Category: Video Game Genre

Indie Games: Everything You Need to Know

This is Gameopedia’s Game Terminology and Taxonomy series, where we talk about the different kinds of game categories and aim to give our audience in-depth knowledge about them. This blog covers everything we know about Indie games.

Like we mentioned in our previous blog about AAA games, the classification of games is done based on their budget, scope, and other factors. While these classifications aren’t formalized, they are still useful for game developers and publishers for marketing and e-retailers for categorizing game pages. Customers also gain invaluable information about the potential of a particular game. An important subclass of games are indie games, which have gained huge popularity over the past few decades.

 

What is an Indie Game?

Indie game stands for independent video game. The phrase ‘indie game’ is based on similar ones like independent films or indie music. It is a video game that’s usually made by smaller development teams or even individuals on their own without financial or technical support from large game publishers. This is a direct contrast to AAA games. The indie term is also applicable to games which have creative freedom even if they’re funded by publishers.

Indie games are often very innovative, experimentative, and explore games as art. They can afford to take risks which aren’t taken by AAA games and are unique. They are usually sold through digital distribution channels as a result of lacking publisher support. Indie video games have become even more popular over the last two years, going by the increased number of indie releases and the higher price they demand on Steam, arguably the biggest marketplace for indie titles.

Indie Releases in 2021

Here are the stats for indie video games released per month for the year 2021.

Those being released over the course of 2020 saw a pretty significant increase of about 25 percent from the previous years, mostly as a result of the pandemic. In 2021, the increase continued, at a YoY rate of about 11 percent compared to 2020’s releases. 

The overall ratings for indie games were also higher this year. In a massive industry like gaming which generated about $180 billion in 2020, while indie video games might not have the biggest slice of the pie, they’re still important to the industry.

A key reason for this is that indie game developers are often free of a lot of constraints and pressure for the game to follow popular trends or genres. Indie video games tend to be innovative and explore video games as a work of art.

 

What Makes a Game Indie?

While there is no standard definition for games to be classified as indie, they usually share certain characteristics. These are:

Independence: Indie games are either financially or creatively independent. They are funded themselves or from sources like crowdfunding, and even if they have a publisher, their game has been made without too much influence from them.

Team size: Indie video games are often developed by individuals, small teams, or small independent companies which are formed to develop the game. A great example of this is Undertale, which was made by one developer: Toby Fox, who wrote the story, programmed it, and even created music for it.

 

Undertale: A masterpiece programmed by just one person: Toby Fox.

Budgets: Indie games are made off of smaller budgets which are usually from the pockets of their makers or from crowdfunding. 

Creativity: Indie games are usually noted for their innovation, experimentation, and creativity. Limited graphics are often compensated for by gameplay innovation or unique narrative styles. 

Some notable examples of indie games are Transistor, Minecraft, Subnautica, and Celeste.

 

The History of Indie Games

The phrase Indie Game started being used commonly around the early 2000’s. Before that, they were termed as amateur, enthusiast, or hobbyist games. One of the first known examples of an indie game is Spacewar! which was released in 1963 but there is still some debate as to which is the first indie video game. 


As personal computers became increasingly prevalent, their availability, as well as easily available BASIC source codes for games, encouraged several people to start making their own games. Around the 1980s, playing a new game could be as simple as coding it yourself using magazines. One of the most popular games during this period was Football Manager, where the designer,
Kevin Toms used his knowledge about football management and board games along with the new technology to make a game– right from his bedroom! However, with this onslaught of games being made, it was harder and harder for them to sell them. An indie developer would either have to publish their game by establishing their own publishing company which was expensive or find a distributor willing to publish it, both of which were difficult. They started giving away pieces of their game in magazines and the like, where if gamers enjoyed the game, they could pay for the full version.

Doom's shareware text was rather provocative, and certainly did the job of selling it.
Search and Destroy's more traditional shareware text entreating players to purchase the full version.

With shareware proving to be a good way to sell and distribute games, especially with Doom proving its massive success, it became a platform for mainstream devs as well. Eventually, with the internet becoming commonplace, digital distribution took off. Game engine developers started offering their software at low or even no cost for indie programmers, and open source libraries also helped them get started. Indie games also began being seen as artsy and innovative. Social and political movements started using indie video games to send messages. With Steam taking off and their Greenlight program (which despite being a bit opaque and awkward, still helped indie games), as well as Xbox, PlayStation, and the iOS store making game development on them easier, indie developers had a place to sell their games as well to the rest of the world. With Steam Direct replacing the Greenlight program, Steam became a haven for indie video games.

