How Will the Video Game Industry Adapt in 2023?

For gamers and those following the video game industry, 2023 is shaping up to be a significant year, one that could change the shape of the industry as a whole.

After a pandemic era boom in game sales, revenue growth dipped in 2022––$184.4 billion, down from $192.7 billion in 2021––even as player numbers increased to 3.2 billion, according to a report from Newzoo. Newzoo predicts the industry will return to the regular growth it’s seen over the last decade. But Celia Pearce, a professor of game design at Northeastern University, says there are several industry-shaking trends––a growing labor movement, corporate consolidation and calls to reform toxic workplace culture––that will define games in 2023.

Pearce hesitates to predict 2023 will herald a tidal wave of change for the industry but emphasizes the waves felt this year are the result of ripples that started, or grew, in 2022. 

In terms of the games themselves, the blockbuster model of big budget, graphically intense, 40+ hour experiences will continue to dominate video games in 2023––but Pearce questions if it’s sustainable. The smaller, cheaper and faster computer chips get, the more expensive, labor-intensive and time-consuming game development gets. At a certain point, it comes down to basic economics.

Celia Pearce, professor of game design in the College of Arts, Media and Design. Photo by Northeastern University

“What’s been trending in the last two decades on the console and PC side is the computers are getting better, faster and have more graphics, and what that means is that you have to have more and more people working on [games] and they’re more expensive,” Pearce says. “But guess what? The cost of games hasn’t gone up in 20 years.”

Last fall, for the first time in decades, AAA developers started charging a bit more for their games, increasing the price of select titles from the industry standard $60 to $70. But if developers want to continue making games like “God of War Ragnarok,” especially as unions start to have a say in pay and work hours, those prices will have to shift industry-wide in 2023.

“I don’t see how they’re going to be able to spend more and more money while still charging the same amount for the games,” Pearce says. “This is part of why indie games have become a viable economic tier because they’re shorter and cheaper.”

Last year, Pearce says, the industry was defined by three major trends that will continue to impact the industry in 2023: unionization, mergers and the ongoing saga of California regulators’ gender-based harassment lawsuit against industry giant Activision Blizzard.

Game industry workers have been trying to unionize for decades in an attempt to improve labor conditions in an industry defined by low pay, crunch culture and harassment at every level. In that sense, 2022 was a milestone. In May 2022, quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard-owned Raven Studios voted to form the industry’s first major union. And they weren’t alone; workers at studios big and small made moves to unionize. The year ended with testers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios, which is responsible for major franchises like “The Elder Scrolls,” “Doom” and “Fallout,” becoming the first union at Microsoft, which announced it would remain neutral in union decisions.

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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