With the rise of mobile gaming, the Free-To-Play category has seen a significant rise in popularity, and its growth has had a huge impact on PC gaming too.
In 2018, FTP games across PC and mobile had generated an estimated $88 billion in revenue, and it isn’t just game developers that are making a profit, with team organisations and eSport production companies earning their share too. And then, of course, there’s the rise of the pro player.
Here are just three insights into how this fast-growing gaming industry has become so profitable for so many.
For most Free-To-Play games, microtransactions are the main source of income.
For the uninitiated, these transactions are simply small in-game purchases. They are generally pretty cheap, but they’re purchases that the player is likely to make over and over again. In some FTP games, they allow the player to advance more quickly in the game – for instance, buying more lives in Candy Crush.
But in PC gaming, microtransactions might include skins, which change the appearance of in-game characters and items but have no influence on gameplay. Microtransactions may also come in the form of lootboxes, which will generally contain one or more mystery items. Often, rather than purchasing these articles directly, players will instead buy in-game currency which then allows them to buy the downloadable content (DLC).
This method is not exclusive to the FTP industry, appearing in Pay-To-Play games like Grand Theft Auto V and PUBG, but for FTP games it is generally the main source of revenue.
The business of esports tournaments is an industry all of its own – a billion-dollar industry, in fact, with over 400 million viewers.
And it isn’t just developers that are profiting from it – in fact, the vast majority of esports tournaments are hosted by specialist production companies.
Team organisations tend to make their money from participation in gaming tournaments – as well as competitive monetary prizes for the winners, these widely-viewed events also present ideal advertising opportunities. Companies will often sponsor teams or individual players, and these sponsorships are not dissimilar to those in other sporting industries. For instance, a sponsored player may be seen wearing a brand logo or using gaming equipment produced by the sponsor.
Streaming is a great way for pro-players to get their names out there, and streaming sites are great platforms to earn recognition. For some players, it will enable them to make a career from gaming without the backing of a team organisation. There are even dedicated channels for eSport streaming. GINX Esports TV is the first and biggest esports TV network in the world, available on PC and mobile devices, and provides viewers with a diverse array of curated industry news, gameplay and more. Covering games such as CS:GO, Fortnite and Call of Duty, it aims to bring eSports to mainstream audiences.