 

However, around 2015, the perception of indie games began to change. More and more people in the game industry began worrying about an oversaturation of lackluster indie video games as a result of how easy it was to make and distribute them. Digital platforms were overcrowded and it was hard for games to gain visibility even if well made. This is still a worry for some but indie video games are nevertheless adored by the gaming community for the unique games they bring to the table.

Finally, indie games constantly raise the bar when it comes to innovation. An important result of this is that a lot of the ideas of these games, if successful, are adopted by AAA and AA studios and eventually become mainstream. For example, Frictional Games made Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then Penumbra: Black Plague. Released in 2008, the latter was one of the first survival horror games that focused minimally on combat, ensuring the player felt a real sense of fright when they couldn’t fight their adversaries in game. This game, while revolutionary and successful, did not have the polish of a AAA game. Alien: Isolation, published in 2014 by Sega had a similar concept where a key focus was to get through the horror game without resorting to combat.

 

Penumbra: Black Plague's eerie gameplay contributed to a whole new generation of horror games.

Another game we can take as an example is Player Unknown’s: Battlegrounds (PUBG). Upon this indie release’s stupendous success, several AAA games with similar concepts started coming out like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone. Indie video games like Undertale which focused on the player’s choices and characters had a similar ripple effect on RPGs and how player choices can affect in-game relationships and even endings.

 

Factors Involved In Developing an Indie Game


When it comes to developing indie games, many areas of game development are similar to other types of games. The main difference is how a game being developed doesn’t require a publisher.

Size of teams: Indie development teams can range from a small team of developers of up to a few dozen to just a single person. Several famous indie games like Axiom Verge, Undertale, and Papers, Please were all made by a single person.  Indie video games come from many directions. Student projects can turn into future commercial projects for students to work on, or experienced developers can feel creatively burned out and leave to pursue their ideas. Sometimes, indie developers can also be amateur with little experience in the gaming industry and they often have more new ideas and freedom. Usually, indie studios comprise of programmers and developers- game art and music are often outsourced.

Building an indie game: Indie games usually use existing game engines and development kits to build their games. Commonly used engines include Unity and Unreal Engine. Indie developers also tend to use open source software which is free to use but not as advanced technically as their commercial counterparts. When it comes to indie game development for consoles, before 2010, it was extremely difficult. This was a result of software development kits (SDKs) for the consoles costing several thousands of dollars and also having lots of restrictions. Indie developers were usually unable to acquire them. As indie video games became more popular though, console manufacturers and mobile device OS providers started releasing special SDKs to build and test games. These were still expensive for larger developers but reduced rates were provided for those who self-published their games on the console or mobile device’s storefront, such as the iOS SDK.

 

Involvement of publishers: Most indie games lack a dedicated publisher. However, several publishers focusing on indie video games have arisen, and they’re called boutique game publishers. Examples of these are Adult Swim Games, Annapurna Interactive, and Raw Fury. These publishers who are themselves experienced in developing indie titles usually provide the necessary monetary support and marketing but don’t interfere in the creative direction of the game.

Finances: When it comes to funding, indie developers don’t usually have a publisher to help them out. New developers especially need to bootstrap, take out loans, or use crowdfunding campaigns to get the funds they need. Another method used is the early access model where interested parties can purchase a beta version early, and get access to the full game later for free, as well as other perks. In recent times, there have been funds established like the Indie Fund where developers can submit grant applications and get seed investment funding. Finally, publishers like Epic Games sign exclusivity deals with developers for certain durations, and the game developers get funding to finish making the game as well as higher cuts of sales revenues. 

 

Distribution: Before digital distribution platforms gained traction, programmers gave copies of their game to local computer stores to sell. They also placed advertisements in magazines and fulfilled mail orders based on that. Later, the shareware model came out and became popular with releases like Wolfenstein 3D and ZZT. As the internet became the major means of distribution, the mail order method started dying out. Valve originally made Steam to help players update patches for their games and keep them in the loop about updates. It eventually evolved into a digital store for games. Steam began curating indie titles among others, eventually adding Steam Direct where any developer could add their game to the platform for a small charge. 

