The video game market is a volatile one. It’s ever changing and growing by leaps and bounds every day. With the rapid expansion of mobile technology, video game marketers have found a new platform to cater to. Some video game companies get left by the wayside and some flourish. This is true even of Maryland, where Zynga, developer of the popular games FarmVille and Words with Friends, closed its Baltimore offices in March. The industry moves quickly, and given the speed of technological changes, it can be a difficult market to forecast for.
Market-research firm NPD Group estimated U.S. consumers spent $14.8 billion last year on video games, including smartphone games, and says that represents a 9 percent drop from the year before. A separate report from the consulting firm PwC suggested that global sales of console and PC games have fallen in recent years but growth in online and wireless game sales is more than compensating. PwC predicts that console-game sales will partially rebound when the next generation of consoles comes out.
Fifty-eight percent of North American developers are planning their next games for smartphones and tablets, as reported from a survey the Game Developers Conference conducted. The most recent attempt to measure the industry in Maryland was three years ago. A report for the state Department of Business and Economic Development said digital media, including but not limited to games, employed about 32,000 people in Maryland. That’s the closest local glimpse we can get into video games relationship to the state.
Since that measurement was taken, several game studios have folded. Among them was the unfortunately named Impossible Studios in Hunt Valley, which was closed by Epic shortly after a bold iPad game initiative tanked. Shortly after that, Zynga followed suit with its Baltimore office closure. Smaller studios are popping up all over Maryland, with game studios like Twofold Secret and Discord Games making local splashes that will factor into the next survey of the local video gaming market.
Mobile games are the fastest growing arena in the video games industry, especially since are mostly created by teams of 10 or less, and can be funded out-of-pocket for as little as $100. A typical independent mobile game costs up to $20,000 to make; some cost as much as $10 million. The statistics for mobile games are hard to pinpoint exactly, as budgets and projects can fluctuate dramatically. It’s a relatively new sector of the video game sphere, one that will definitely be an interesting one to watch for years to come.
Baltimore is not only the new hot place for the burgeoning video game scene, but is also one of the best cities to conduct market research in. Observation Baltimore is Baltimore’s premier focus group facility, consistently ranked “One of the Top Focus Facilities Worldwide,” by Impulse Survey. Learn more about the research facility Observation Baltimore: call us at 410-332-0400 or click here! If you’d like to participate in one of our focus groups, please sign up at www.observationbaltimore/getpaid.
Not all fun and (video) games, The Baltimore Sun