With the financial climate, unemployment rates stalling, and possible tax hikes right around the corner, how can the video game industry thrive, or better yet, survive? Let's have a look.
Traditionally, game companies have made their money off of retail copies of games. You go to a retailer, purchase the product, and it is yours to keep. But this is a trend that has reversed over the last 2 years. Look at IOS, the Android Market, or the Microsoft Market and you will clearly see that digital download is the future. No business model is profitable if your ops costs outrun your profits. In this market, digital is key to success. Console games regularly have downloadable content (DLC) in addition to the core game, which extends the game's life (and company's profits, whether gamers and some developers agree with this practice or not). Gaming apps always give options to "cheat" and spend real money to get through the game quicker. All of this DLC adds up to a better bottom line. No gaming company now can turn a blind eye to DLC as the future.
So then, will the gaming industry just survive on this business model, or will it thrive? Well, that's up to the gamers. They have to be able to trust the company as much as they trust the product. Games aren't just bought, they're researched, they're talked about, and they're rated. In a tight economy not every gamer is going to be able to play every game (or DLC add-on) that they want. Loyalty to a brand is more important than ever, regardless of the marque of the brand. The next year will drive major change in the marketplace. We're at a cusp, and the gamers should feel the love of what's to come. So, until then, game on gamers!