Recognition: Indie games have a fraction of the marketing budget of AAA games and thus, it is harder for them to be widely known. However, indie video games targeted towards niche markets tend to do well. As for industry recognition, several events and awards have been established in the past two decades such as the Independent Games Festival. Indie games have also been nominated alongside AAA games frequently, with games like Hades and Outer Wilds walking away with major Game of the Year awards at BAFTA 2020 and GDC 2021 respectively. 

 

Hades won awards from almost every major game-related publication or organization, and even those not focused on gaming!

Indie game jams are also a thing, with annual competitions where game developers are asked to design a game prototype based on a concept and preset requirements.

Hades is also the first video game to win a Hugo award, an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works of the year.

Genre Trends of Indie Games: 2016-2020 Detailed Analysis

This graph showcases the major variations in genre trends across the last five years related to Indie games.

Indie games feature the most amount of releases for the Puzzle genre, where it consistently features in the top 3 or top 5. Puzzle games don’t need to be as graphics-intensive or have a complex setting. They’re more about gameplay and engaging their audience, and thus, easier for smaller studios to make. 

The Platform genre is one of the oldest genres in the industry. However, of late, the genre is fast disappearing from AA/AAA titles, and has found a new home among the indie scene. This genre always features in the top 5, with the total percent of releases falling between 9 – 12% each year. Some popular platform games released recently include Super Meat Boy Forever (Platform, Action), New Super Lucky’s Tale (Platform, Adventure, Action) and Celeste (Action, Platform). This is an interesting trend: if you look at these games, they’re intuitive, easy to understand while challenging to master, and have very unique art styles. While they aren’t always as technically groundbreaking as releases from bigger publishers tend to be, they nevertheless satisfy the most important rule of game-making: they’re fun!

The Future of Indie Games

There is an evolving trend where some AAA publishers have been acquiring indie studios around the world. Between 2016 and 2020, at least 76 indie studios were purchased and the number of them being bought per year is increasing, going from 7 in 2016 to 31 in 2018.  In 2019, THQ Nordic announced they raised $225 million to acquire more studios. Even Netflix has gotten on the bandwagon with their acquisition of Night School Studio in September 2021.

But why are they buying them? Acquiring pre-existing studios is cheaper than building one from nothing. You also get experienced employees along with their intellectual property. An example of this would be EA buying Respawn Entertainment and getting Titanfall. They also buy studios making games they think might be huge, such as Sega’s acquisition of Two Point Studios right after they released Two Point Hospital. Several AAA companies have indie initiatives like EA Originals and Take-Two’s Private Division which let them find nascent creators before they become popular and by extension, expensive. True, they also provide opportunities to indie developers but it isn’t purely out of the goodness of their hearts. AAA studios acquiring indie ones is a win-win: the former get a studio of experienced professionals and the latter get financial security and stability. However, this may come at the cost of what makes indie games indie: their independence.

AAA publishers have been proven to be highly averse to taking risks, and it’s likely that they might use these studios to push out content they think will make money, rather than what they originally wanted to make. Another restriction would be games made by these studios being exclusive to a particular platform. For instance, Microsoft allows The Outer Worlds on the PS4 right now as a result of prior commitments from the platform, but future games will likely be released only for the Xbox and PC. The culture of these companies also changes. The way AAA publishers might treat their new employees is an issue as well. A case of this is Disney closing down LucasArts after getting the Star Wars license because they didn’t want to make games, then farming the license for future games over to EA.

The issue is that when independent studios who’ve made famous games get acquired, they carry heavy expectations about their future games. While they have bigger budgets and access to better technology, they also have to sell massively and perform well. This reduces the likelihood of risk-taking and innovation. These studios are also put to work on projects of their acquirers and their own creative ideas are often put on hold, such as Firewatch’s creator  Campo Santo, who was acquired by Valve, having to put their next game, In The Valley of the Gods, on ice because they were working on Dota Underlords and Half-Life: Alyx.

In the Valley of the Gods has been delayed majorly with no release date in sight as a result of their creators being busy on other projects after being acquired.

It’s safe to say however that indie video games aren’t going anywhere. The chief reason for the increase in the number of games released in 2020 despite several famous games like Deathloop and Kerbal Space Program 2 being delayed were the number of indie releases. The working from home situation which came about as a result of the pandemic has not only let developers spend more time on their projects but also let more people who are hobbyist game developers work on their pet projects.

