Availability of new console hardware
Consumers have had a tough time finding PlayStation 5, Xbox Series and Nintendo Switch consoles since the beginning of the pandemic. In recent months, video game hardware market results have been more reflective of what’s been able to be produced rather than a reflection of true consumer demand.
Nintendo Switch will likely remain the best-selling hardware platform of 2022 in units sold, but a year-on-year decline can be expected, as Switch comes off its cyclical peak. Fortunately, supply of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles should improve (although not enough to completely meet demand), helping the overall console market to single-digit percentage growth in the year.
An improvement in new console hardware availability, combined with continued growth in subscription, mobile and VR content spending, should help the video game industry continue its long-term growth trend.
The year of the delay, part II
The challenges the ongoing pandemic have presented to the video game industry are likely to continue impacting content development, as well as hardware and accessory production. Early release date announcements could become even more rare than they currently are and shifting dates post announce more common. Making games has always been challenging. Given the complexity and increased stakes involved in today’s market, things have become even more difficult.
VR could begin gaining mass market momentum
VR gaming has been talked about as one of the next big things in gaming since the mid-1990s and the launch of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. However, coming off a very strong holiday 2021 sales quarter for the Meta Quest 2, and the potential release of PlayStation VR 2 later this year, 2022 could finally be the year that VR gaming takes the leap from enthusiast niche to early mass market adoption. But we’ve all been fooled by VR before …
The NFT push is likely to accelerate
Initial NFT endeavors from publishers and developers have received strong social media pushback and little sign of consumer enthusiasm. Despite these early struggles, NFT-related initiatives will continue to be developed, announced, and released throughout 2022. The cost to create and release some NFT assets is so low that many companies will enter the space for (if nothing else) fear of potentially missing out on a lucrative market. In addition, the idea of getting a cut of secondary market sales is extremely appealing to some developers and publishers.
Play-to-earn gaming emerges
In short, play-to-earn gaming allows players to have ownership over certain in-game assets and allows the player to attempt to increase the value of those assets through in-game play. This could come from the value of the assets themselves, or by acquiring various cryptocurrencies through play. Major traditional video game publisher Ubisoft (a founding member of the “Blockchain Game Alliance”) has committed to creating such games in the future. Look for others to follow in what could be a quickly developing market.