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gamescom 2023: Recap and Lessons Learned

gamescom, the world’s biggest games event in Cologne, Germany, took place from August 23 to 27, attracting a stunning 320,000 visitors from over 100 countries.  

The games industry is booming, expecting to reach $187.7 billion in revenue, after a slight setback in 2022 due to the impact of the pandemic. This growth was visible at gamescom, as the number of visitors increased by 20% in comparison with 2022. 

Concentrix was present at the event and had the opportunity to witness the latest trends and developments first-hand. In this post, we will share our observations and lessons learned, with a special focus on what this means for the Player Experience. 

gamescom: The Epicenter of Gaming Innovation 

In a world where technology evolves at a tremendous pace and entertainment trends are constantly shifting, gamescom has firmly established itself as a vital cornerstone of the global gaming industry. More than just a gathering of gamers and enthusiasts, gamescom represents a critical touchstone for game developers, publishers, hardware manufacturers, and the entire ecosystem that powers the digital entertainment revolution. 

Over the years, gamescom has become a vibrant ecosystem that both reflects and shapes the gaming landscape. Its annual occurrence in Cologne, Germany, brings together industry giants, indie developers, and passionate gamers from every corner of the globe. As the gaming industry’s premier event, gamescom showcases not only the latest and greatest in gaming innovation but also serves as a launchpad for new titles, hardware, and trends. 

The Rise of Indie Games: In the past, video game development and publishing were dominated by a handful of large companies. With the rise of digital distribution and the democratization of game development tools, indie developers have been able to create and distribute games without the need for a publisher. 

More recently, games like Fortnite and Roblox are giving creators the possibility to reach their millions of users by allowing them to upload their work to their platform. 

Perhaps the most profound impact of the rise of indie games lies in the way they have reshaped players’ expectations. Gamers want unique experiences and meaningful narratives. Indie and mainstream games now coexist, cross-pollinate, and inspire one another. 

This year, a lot of these indie games had the opportunity to showcase their work at gamescom. Considering that some of the best and highest-grossing games of 2022 were indie games, we expect that indie games are going to gain more and more popularity.  

Cloud Gaming Continues Evolving: The concept of cloud gaming is that everyone with a digital device, from mobile to TV, can connect to a game streaming service by being connected to the internet. Instead of downloading and installing the game, people can just stream the games and remove the need for expensive operating systems. 

Cloud gaming simply means that the hardware threshold, that a lot of people face, disappears, resulting in more gamers around the world who can experience activations through gaming.  

We saw quite a few new developments showcased at gamescom on the area of cloud gaming. Big companies like Samsung and Microsoft continue to invest heavily in this area. 

Cloud gaming is evolving rapidly, transforming the way people access, play, and enjoy video games. With ongoing technological advancements and competition in the industry, cloud gaming is poised to play an increasingly significant role in the future of gaming. 

Quality Over Speed: The games industry has seen a notable shift in recent years, marking a departure from the earlier emphasis on strict release schedules and rushed development cycles.  

The recent success of Baldur’s Gate 3, a story-rich, party-based RPG set in the universe of Dungeons & Dragons, developed by Larian Studios has further fueled this trend, inspiring developers to prioritize quality, even if this means that release dates need to be pushed back.   

Not only is the market highly competitive, but with more game releases than ever, player expectations have also shifted. They are often willing to wait longer for a polished and immersive game rather than accepting one that is rushed and riddled with bugs.  

We believe that more and more studios will opt for much longer early access and pre-release tests before the game goes live for the masses. Engaging with your community—and doing something with the feedback of your player base—allows for feedback-driven improvements and helps to ensure a higher-quality final release.   

The Impact On Player Experience

As Player Experience plays an increasingly important role in driving the success of a game, it is interesting to analyze how the current trends and developments in game development are impacting the Player Experience. Game studios will need to adapt to changing player expectations to optimize player retention. 

Trust & Safety and Community Engagement: the rising demand for high-quality games in combination with the increase of User Generated Content (UGC) implies that a lively, healthy community is more important than ever. Game studios need to be actively involved, drive engagement, encourage player feedback, and ensure that players feel safe in communities—even more so when it involves under-age children.  

Artificial Intelligence: while there still is quite a bit of skepticism when it comes to using AI in areas like Player Support & Content Moderation, especially because of gamer-specific lingo and the complexity of gaming-related inquiries, there are more and more scenarios where AI can be applied to improve interactions with a global player base—such as NLP in machine translations, helping support associates to be more efficient, or detecting inappropriate content in communities. With currently 3.4 billion gamers globally and the expectation that this will increase even more in the years to come, AI can help to get faster, more accurate responses while keeping communities safe. 

Strong Outsourcing Partnerships: in the past, outsourcing PX-related tasks was merely considered a cost-savings exercise. Nowadays, outsourcing partnerships are much more than that. They allow game studios to leverage expertise, and a global workforce and thereby build a much more robust structure to scale. Even for indie studios, who require a smaller, more flexible structure to get started, there are excellent outsourcing options.

More and more studios decide to build strong, long-lasting partnerships, in which the outsourcing partner is an extension of their internal teams. Over time, more tasks and responsibilities can be outsourced, driving more synergies while optimizing efficiency. 

Learn more about how we can help you level up your player experience with our trust and safety practice.

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