Right now, the gaming industry is undergoing a huge period of consolidation. Microsoft recently splurged $68.7 billion to reel in Activision-Blizzard, shortly after securing Bethesda for $7.5 billion, while Sony has added Bungie to their 2019 snapping up of third-party darling Insomniac Games.
Elsewhere, Embracer Group has been able to acquire IPs for Tomb Raider and Deus Ex by paying a mere $300 million for Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix Montréal to Square Enix. It’s not just in gaming that consolidation is coming by the bucket-load, with Big Tech looking to be boiling down to just a few colossal players in a prelude to the dystopian futures forewarned by many a science-fiction writer.
With Ubisoft and Electronic Arts reportedly marketing themselves amidst the action, there’s plenty of space for another firm to swoop in, with social media and streaming moguls eyeing up modern gaming industries, including the recently renamed company Meta.
Moguls venturing into gaming
It wasn’t long ago that Facebook was a hub for casual gaming. When it was only accessible through computers, games like Farmville, Game of Thrones Ascent, and Backyard Monsters thrived, quickly establishing the social media platform among fellow browser-based gaming sites. However, while the smartphone brought more people to Facebook, it also eradicated its gaming space.
Since then, Facebook Gaming has been created to muscle in on a new area of gaming: game streaming. This was built to compete with the likes of YouTube and Twitch in the social gaming space. Now, with the announcement of the Metaverse, which uses virtual reality gear to access a digital world, gaming’s only going to become more of a focus for the company, with VR predominantly used as gaming hardware as it stands.
Where Facebook’s unexpected gaming scene faded with the rise of smartphones, Netflix has burst onto the scene with their N Games platform of mobile games. The games are found on the Netflix mobile app, with recent newcomers Dragon Up, Exploding Kittens – The Game, and Moonlighter bolstering the selection. They also released a Stranger Things mobile game that can be played as part of a Netflix subscription.
Breaking into the industry
For the most part, Meta and Netflix are relying on their own platforms and creations to establish themselves in gaming. As the space is so competitive already for just about every platform of play, they could do with a little extra kick to draw in more players and emphasise their plans to become major names in gaming. To achieve this, they could look to a different line of gaming.
The online casino gaming, or “iGaming,” space has been able to become very popular because all platforms subscribe to an ultra-competitive mentality. This is most clearly demonstrated by the freebies and promotions, which have led to a battle for the best casino bonuses in the UK, US, and in other major markets. They offer free playing funds to new players so that they have additional money to enjoy the games on offer.
Were Facebook and Netflix to want to break into the wider gaming scene, a similar approach would not only be savvy but proven to work. Amazon’s gaming platform offers freebies to subscribers, while the Epic Games Store went all-in to challenge Steam’s all-but-monopoly in PC gaming by giving away full free games each week. The best way to compete, it seems, is to become absurdly accessible through free ways to play.
If this is understood and access to games becomes free under Facebook or Netflix, they could begin to become more prominent in the gaming space, perhaps convincing them to snap up some established studios.