The worldwide digital games market now totals roughly $50 billion in revenues. But how will big existing publishers capitalize on this momentum? Can free-to-play sustain as consumer expectations continue to evolve? After a period of frantic growth will core segments like MMO and social casino maintain their projected earnings? This presentation will guide attendees through the narrative of growth provided by current trends, as well as future potential. This data-driven analysis of the key digital games segments and markets will provide an understanding of the qualitative and quantitative impetuses for current growth as well future points of opportunity the industry cannot ignore. Casual Connect 2015
Stephanie Llamas is a big gamer. She’s played on consoles, PC, and mobile. She even still has her first console: A Nintendo64. She’s big on “couch co-op” and just about anything that she can play at home with friends. Meeting Bioshock creator Ken Levine left her star-struck.
But while she enjoys everything about games, it was not necessarily games themselves that drew her to the gaming industry and her current position as Senior Analyst of Consumer Insights at SuperData Research. “I’m interested in what makes gamers tick,” she says. “I want to know the reasons behind market shifts as well as why gamers make decisions on a micro-level. I also love hearing about new game mechanics and types and how gamers respond to them. Innovation and evolution in the games industry are the things that fascinate me most.”
Being at the head of Consumer Insights research for all digital gaming sectors at SuperData gives her all the insight she could ask for on gamers, market shifts and the evolution of the gaming industry. Her department is tasked with “writing narratives and performing qualitative research to supplement and round-out our quantitative data sets.” They cover all segments of digital gaming and make sure their clients not only understand the “what” of digital games but the “why.”
Getting into such a position was “serendipitous” for Llamas. Before coming on at SuperData, she was in a graduate program studying the sociopolitical history of digital media and conflict. “I was on a very academic track and I kept veering more and more toward studying video games,” she says.
While applying for PhD programs she stumbled upon SuperData — “a match made in heaven.” Llamas says that her academic background helped her a lot, as did her experience in social media and business prior to coming on at SuperData.
In addition to her own skills and talent, she notes that networking also played a part in helping her land the job. Her former graduate advisor began showing her the inner workings of the game industry and introducing her to people — including SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen. “Having his blessing when I applied for a job at SuperData was great and he helped me gage what I should expect,” she says.
For others looking to follow a similar career path she says to “Network, network, network! … it’s really helped me realize where I want to be in my career. And it certainly never hurts to know as many people as possible when looking for a job.”
On the Job
As part of a start-up, Llamas finds that growth is both exciting and challenging. While continually changing department dynamics in order to make room for new people can be tricky, it has also helped her evolve as a manager since “so much of the start-up life is learning to improvise and set solid roots for further growth.”
The part of her job that she enjoys most is getting to read about and play games. “Games research entails so much and a lot of that is just experiencing as many games as I can,” she says. “How cool is that?” She also says her team is great and makes the experience at SuperData even better.
eSports and Gaming Video Content
More recently, SuperData Research has been focusing on eSports and Gaming Video Content. After eSports dominated eastern markets in China and Korea, they are coming into their own market in the west. About two thirds of the global eSports market, which adds up to $600 million, come from Europe and North America. This encompasses revenue from sponsors, merchandise, prize pools and ticket sales. Live streaming has been a huge contributor of the enormous growth and success. Namely, Twitch and YouTube, among others, have given eSports a larger audience, growing eight times what it was in 2011. Stephanie reveals, “Publishers have also had a hand in evolving their games, or even designing their games off-the-bat, as an eSport.” Even though many publishers do not recognize eSports as contributing to their profit, the truth is that they are not only “helping to engage their players so they’ll stick with the game longer, they are supporting and fostering a community for their gamers in an unprecedented way. It’s really win-win.”