People of all ages play video games. There are also the youngsters who play professionally games such as Starcraft, League of Legends or FIFA at the World Cyber Games or DreamHack. There also the ones who dive into the world of Minecraft, the current phenomenon in online gaming. And, of course, there are the ones who watch game masters play at the biggest tournaments on Twitch.tv, hundreds of thousands of members for millions of hours each day. All these trends translate into game sales, console sales, platform sales. But in the players’ world, who are the biggest players?
To discover the answer to this question, data discovery through a cloud BI powered dashboard is the most efficient solution as its interactivity and collaboration features can enable viewers to continuously find out new surprising facts about the gaming industry. In front of the latest gaming dashboard designed by the team at BIME, a gamer can easily give up his console and start playing with all the potential combinations of comparison between regions, game publishers and genres as well as outline historical and yearly trends. And yes, finally solve the world debate about Xbox One vs Playstation 4.
THE PLAYERS’ BEST SHOTS
Unit sales are defining the competition between major players in the gaming industry. At the global level, the top 5 has been stable for 5 years now with Nintendo, Activision, EA, Microsoft Game Studios and Ubisoft as the definite leaders. Nonetheless, companies such as Take-Two Interactive (the creators of the Grand Theft Auto) and Bethesda (the producers of The Elder Scrolls) are the challengers to be considered for overcoming the supremacy in the following years. It is interesting to acknowledge that these companies are selling 40+ million units per year by adopting different strategies, actually having sales battles only in a limited area of game genres. While Nintendo is boosted by the cartoon-inspired games such as Pokemon and Mario, EA is winning because of the game series such as the sports ones - FIFA, NFL, Need for Speed as well as the FPS series of Battlefield or Titanfall. Ubisoft’s long-term gems are Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry but the new South Park game is threatening the rankings in 2014 while Microsoft has hit gold first with Halo and, recently, with Minecraft.
Staying at a global level, we can observe that from 2010 to 2013, Nintendo is the undisputed leader with it’s winning Wii Sports series with a total of 42 million units sold (although this series has been sold for over 300 weeks). No surprise here. But when comparing UK, France and Germany together with Europe, there’s a big change in data. Surprisingly, the Wii is sold in many more units in other countries in Europe than in these 3 reference countries. Overall, in Europe, Sony is ahead by far (51%) with its choice of Action games whereas in the USA, it’s Microsoft (48%) with sport games.
HOW MANY HOLY GRAILS ARE THERE?
1996 has been the breakthrough year in terms of game sales. Globally, sales passed the 100 million units mark while role-playing games were the highest contributor to this historical rise. Since 2004, sales have constantly surpassed 200 million units only to experience some of the lowest levels in the 21st century in 2012 and 2013 - the emerging countries in the rest of the world forming the only region where 2013 has been a year on the rise for the video games industry. This change in data makes way, most probably, for the rise of mobile, social and browser games that introduced in-app, freemium or avatar growth purchases as models contradicting the basic unit sales framework.
On the history tab of the dashboard, the multiple filter allows passionate gamers, stats fanatics as well as business managers at game companies to play with a complex analysis model and compare factors such as platforms, publishers, regions or game genres. Two clicks away from loading the dashboard and selecting a filter, we reach the Holy Grail of the gaming industry - we can see that in the last 5 years (2008 - 2013), games sold on Xbox360 surpassed the ones sold on Sony PS3 but now Sony PS4 is in front of Xbox One in terms of unit sales - while Nintendo’s WiiU is in the surprising lead. The fight for the 8th generation of game consoles is heating up!
But it is not consoles or mobile games or social networks games that are on the rise right now. This whole field is growing. Not only in terms of sales but also in terms of its economic impact. In the US only, states such as California and New York have more than 50k employees in gaming while the financial contribution of the industry to the state is one comparable to the technology or retail fields - as easily noticeable in the economic impact tab of the dashboard.
THE NEXT LEVEL
But the search must not stop here. There are many more Holy Grails to be discovered in the gaming industry dashboard. Just think for a second: what type of games were the highest contributor to the evolution of sales in the last years? Which was the publisher that took advantage of this and which is the platform that the most popular games will be launched on first? Did the trend stay the same in Japan as well as in Europe or North America? Can Europe be considered an emerging gaming market when compared to sales rave of the gaming population in Japan?
Discover how each genre evolved along the years for each publisher or check if a combination of different game genres had a bigger impact on various platforms in each region - would Action and Adventure games beat the deadly pack of Shooter & Strategy games? Is there a certain platform where sales are better for the games of a certain publisher? Are the games rankings staying the same when analyzing them platform by platform or by suites of platforms?
Some of these questions are just for quenching people’s curiosity thirst while other advanced questions are for the decision makers at game companies. But this is the effect of an interactive cloud BI dashboard - it can reveal trends and patterns that are useful for all types of users who decide to ask new questions to better understand their field.