A year that is shaping up to be very similar to the one that is about to end but which, in my humble opinion, may reserve us some interesting twists.
2020 represented a year of growth for the industry in every sense, not only did the global consumer base increase significantly, but also saw the launch of several record-breaking games and the new generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Before the confinement, the public turned to video games as a way of channeling the free time generated by the routine imposed by Covid 19.
New players that may have a lot of weight in the short term, such as Amazon Luna, also appeared, consolidating the increasingly strong trend of democratization and massification of gaming in search of increasing the profits for the investors.
2021 offers us a panorama very similar to 2020 since, at least until the middle of the year, it is not expected that the vaccination process, which has just begun in some countries, will have a sufficient scope to achieve normality pre-Covid 19. ( Not to mention the countries where this vaccination process has not even started).
I believe, however, that this growth in 2021 will be done differently due to several interesting elements that will enter into this equation:
1- GamePass can be used by iOS devices, that is, iPhones and iPads. An agreement that would be in force from spring 2021, in about 3 months and that would incorporate more than 1 billion potential subscribers into the Xbox ecosystem.
2-Microsoft would launch two new products, which would already be developing or in the next stage, according to statements by important company’s spokesmen, and which would lead to the incorporation of a huge number of casual players: A Gamestick, similar to Amazon’s FireTV with a ridiculous cost for the advantages it would offer and a TV with an installed capacity to play in GamePass without needing anything other than a controller.
3-Amazon Luna would come out of its Beta phase, becoming not only a global product but a true game-changer or at least a respectable competitor for GamePass.
4-Nintendo Switch Pro would advance its launch. Despite the fact that according to Nintendo’s spokespersons, the launch of a new product to the Switch line would not be contemplated for now, the market is making significant pressure looking for improvements in the gaming experience that Nintendo Switch offers today and that, despite of its sales, are reaching its depletion phase.
5-Nintendo would reach a commercial agreement with Microsoft to allow GamePass in its ecosystem. Due to the change in the business growth measurement parameters, it is no longer using the number of consoles sold but the user base that plays.
6-Google Stadia would modify its concept to better fit the business model of Luna and GamePass. This is based on certain receptivity problems that the service has had due to misunderstanding by the market.
7-Sony would try to find some kind of agreement with Tencent, with whom it shares stocks in Epic Games, to also create a worldwide streaming service that allows it to grow at a much higher rate its customer base, which for now is restricted to some 100-odd million customers acquired over the useful life of their consoles, that is, 7 or 8 years.
Many of these predictions that I have dared to make today obey, what in my opinion, would be a logical evolution of the events that occur today in this business. Only time will tell if I was right or not.