This increase in releases hasn’t just come from low quality projects made by amateurs though. Looking at the prices of the games released in 2020, the average price has gone from $6.3 in 2018 to $7.7 by the second half of 2020. The average reviews for these games are also higher than those released in the previous year, with 78% positive ratings. January 2021 continued this trend, with 756 new games being released, a 17% YoY increase.

Indie games have always been important because of how they push the envelope. This spirit is only growing, and indie games will always have a key role to play in driving the industry forward.

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Game controlling

AAA Games: A Comprehensive Guide

This is Gameopedia’s Game Terminology and Taxonomy series, where we talk about the different kinds of game categories and aim to give our audience in-depth knowledge about them. This blog covers everything you need to know about AAA games.

 

In the gaming industry, the classification of games into categories based predominantly on the games’ budget, scope, and the like can be done into AAA, AA, and Indie games. These classifications are informal and used mostly by game developers and publishers for marketing purposes as well as e-retail portals to categorize game pages. They also provide information to customers about the games’ potential.

The video games industry generated almost $180 billion in 2020. While exact figures for all AAA game-related revenue is hard, Free-to-play (F2P) Triple-A games make up for a major chunk of income, with Fortnite: Battle Royale alone contributing a massive $5.1 billion revenue in 2020.

AAA title games have always been an eagerly anticipated bunch of releases by gamers around the world. What makes them so significant to the gaming industry though? Let’s dive in.

How do we define AAA Games?

We need to start with defining what exactly a AAA game is. Triple-A games are generally classified as those which have a significant budget for production as well as marketing, and which are conventionally developed by major studios and publishers. As a result of this, these high profile games are expected to be of excellent technical and graphical quality with top notch mechanics, minimal bugs, and high production values. The term came into existence in the 90s.

Below are some examples of AAA title games, where we also go into what makes them so. The characteristics we’ve noticed are:

 

  1.  Development budget: These games have a massive budget, usually ranging upward of $50 million. For example, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt had a development budget of $81 million. It is estimated that GTA V cost over $137 million just to develop.  
  2. Team size: The production teams for AAA title video games are huge, with at least 50 to 100 employees working on it. For instance, at Ubisoft, AAA game development involved 400 to 600 staff for open world games, split across multiple locations and countries 
  3. Game scope: These games usually have several features and modes and are narrative based. 
  4. Genres: Action, Adventure, Shooter, RPGs, and Sports are the most commonly seen genres.
  5. Graphics quality: They are expected to be high quality and have the latest in graphics technology such as real-time ray tracing, particle effects, and detailed textures.
  6. Technology usage: They tend to use the latest technologies like game engines, custom development tools, and more. These studios often develop their own proprietary game engines, such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and use expensive technologies like motion capture to render gorgeous cinematics and smooth character movement. These games are made for newer generations of consoles and a higher calibre of PCs.
  7. Marketing push: Marketing budgets can also be similar to or even higher than the development cost. An example would be Final Fantasy VII, which cost around $45 million to make, and had a U.S. marketing budget of around $100 million, back when it was released in 1997. Marketing often focuses on generating hype for the game through a large number of campaigns, sponsorships, collaborations, and the like. An example would be Madden NFL 2002 buying Super Bowl ads. Beautiful cinematic trailers and bonuses on pre-orders are other ways these games have improved marketing.
  8. Level of game polish/number of bugs: Triple-A games should ideally be well polished and have a small number of glitches or bugs due to the large number of people working on it and budget. Hiring famous and established voice actors and character models is a well-established process for these games.
  9. Franchise release: These games are usually intended to become a franchise post-success. For example, Skyrim, Dragon Age Inquisition, and FIFA.
  10. Studio size and whether they’ve made AAA titles before: These games are usually made by large, established studios or talent experienced in making them.
  11. Higher threshold for success: Ideally these games sell upward of 2~ million copies to break even if not be profitable, though this depends on their total budget. When The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt launched in 2015, it sold nine million units that year. In May 2020, the developing studio CD Projekt Red announced it had sold 50 million units in a tweet.

Let’s look at an example.

