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The Coming Evolution of the Video Game Industry

The video game industry is on the cusp of an exciting evolution: Having first transitioned to games in the digital space, now expanding to gaming across platforms and devices, the video game industry is poised to offer “gaming as a service”.

First, we have seen a move away from purchasing physical copies of games, as the ability for some systems to play games made for their previous generations also increases the life of a game. Second, we are seeing an increase of gaming flexibility, allowing games to be played across platforms and devices. Video games have been transitioning towards the digital model for some time now and gaming services such as Playstation Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Play Anywhere (the next step being Project xCloud) are allowing people to play their games, previously only on physical discs accessible only with their consoles, on multiple compatible devices and platforms.

The above two changes have been happening for some time now but this third shift is far more recent. We have just stepped into gaming as a service — subscriptions to libraries of games and streaming video games rather than buying them — creating an array of possibilities in many distinct areas of the gaming industry. The combination of these three stages has begun to kick into high gear and is sparking a new wave of competition and innovation in this industry.

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