In video gaming, there is a group called the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), an organization that advocates and lobbies for the gaming industry. They are also the hosts of the E3 convention in LA (June).
Recently, they launched a Game Generation campaign, which underscores the benefits of gaming for individuals and society as a whole. You can watch the campaign video here. I found the below quote from their CEO a helpful summary:
“We want to posit this industry as a force for good because it is a force for good,” said ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis in an interview with GamesBeat. “Video games have become a scapegoat many times when society goes wrong and someone is looking to blame and find a cause, even when it’s misplaced. Other industries have gone through this. Music. Comic books. Even pinball arcades.” (Venture Beat)
I also resonate with this quote by Stanley Pierre-Louis (CEO of ESA):
“Unlike most other entertainment platforms, video games can connect people of all backgrounds and beliefs. When people engage in play of any kind, they are asked to take on a perspective that might be unfamiliar to them. Video games now provide the platform for this authentic, collaborative play that broadens perspectives and builds new communities by connecting people who may otherwise have never met.”
The following stats from ESA are about gamers in the United States:
Takeaway: gaming has become a key tenant of people’s time, social engagement, and communities. Lastly, gaming is a level playing field for various communities, and especially kids. If you haven’t seen the Microsoft Super Bowl commercial about their adaptive controller for kids, you can watch it here. It's worth two minutes of your time.
In the gaming community, Twitch has been the predominant destination for streaming. In the past 18 months, other platforms have started to increase their market share. The most noticeable one to me is the rise of Facebook Gaming. In the past 2 years, it has become the fastest growing live-game streaming platform. FB Gaming now has an 8.5% share of the game streaming market, compared to just 3.1% a year ago.
In live-game streaming, the largest tech giants are behind these platforms: Twitch (Amazon), YouTube (Google), FB Gaming (Facebook), and Mixer (Microsoft). Whether you are endemic to the gaming industry or watching from the sidelines, it’s worth paying attention to the movements of the largest balance sheets on the planet.
Gaming is where consumers are increasingly spending their time and money; hence why publicly traded companies are moving in on this industry. As a VC in this space, we believe this will continue to create a very healthy M&A environment for our portfolio.
FB Gaming is rising quickly and is likely to surpass YouTube Gaming in the next 12-18 months. YouTube’s core competency is historical video (VOD), not live-streaming. To be fair, YouTube Gaming absolutely dominates in this category so their semi-nonexistent growth in live-game streaming is not really of dire concern for them. In 2018, YouTube Gaming alone had ~50B hours watched compared to Netflix’s ~52B hours watched.
We’re seeing gaming entertainment rise to (and likely surpassing) the viewership levels of other entertainment verticals. Facebook is successfully pursuing this trend in their gaming division (especially in mobile).
Parents are buying smartphones for their kids much earlier than they were 5 years ago (UK report here). Also, 59% of kids 5-15 years old played games in 2019, compared to 45% in 2015. It’s worth noting that 70%+ of the revenue on iOS and Android comes from mobile gaming.