Destiny 2

Destiny 2: A AAA game
Destiny 2: One of the most popular AAA releases.
  1. Development budget and marketing push: According to Activision Blizzard’s CEO, it costs $500 million to develop and market Destiny games.
  2. Team size: For Destiny, according to Butcher, the game’s lead engineer, “If you count all of the test and development and support staff then we’re over 400 people.” Destiny 2 has at least that many if not more, considering the new content they keep releasing.
  3. Game scope: The game features a multiplayer “shared-world” environment with elements of role-playing games. Like the original, activities in Destiny 2 are divided among player versus environment (PvE) and player versus player (PvP) game types. There have been several massive expansions as well, with the latest being new Halo guns being released as a reward as Bungie celebrates their 30th anniversary.
  4. Genres:  It is a free-to-play online-only multiplayer first-person shooter video game released in 2017. It was originally a pay-to-play release but in 2019, was made F2P.
  5. Critical reception: Destiny 2 received “generally favorable” reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Its gameplay and story were both highly praised by several reviewers and publications. It was nominated for and won Best PC Game of 2017 at the Game Critics Award.
  6. Graphics quality: The game’s graphics and gameplay were both highly praised by publishers. 
  7. Technology usage: It was released for the latest generation of consoles available then (the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) as well as Windows, though you would need a mid to high range PC to properly play the game. Later, when Google Stadia was released, Destiny 2 was re-released as an F2P game by Activision across all platforms. It has recently been upgraded for the new generation of consoles (the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S) as well.
  8. Level of game polish/number of bugs: Destiny 2 was relatively free of game-breaking bugs and came well-polished. The game’s frequent patches and updates tend to ensure this is consistent.
  9. Franchise release: This game is a part of the Destiny franchise, with similar gameplay elements and lore. 
  10. Studio size and whether they’ve made AAA games before: Bungie, the studio behind Destiny 2, is also responsible for creating the famous Halo franchise.
  11. Threshold for success: In 2017, post-release, Bungie shared that millions of people had played Destiny 2, with as many as 1.3 million doing so at the same time. It was also the second highest-grossing console game of 2017 in North America, and was Activision’s biggest PC release based on units sold. Activision also said that Destiny 2 set a day-one sales record on the PlayStation Store.

Why are AAA Titles Important?

AAA games are vital as they historically have driven the industry and pioneered innovation.  An example of this are the Triple-A titles produced during the late 1990s and early 2000s. They brought a shift towards more narrative-driven games that mixed storytelling elements with gameplay. With larger budgets, developers found new innovative ways to present narrative as a direct part of gameplay rather than as pre-rendered cutscenes. Half-Life was one of the first of these new narrative games to nearly eliminate cutscenes in favor of interactive storytelling mechanisms.

Half-Life: The game that turned cutscenes into narratives with gameplay.
Half-Life: The game that turned cutscenes into narratives with gameplay.

AAA title games are likely to continue in this manner. They offer recognition to their production and development teams which aids in getting talented personnel, epic entertainment experiences which attract large audiences, and access to new technology which fosters major innovations. Games and gamers will continue to evolve, but the scale and scope of Triple-A will continue to be vital to provide amazing opportunities.

AAA games can provide the resources, stability, and talent to make the games all of us aspire to play someday.

History of the AAA Game Industry

The term “AAA” started to be heard frequently in the late 1990s, when a few development companies started using the expression at gaming conventions in the US. The term was borrowed from the credit industry’s bond ratings, where “AAA” bonds represented the safest opportunity most likely to meet their financial goals.

One of the first video games that was developed at an Triple-A scale was Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy VII in 1997, which cost an estimated $40–45 million (post adjustment for inflation, $64–73 million) to develop, making it the most expensive video game ever produced up until then. It had unprecedented cinematic CGI production values, movie-like presentation, orchestral music, and innovative blend of gameplay with dynamic cinematic camerawork. Its expensive advertisement campaign was also a novel venture for a video game.

One of the first AAA games ever made
Final Fantasy VII: One of the first AAA games made.

This spurred on future AAA title releases to have a strong emphasis on innovation and narrative-driven gameplay set amidst state-of-the art graphics.

 

The Most Famous AAA Studios

Now that we’ve examined what exactly makes a AAA game, below are some of the most beloved and prominent Triple-A studios with their popular releases. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means- it is just meant to provide you with an idea of what kind of studios develop and publish these games.

