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Where is Digital Gaming Heading?

Computer gaming is growing and expanding into new areas

1Dec

The video game industry produced $115.06 billion in revenue in 2015. While actual consoles - mainly the Playstation and Xbox - account for almost half of it, mobile gaming is the most improved sector. Candy Crush's release in 2012 became the catalyst for digital gaming, with a sharp increase in overall revenue following soon after. It went from an industry making $9.28 billion in 2012, to now, where an increased portfolio of games has seen that figure rise to $22.01 billion.

In September 2015, digital gaming sales increased 29% from the same month in 2014. The growth was attributed to players - who were playing restricted, free versions of games - making the leap to download full games. CNBC reported that 'FIFA 16' and 'Destiny' were responsible for this increase.

As well as being a growth industry, it's also challenging stereotypes. Although competitve online gaming might still be a male dominated pastime, nearly half of digital gamers are women. This has created tension. Many women are frustrated with their lack of representation in video games - with none of the top 25 games sold in 2015 having a dedicated female lead.

Ubisoft's assertion that there wasn't enough time to create a female character on Assassin's Creed because they didn't have 'all the animations in place' led to the hashtag #womenaretoohardtoanimate being shared widely across Twitter. Barring Lara Croft and Ada Wong, there hasn't been an abundance of strong female characters, with women still often typecast as damsels in distress. It seems, however, that the complaints made against Ubisoft didn't fall on deaf ears. The latest installments in both the Rainbow Six and Assassin's Creed series, will include strong female characters, which play a central role in driving storylines. It's because of digital gaming, and increasing female participation, that sexism within the industry is being tackled. And it's likely that this is not only going to be reflected in upcoming digital games, but those on consoles and PC.

Another talking point was the apparent dip of King Digital, the creator of the Candy Crush Saga. The company's share price fell after a disappointing Q2 performance. While the game’s popularity was seemingly dipping, Activision’s decision to acquire King Digital has sparked renewed optimism, causing its share price to recently reach an all time high. Although the company will be looking for a new game to match the success of Candy Crush, the digital gaming company is still going to be a force.

Digital is having an important impact on the gaming industry, challenging stereotypes and helping bring new formats to the forefront. If the industry's increasing revenue is anything to go by, it could soon be time constitute a much greater share of the entire game industry than it currently does.

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