News: Gaming industry: A force of nature -
22 Oct 2007
Gone are the days when gaming was just mere child’s play. Nowadays, gaming is big business, perhaps the biggest in the entire entertainment stratosphere.
A testament to this notion is the recent release of Halo 3 for the Microsoft Xbox 360 console, which broke entertainment industry sales records by raking in $170 million worldwide on its release date, beating out similar cultural phenomena such as Spiderman 3 and the final installment of the Harry Potter books.
If you think, however, that this is as big as it’s going to get, you’re probably mistaken.
Experts project that the industry would make more than $18 billion worldwide this year, surpassing the historically gargantuan Hollywood movie mill in terms of revenue.
The gaming business is definitely on a remarkable ascent. The industry’s sales have risen to $78.9 million this year. This is up from the $48.7 million made during the same period last year, which is about an increase of 62 percent.
A few factors are seen as the cause of this upswing, particularly the proliferation of strong software packages which accompanied all of the competing major gaming platforms (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) and the price cut initiated by Sony for its popular Playstation 3 console. These developments ensured a strong year for the industry, especially during the summer when sales were at skyrocketing record numbers.
The abundance of options in terms of hardware and software has also created more traffic for gaming-related shops everywhere. In addition, the popularity of the consoles has opened up another avenue for business — gaming accessories, which since has proven to be quite profitable.
IT spending trends The success of gaming, however, is not limited to consoles. Online games, which are more community-based, are snapping on the heels of their more specialized counterparts, becoming cultural sensations in some parts of Asia. This is a trend that is definitely spreading, especially with the popularity of online games.
According to a recent study made by research firm IDC, the sustained market expansion of the online gaming industry continues to drive IT spending and infrastructure deployment of service providers across the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan).
The study adds that spending is expected to steadily increase across the region as expanding user bases continue to strain both the communications (such as the Internet and broadband services) and the service provider’s own gaming infrastructure (i.e., game servers, network management services, data servers and others). Furthermore, the proportion of IT spending among service providers is reflective of the stages or levels of maturity of the respective countries’ online gaming industries.
“Online gaming SPs have established presence in their respective markets and have all placed gaming-related infrastructure as crucial components of their online gaming operations. The online gaming SP IT spending is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.3 percent from 2006 to 2011 to reach $579.8 million,” said Jun-Fwu Chin, senior analyst for software research of IDC Malaysia.
PC boom Probably one of the key factors in the increase of IT spending especially for online gaming is the need for more high-performance PCs (personal computers).
Intel, HP, Acer and Dell are but a few of the IT companies that have brought in high-end processors and computers for PC gaming use.
Efraim Dizon, channels marketing director for hardware and software distributor Technopaq Philippines, said there has been an increase in demand for PCs, especially since online games are multi-player, community-based and competitive in nature.
The booming Internet café business is also another factor, with many online gamers frequenting Internet shops rather than playing in their own homes.
Dizon, however, said the players are no longer very specific as to whether the PC is branded or cloned. “So long as their games are playing in their PCs — meaning fast and working — they are pretty much satisfied,” he said. “However, as these online games evolve, there might be a rise in the need for more powerful, possibly branded computers.”
He added that home users are more likely to lean toward purchasing branded PCs over the clones. Apart from carrying major hardware and software brands such as Acer, Lenovo and Oracle, among others, Technopaq also carries solutions for the database systems of online gaming publishers.
Meanwhile, on the notebook front, hardware vendors see online gamers not spending so much for laptops. Ian Reyes, market development manager for HP Philippines’ Personal Systems Group (PSG), said, “Gaming hasn’t really crept into the notebooks yet. It is still in PCs.”
Source : J.A.P. Bonilla, PhilStar.com , 22 October 2007