  1. Square Enix (Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider)
  2. Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry)
  3. Riot Games (League of Legends, VALORANT)
  4. Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto)
  5. Nintendo (Mario, Pokemon)
  6. Activision (Overwatch, Call of Duty)
  7. EA (FIFA, Battlefield)
  8. Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout)
  9. Capcom (Resident Evil, Street Fighter)
  10. Sony Interactive Entertainment (God of War, Gran Turismo)

Prominent Genres and Trends of AAA Games

In one of our prior articles, we explored genre trends in the console market across the past five years for AAA, AA, and Indie releases. This graph below showcases the major variations in genre trends across the last five years related to Triple-A games.

AAA Genre Trends

You can see that two genres feature consistently at the top every year – Action and Adventure. Some of the popular games belonging to these two genres over the past five years include Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Action, Adventure), Red Dead Redemption 2 (Adventure), and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Action, Shooter). 

Some of the most well-received Role-Playing Games of the past five years are all AAA titles. These include Final Fantasy VII Remake (Role-Playing) and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Role-Playing, Adventure).

Sports games have been consistently popular with AAA publishers as well. There’s a reason for this: licensing costs for these sports leagues go into hundreds of millions of dollars and only AAA studios can really foot this hefty bill. 

FIFA: One of the most prominent AAA games
The licensing fee for FIFA and other franchises can skyrocket into the millions.

There are a few annual sports franchises – FIFA, NBA 2K, Madden NFL, and NHL – which make up for the bulk of sales and media attention each year.

Franchises

Quite often, AAA title games are intended to be a series of games under a similar title or set in the same universe. Popular characters come back and/or are referred to, and the storyline may continue. The technical definition of a video game franchise would be an iterative series of game products developed around a demand for the services/value of the intellectual property. Once a new single and unique game is released and copyrighted, the brand is established with the first iteration consisting as the IP’s basis of design and definition.

 

AAA titles are unique amidst other game types because they are developed often with the intention of being a franchise. The massive investment these games require means that they become franchises if the initial game is successful. An example of this not occurring would be Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. This was an action RPG game released in 2012 with a sequel planned, developed by 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. The studio secured a $75 million loan guarantee from the economic development board of Rhode Island for establishing 38 Studios within the state and promoting job growth. The initial sales within the first three months post-release were around 1.3 million. Though impressive, Rhode Island recognized that the title was expected to have hit 3 million units by this point for 38 Studios to pay back the loan. 

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a game that deserved but didn't get its sequel (yet.)

38 Studios defaulted on one of the loan repayments, leading to a publisher to pull out of a US$35 million investment in a sequel. The studio managed to make the next payment, but could not make payroll or other expenses, and shortly later declared bankruptcy by May 2012. On the contrary, games like Call of Duty, FIFA, and the like, once successful initially, have continued being a great source of revenue for their developers and publishers. 

Publishers like going for franchises because they already have a dedicated fanbase who would be interested in the game beforehand and this increases copies sold. It is also easier to build upon a pre-existing universe and lore. The most successful video game franchises have been made by AAA developers and publishers and remain popular till date because they have developed a large audience over time while maintaining a reasonable quality to their products to keep their players happy.

The Future of AAA Games

When AAA games started out, the focus was on pushing out innovative single-payment games with great narratives, gameplay, and state-of-the-art graphics. However, with budgets being so high for these games, they had to think out of the box to beat their competition and make a profit. One of the major ways they did this was after the release of the 7th generation consoles. Along with the internet capabilities of that time, these studios were now capable of releasing optional post launch content for games. Games received bonus content in the form of DLCs, which added new areas, quests, and storylines for the player to enjoy. 

A lot of AAA games these days follow the GaaS- games as a service. GaaS is a business strategy while F2P is a revenue model. The most successful AAA titles which use this model ensure that they are transparent about what players get by buying a subscription or season pass, and that this is more than the cost of entry. Another thing to note when it comes to GaaS games is how they manage tie-ups and sponsorships. Whether it is Valorant’s Zedd x Valorant series of gun skins or Fortnite’s various collaborations with movies, shows, and musicians, they capitalize on several fanbases to sell add-ons to their players that make them happy.

Fortnite
Fortnite makes a LOT of money off its skins from other famous franchises like Marvel, DC, and even anime like Naruto.

However, microtransactions, loot boxes, and the like which necessitate additional payment from players for uncertain rewards, especially when it’s hard to grind these rewards which are almost compulsory for game progression for free, have proven unpopular. These questionable business tactics have led several gamers to boycott such games. It is however heartwarming to see games like Borderlands 3- a game where loot boxes and microtransactions can thrive- outright stating that there would be none of those. And they kept their promise. Studios which manage to successfully make and sell games without resorting to microtransactions and loot boxes continue to be well received.

