine is a deep-dive into the shifting landscape of the gaming industry. The Core Edition, The World is a Playground, shares stories from the borderlands of gaming’s manifest destiny.
Jonathan Bankard - Co-founder of Popularium
Jennifer Yi - Co-founder of Popularium
Arka Ray - Managing Director of The Data Economics Company and co-founder of Popularium
Lucy Gillespie - Managing Editor, The Lydion Magazine
Jennifer Hinkel - Editor-in-Chief of The Lydion Magazine, and Managing Director of The Data Economics Company