Video game companies are masters at reaching their target audience (gamers) and use a range of strategies, including use of the streaming platform Twitch, sponsorships and social media channels. Their marketing, general tech wizardry and the quality of their products have helped some video gaming companies achieve legendary status and made them the go-to companies for video games. Below is a look at the popularity of gaming, the brands that are leading the field, at some of the best video game franchises and what the future might hold for video gaming.
The popularity of video gaming
The worldwide video game industry generates billions. According to data on the website of consumer and market data company Statista, revenue from the worldwide market hit an estimated almost $347 billion in 2022.
Advances in technology are allowing gamers to enjoy immersive and engaging gaming experiences. The emergence of virtual reality and cloud technology are two developments that are responsible for them.
Three main companies are dominating the market when it comes to gaming consoles: Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, and this infrastructure also transforms them into the biggest publishers of games. Of the three, Sony enjoys the biggest market share, and between the three, they account for 29% of total gaming revenue.
When it comes to developers and third-party publishers, Activision Blizzard, the company behind “Call of Duty” was the biggest pure-play gaming company in early 2023 and boasted a market capitalization of more than $67 billion. Other companies leading the field include US-based Electronic Arts (EA), Take-Two Interactive and Roblox Corporation. Then there are the European heavy hitters Ubisoft and Embracer Group. From Asia Pacific come big names such as Bandai Namco, Capcom, Square Enix, NC Soft, NetEase and Nexon.
Of course, video gaming companies are also doing battle with the online casino gaming world, in which online casino providers have also established a solid reputation for themselves. Many casino brands offer bonuses to attract players to their site, including no deposit bonuses.
Two of the leading companies in this field are 888 Holdings, who offer not just online casino gaming but a range of other services such as poker, bingo and sports betting; who likewise, operate online casino gaming, sports betting, bingo and poker.
Biggest selling video game franchises
Interestingly, Statista reports that despite dominating the hardware market and being the biggest publisher of video games, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft haven’t always produced the most popular games. Here are some of the most popular video game franchises.
As of May 2022, “Tetris” was the most popular video game franchise and available on several platforms, including the Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo Game Boy. The game, created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, was born out of the creator’s love for computer programming and puzzles and sold more than 427 million units worldwide. All you have to do is score as many points as possible by dropping, rotating and moving falling Tetriminos as they fall to create and clear horizontal lines of blocks inside the Tetris Matrix. This gets more difficult as the lines clear because the level increases and the blocks fall faster.
The role-playing series has been an absolute phenomenon and has sold a total of more than 480 million units as of May 2022, according to Statista. The franchise has become popular on handheld consoles since the success of the original Red and Blue version, and there have been pushes for anime versions that have taken the game to new heights. The game has also experienced changes in its central game play, such as open world elements and 3D models.
3. Call of Duty
“Call of Duty” is one of the greatest ever first-person shooters in gaming history. In almost two decades, the franchise has sold 400 million units and, despite growing somewhat stale, it doesn’t really look to be slowing down. As will be much to the delight of its creators, it could be some time before the franchise ever releases its vice-like grip on commercial sales.
4. Super Mario
Super Mario is one of the most iconic and beloved video game franchises in history, created by Nintendo. The franchise was first introduced in 1985 with the release of “Super Mario Bros.” for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and has since become a cornerstone of gaming culture. The franchise is primarily centered around the adventures of Mario, an Italian plumber and the main protagonist, and his brother Luigi. Mario’s mission is usually to rescue Princess Peach from the main antagonist, Bowser, the King of the Koopas.
5. Grand Theft Auto (GTA)
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a highly popular and influential video game franchise created by Rockstar Games. The series is known for its open-world action-adventure gameplay, mature themes, and controversial content. It has been a significant player in the gaming industry since the release of the first game in 1997. An open-world action-adventure franchise by Rockstar Games, allowing players to explore vast cities and engage in various activities.
FIFA is a highly popular video game franchise developed and published by EA Sports, a division of Electronic Arts. The series is officially licensed by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the global governing body for football (soccer) and aims to provide a realistic and immersive football gaming experience. EA Sports’ soccer (football) simulation franchise, offering realistic gameplay and featuring various real-world teams and players.
7. The Legend of Zelda
“The Legend of Zelda” is a critically acclaimed and beloved video game franchise developed and published by Nintendo. Created by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, the series made its debut in 1986 with the release of the original “The Legend of Zelda” game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
The franchise is known for its immersive and adventurous gameplay, memorable characters, captivating storytelling, and intricate puzzles. The games typically follow the hero, Link, on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat the primary antagonist, Ganon, or other dark forces threatening the land of Hyrule.
Minecraft is an immensely popular sandbox video game created by Markus “Notch” Persson and later developed and published by Mojang Studios, which is now a part of Microsoft. The game was first released in 2011 and has since become a cultural phenomenon, captivating players of all ages around the world. A sandbox game by Mojang Studios that allows players to create and explore blocky worlds, fostering creativity and adventure.
9. Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed is a highly popular action-adventure video game franchise developed and published by Ubisoft. The series was first released in 2007, and it quickly gained a massive following due to its compelling historical settings, intriguing storyline, and immersive gameplay. Ubisoft’s historical action-adventure franchise, taking players to different time periods to play as skilled assassins.
10. World of Warcraft (WoW)
World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It was first released in 2004 and quickly became one of the most influential and successful MMORPGs in the history of gaming. Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with a massive player base.
What does the future hold for gaming?
There is no doubt that technology will advance further. Virtual reality and augmented reality are likely to become an even bigger part of gaming as players seek more immersive, more engaging experiences and companies try to provide them. One piece of evidence of this is the fact that some headsets are selling more than combined sales of some Xbox consoles.
Players’ hunger for more immersive virtual environments creates opportunities for tech and media companies to engage gamers across other experiences. Live virtual events, esports events and socializing are all part of the mix so far, but other experiences and commerce will materialize in the industry as well.
The gaming industry is generating billions, and gaming only looks set to get more and more popular. If you’ve not tried games in any of the franchises above, why not invest in one of them and see why they’ve become so popular?