Another trend to notice: in the last decade, free-to-play GaaS AAA games have more than proved their mettle as revenue generators, with games like League of Legends, Apex Legends, and Fortnite generating billions of dollars in profit for their developers and publishers, while also driving a related industry up significantly- esports, which in turn improves their popularity and brings in more players. 

AAA giant Ubisoft said that they would be “focusing less on AAA games” and more publishers seem to be heading down a similar route as mobile games prove to be the area of largest profit. More and more Triple-A studios are looking towards GaaS and F2P games to bolster their profits. This however doesn’t mean that Triple-A games are dying. AAA titles will always be a dependable bastion for gamers to return to for their preferred franchise, such as the latest FIFA or newest Assassin’s Creed release.

It seems likely that the future of AAA games will proceed in three major directions: 

  1. An increase in adoption of the Games as a Service (GaaS) model for games which are extremely rewarding for their players and generate a good deal of revenue.
  2. The usual franchises remaining as popular as they always have been thanks to their dependable fanbases, as well as established AAA studios trying to make high-quality games for the new generation of consoles and computers.
  3. New developments in technology such as VR and AR leading to games that are the first of their kind.
Half Life: Alex
Half-Life Alyx: A stunning tribute to what VR gaming can be.

According to Harold Ryan, ex-president/CEO of Bungie, the studio that developed Halo and Destiny, “At their best, Triple-A games can be a generation-defining experience with an oversized cultural impact. They have the power to inspire and influence gamers to become developers.” While games at the end of the day derive their value from the enjoyment they provide to their players, AAA titles show no sign of losing their relevance now, or in the future.

We at Gameopedia have specialized in collecting and curating game information for the last 12 years and have been working with companies across the gaming ecosystem. From release dates, genres, and descriptions to in-depth game breakdowns, we strive towards providing the best to our clients. Reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more about our offerings.

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Managing Video Game Information on E-commerce Websites

The video games industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in today’s world. Those who play video games tend to be some of the most enthusiastic and loyal customers when it comes to the games they love, as well as the most discerning. This sort of audience requires e-commerce stores who are looking to sell video games and associated merchandise to give them three things:

1. They need to provide a fantastic customer experience.
2. They need to provide the products their customers are looking for.
3. They should provide the customer with the ability to discover new gaming products that are right for them.

The gaming sector has been consistently growing over the last two decades, and is one of the few industries that has thrived during the pandemic. People stuck at home found video games a wonderful escape into a virtual, fun reality, leading to a 20% YoY growth from 2019. The market reached over $179 billion in global revenue, and it’s not slowing down. Another result of the pandemic is that bigger and bigger slices of this pie are moving online. Gaming marketplaces like Steam, GOG, and Epic Games, to name a few, are experiencing meteoric growth, demonstrating the increased comfort gamers have with e-commerce services.

Challenges That E-commerce Businesses Contend With

Video game e-commerce retailers deal with quite a few obstacles when it comes to increasing sales. Some of these are:

  • Maintaining customer loyalty and engagement:

Acquiring new customers costs three to five times more than keeping your existing ones. If your checkout processes aren’t easy and your website format is unattractive and hard to navigate, it’s unlikely that your customers will return or even stay on your site long enough to buy something.

  • Standing out amidst competition:

There are so many video game e-commerce portals out there right now, ranging from giants like Steam and Epic Games Store to smaller entities, as well as game developers and publishers directly selling their game. You need to figure out how to set yourself apart from your competitors who offer similar services or products. 

  • Obsolete and outdated technology:

If your technology is outdated or hard to use, it will limit your ability to sell. Whether it is your website or app, your billing solution, or any other feature, it has to be simple to use. Secondly, you need to be able to manage data security to ensure your customers’ confidential data is safe, as well as make sure your website’s functioning isn’t affected. If your data gets hacked, it will lead to a loss of trust.

  • Sourcing accurate data:

To ensure that your products are easily discoverable by your customers, it’s important that their specifications, related media, tags, and the like displayed are accurate and contain relevant information. This data should be periodically updated as needed.

When it comes to ensuring that your customers discover your products and services though, one of the most important factors is video game information/metadata.

