For several years, the gaming industry has seen a tremendous degree of growth. Companies like Tencent, Microsoft and Sony have done quite well providing gamers with an array of options. (Read more about Tencent in this Bold Business story.) In fact, Tencent is now worth well over $800 billion as a result of this growth. Likewise, other well-known gaming icons have also established a secure presence in the market. Epic Games, Activision, and EA are just a few prominent names within the gaming industry today. And without question, these companies have done well the past year amidst a global pandemic resulting in widespread lockdowns.
While the gaming industry is now well-established, that doesn’t mean its content to simply provide gaming content to users. Recent developments show that there is much more to come in this seemingly complex and highly dynamic field. In recent years, gaming content creators have enjoyed increasing opportunities to earn profits. Likewise, new startups are exploring gambling platforms to further entice gaming engagement. And perhaps the most impressive developments involve companies looking to create entire new gaming universes. If anything is certain, ongoing changes to gaming industry is inevitable.
“There is also a lot of hype around Roblox building out what many are calling the ‘metaverse concept’, a virtual space where users can gather to play, learn and socialize together, fueled by the in-game economy, user-generated content and developer-created content.” – Daniel Ahmad, Analyst at Niko Partners
Roblox Goes Public
After toying with the idea of an IPO, Roblox recently went public via a direct listing on the stock exchange. Initial share prices began at $45 and rapidly increased to nearly $70 where they have held steady. What’s interesting about Roblox, however, is that the company has never earned a profit since its founding in 2004. Instead, its revenues are being constantly poured into scaling and development to reach broader targets. Investors don’t seem to mind because they are embracing a larger vision for the company. That’s why Roblox, whose valuation is $45 billion, has quickly risen to the top of the gaming industry.
In essence, Roblox is a gaming platform where content creators and developers can build and profit off their own games. Millions of content creators now use the platform to attract gamers to play their creations. In fact, Roblox last year had over 1.9 billion net bookings for 2020 alone. For the 8 million content creators, that’s great news, allowing them to earn income from those who enjoy their games. This has led to many content creators and developers now forming teams and studios for more advanced creations. The metaverse that Roblox envisions is thus one where all types of commerce and social interactions evolve around gaming. As many investors realize, the potential for such a metaverse is incredible.
“Roblox truly is the metaverse for this younger generation. What they are finding here is something that transcends gaming, it’s human co-experience. What that means is that each game needs to have a very distinctive and attractive immersion to it, in a way that mobile free-to-play doesn’t.” – Joe Ferencz, Founder and CEO, Gamefan
Gamefan Sees an Opportunity
As companies like Roblox envisions an evolving type of gaming platform, other businesses have adopted new perspectives as well. One such company in the gaming industry is Gamefan, which is the first professional game publishing company using Roblox. By publishing, Gamefan means it provides content creators and developers opportunities for growth. This is especially true for content creators who’ve banded together into teams and studios. Gamefan offers these gamers the ability to seek out new business opportunities in the mobile gaming market. (Read more about the rise of the mobile gaming market in this Bold Business story.) Likewise, it provides marketing and operational services as well.
In essence, Gamefan is simply a full-service partner that gaming content creators can use to help them grow. The company was founded in 2019 and has only 37 employees. But it has enjoyed over 48 million visitors and is optimistic about the Roblox platform. Founder Joe Ferencz recognizes the appeal of Roblox is so individual content creators can create and profit from their expertise. But at the same time, he also sees many of these individuals needing assistance as they become more popular. Therefore, Gamefan sees Roblox’s metaverse as a new type of marketplace for the gaming industry.
“When I worked at YouTube, I met many gaming creators that desired to entertain their fans and hone their skills, but it can be a struggle to make significant money along the way. [1v1Me] is the most promising platform for esports gamers to make a living, and I’m thrilled to back them on their journey.” – Albert Cheng, Co-Lead of Socially Financed and Director of Product at Duolingo
1v1Me Brings Gambling to Gaming
In addition to content creators advancing their own products, the gaming industry is seeing other new developments as well. Startup company 1v1Me plans to introduce a gambling platform to the gaming industry so gamers can wager on themselves. The app allows gamers to link their bank accounts onto a game and determine a specific amount of a wager. Then, 1v1Me monitors the game via Twitch and awards the pay-out to the winner. Despite being new to the gaming industry, 1v1Me has already earned $2 million in seed money. Investors believe that an additional segment of gamers will want to play once gambling is an added feature.
1v1Me has a unique strategy in its initial attempts to gain momentum. It is only offering invitation-only gamers to engage in the app currently. Many of these gamers are well-known content creators and developers, or they are popular gamers themselves. By engaging influential content creators, 1v1Me hopes to lure others onto the platform at a later time. Though 1v1Me allows gamers to earn income in a different manner, it still looks to attract users through financial opportunity. The company is already doing so using games like Call of Duty and Fortnite.
Immersion into a Virtual Metaverse
The gaming industry naturally began as a platform for entertainment and fun. But as time has passed, gaming platforms are recognizing the potential for a much more expansive influence. Companies are creating marketplaces for content creators today that previously didn’t exist. Likewise, opportunities for gamer-related businesses on these platforms clearly exist as well. And now even gambling apps can further enhance gamer interactions. Given this, it’s clear the gaming industry still has great potential for advancement in the future. And the rate of change that’s already occurring suggests these advances will be here sooner rather than later.
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