In the modern world, the creation of video games is one of the largest segments of the entertainment industry. The scale of the gaming industry is comparable, for example, to the film industry. And in terms of growth rate over the past five years, the video game industry has significantly outstripped it.
In terms of the degree of influence on consumers and their involvement in the interactive environment offered by video games, this segment has long been distinguished from other forms of entertainment.
Gamedev or game development cannot be considered in isolation from the computer games industry as a whole. The creation of games itself is only part of a complex “ecosystem” that provides a complete life cycle for the production, distribution and consumption of such complex products as computer games.
The following levels can be distinguished in the structure of the modern gaming industry: platforms, game engines, video game development, publishing and operating, popularization and consumption.
A very small number of educational institutions in the world train specialists directly for the gaming industry.
Hardware and software systems that allow you to run interactive gaming applications. Among the main types are:
- PCs based on Windows, Mac/OS X or Linux
- Game consoles (dedicated devices for games, now in the 8th generation – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U)
- Mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows)
- Universal web platforms, social networks
- Innovative virtual reality platforms
Engines, software and technical architecture are an important aspect of game development. Without this, it is difficult to imagine any modern game, except, perhaps, a board game. This course will provide students with basic knowledge of a technical topic and will not require programming.
A software layer between the platform and the actual game code. Using a ready-made game engine makes it possible to significantly simplify the development of new games, reduce the cost of their production and significantly reduce the time to launch. Also, modern game engines provide cross-platform created products. The most advanced engines include: Unity 3D, Unreal Development Kit, CryENGINE 3 Free SDK.
A large number of companies and independent teams are involved in the creation of computer games. The development involves specialists of different professions: programmers, game designers, artists, QA specialists, etc.
Large professional teams of 100+ specialists are involved in the development of large commercial gaming products. And such projects in development can cost tens of millions of dollars.
However, quite successful game projects can be implemented by small teams of enthusiasts. This is facilitated by the presence on the market of a large number of open and widespread platforms, high-quality and practically free engines, platforms for attracting “popular” investments (crowdfunding) and available distribution channels.
The distribution of games or operation (in the case of MMOs) is usually handled not by the developers themselves, but by the publishers. At the same time, publishers (or operators) localize games, interact with platform owners, conduct marketing campaigns, deploy infrastructure, and provide technical and information support for released games.
For medium and small gaming products, this level is practically not available. Such products, as a rule, are brought to the market by the developers themselves, directly interacting with the platforms.
Popularization of games
Specialized mass media have always been a powerful channel for delivering information to users.
Now the most effective and widely represented area of the media are information sites dedicated to gaming topics.
Gaming magazines, which have long been the main source of information about games, have now given way to Internet resources.
Specialized exhibitions still remain important information platforms for the gaming industry (E3, GDC, Gamescom, IgroMir, KRI, DevGamm). Direct communication between the press and players with developers, exchange of experience between market participants, new contacts – this is what conferences and exhibitions offer in a concentrated form.
Another important channel for delivering useful information to players is TV broadcasts, both in the classic TV format and on a variety of video content channels.
Gaming communities and eSports
Within the most popular gaming areas, gaming communities are formed around specific games or series, new sites, forums and groups in social networks appear. Often, these groups generate even more information than developers and publishers can afford through their own resources and advertising. It is quite typical when an independent site for the game offers visitors more complete information about the world of the game, compared to the official site.
Due to the wide spread of esports, the most experienced players get the opportunity to translate their passion for games into professional tracks. There are enough championships in the world, and the stakes are so high that high-scoring players can make a good career as an esports player. Now esports is an entire industry with its own infrastructure, funding and celebrities.