VentureBeat's gaming conference is coming up. GamesBeat 2009 is on March 24th at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. More info here:
In 2008, more than $885 million was invested into video games and virtual worlds. U.S. game industry sales rose 19 percent to $22 billion, not counting sales from online games or casual games. Those figures are astonishing and they confirm that the games industry stood out as a haven during the tough economic storm. GamesBeat 2009 will explore what will happen next.
As we stated above, it’s a time of explosive growth for the video game industry; however, it now faces a crossroads. Will games take the next step up in experience and become the pinnacle of entertainment? And, while developers seek to attain this goal, how will the games business fair? As more types of people start using games, these games are becoming increasingly interesting for advertisers. Hollywood, application-developers and retailers are all likely to use games and gaming principles to hook users with addictive content, or to engage them in ways that will lead to more purchase transactions.
Meanwhile, the traditional gaming business models are under attack. Users are shifting toward new platforms such as Facebook and casual Web games, and it’s not clear that the gaming leaders of past generations will stay on top. The Internet and the recession are driving big companies to rethink their focus on hardcore games; the costs of producing console games are out of control, putting the squeeze on independent developers.
The Nintendo Wii, the iPhone and the online game World of Warcraft now dominate the industry’s mindshare, but big questions remain: Can upstarts with free games, virtual goods, and episodic content further undermine the establishment? Does the Wii’s popularity represent the return to simplicity and cartoon-like entertainment, or are we on our way to touch-based user interfaces that immerse us in a compelling virtual reality? And is the web the path to more efficient economics, or will it introduce a flood of free titles that decimate everyone’s profits?
So, for those of you wanting to know what the future holds for games, and their effect on the world at large — whether you’re interested in console, casual or mobile phone games — you’ll want to join us on March 24th!