Ross Holt

Exertis’ Ross Holt on digital gaming and what this means for the industry

Ross Holt, Global Head of Gaming at Exertis, discusses digital gaming and what this means for the industry. Ross also shares his predictions for where the gaming subscription trend is heading…

What does the shift to digital mean for the gaming industry?
The shift to digital gaming has evolved drastically now that gamers can download or stream games instantly. The shift to the digital era has been especially fast-tracked during the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of gaming services such as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass.

Video games have been transitioning towards the digital model for a number of years now, and we’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of plug and play. Digital distribution has enabled people to access high quality games across a variety of compatible devices such as console, PC and mobile.

According to UKIE (UK Interactive Entertainment), the UK market for video games reached a record £7bn in 2020, an increase of +29.9% from 2019, beating 2018’s previous record by more than a billion pounds.

What are the benefits of online gaming subscriptions?
Gaming has changed dramatically from the days of requiring a disc or cartridge in order to play. Online gaming subscriptions work in a similar way to Netflix or Spotify, providing gamers with a large library of games for a monthly subscription fee. New titles are added all the time and gamers can connect and play with friends online.

Playing new releases on day one is a huge benefit of subscription gaming and with a range of different packages available, there is something to suit everyone.

Do you predict any changes to consumer experience caused by the shift to a digital subscription model?
Mobile and subscription gaming is becoming a huge part of the market, namely due to how we interact with the media, how accessible the platforms are, and how smartphone technology is developing. Newzoo report that $77.2 billion of mobile game revenues in 2020 will account for 48% of the global market, an increase of 13.3% year on year.

Another shift is that consumers are trying out different genres as a library of games are included in their subscription package, rather than them having to purchase titles as individual games. The ease and accessibility of the platform is enabling people to play a wider selection of games than ever before.

What does the future hold for digital gameplay?
Cloud gaming also gives people easier access to more high-end games, vastly increasing the quality options for everyone as the latest and greatest games are accessible via tablet and phone instead of a gaming PC. And of course, as infrastructure like 5G and fibre optics steadily improves, the experience of gaming is going to get better and better.

The changing face of game enthusiasts opens new opportunities and will drive innovation moving forwards. Newzoo predict that 15% of the market are ‘lapsed gamers’ returning to gaming, while 21% are ‘subscribers’ and 23% are ‘time-fillers.’

Being able to game on different form factors and through wider media channels, from wherever you are in the world, will make gaming even more accessible and enjoyable as the future unfolds. This combination of easy access to the highest-quality games, along with the sheer quality of the gaming experience on the most popular and portable hand-held devices, makes gaming an even more compelling proposition than it’s ever been.

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