Why Is Video Game Information Important In E-commerce

In our blog about video game metadata, we took a deep dive into what exactly metadata for video games is, as well as the different parties which need it. To quickly recap, gaming metadata is any information that gives the reader insight into the game. Everybody that is a part of the gaming ecosystem, from the retailer to the consumer, uses game metadata at some level.

With an exhaustive game metadata repository, you get access to descriptive tags and information, facts, and media that provide an in-depth understanding of the gaming product or service you are offering. This allows you to improve customer retention, engagement, and sales.

Vital Video Game Information

The format in which video game information is presented for a particular gaming product and how it is used can vary depending on the requirement, though there are some fields which most retailers/consumers need. These include:

Title

The title is the official game name in a particular region.

Alternate Title

Alternate Title covers unofficial or common titles associated with a game such as abbreviations.

Game Developers

Developers are the studio, organization, or people that are responsible for creating the video game.

Publishers

Publishers are the entity that is responsible for publishing the video game in a particular region.

Description

This is the official description or blurb of the game released by the developer/publisher.

Age Ratings

The official age ratings and descriptors for a game released by the competent authority in a particular region on a particular platform.

Reviews

Reviews from major editorials about the game.

Platforms the game has released on

Platform information tells consumers what platforms the game is playable on.

Video Game Release Date

The game’s release date in a particular region.

Barcodes

Official Barcodes of the game in a particular region.

SKU Number (From the store)

A SKU number is assigned to a product in order to identify specific information. It  stands for “Stock Keeping Unit” and is a code used to differentiate products typically by an alphanumeric combination of 8-or-so characters.

Screenshots

Screenshot captures from within the game which can showcase its setting, characters, and gameplay for consumers to see.

Trailers

Various gameplay and cinematic trailers released officially for the game.

Gameplay Videos

Gameplay videos are captures of the actual gameplay featuring its mechanics, artwork, graphics, music, and the like to show players in detail what they can expect.

Box Art

This is the cover a hardcopy of a game can come in.

Genres

This category describes the defining Genre of a game, which is a term that summarizes the core gameplay concepts and elements present within. A video game genre is assigned to a video game based solely on its gameplay, and not the story, narrative, or lore. 

Single-player/Multiplayer Info

This covers whether the game can be played in single player or multiplayer, as well as the type of multiplayer (if a multiplayer mode is available.)

Perspective

A video game perspective defines the orientation, position, and angle of the player’s viewpoint of the game. The Main Perspective refers to the perspective that is used most frequently through the game and most if not all of the game is presented to the player in this perspective. 

Gameplay Engine

This mentions the gameplay engine used to build the game.

Theme

The Theme of a video game broadly covers what the game is about. This section details the central theme of the game. A game may have more than one applicable theme.

Cross-play compatibility

Cross play compatibility refers to if users from different platforms such as PC, console, and mobile can play together in a session, as well as gives details about this.

Community Data

Community data covers things such as how many hours a gamer spent playing a particular game, the number of achievements they unlocked, the amount of progress, and other such factors.

In-game achievements

These are achievements which a user can garner within the video game, such as high scores and completionist trophies.

Relations 

These are relations the game might have to other games or gaming products such as prequels, sequels, DLCs, and expansion packs, to name a few.

Metadata for video games - Cyberpunk-2077
Metadata for video games Cyberpunk-2077

Best Practices For Video Game Metadata Management

We’ve established the importance of metadata for video games with respect to maximizing how your customers engage with your products and services. Here are some best practices which can help ensure that you’re utilizing the metadata you have optimally:

1. Have a well-defined strategy:

It helps to have a plan before you start out on incorporating metadata into your future projects. An important question you can ask yourself as you start is what your use cases are for metadata. If your main interest is selling video game console/PC games online, ensure you plan to maximize their visibility and reach with well-defined metadata.

This will help you align your metadata strategy to your business goals and identify important activities.

2. Figure out the scope for your metadata:

In order to focus your resources effectively, you need to analyze both current and future use cases for your gaming metadata. Based on this, you will know the requirements for your web pages and when you’re articulating a solution, you need to specify exactly how you will be doing so: how you will be capturing metadata, integrating it with your page, publishing it, and so on. This will drastically improve product discoverability on your video game e-commerce website or application.

3. Get your metadata from a reliable source and avoid crowdsourcing:

When it comes to obtaining your game-related metadata, the most commonly utilized method, crowdsourcing, often results in poor quality information. It’s easier for details to be incorrect or missed out on without expert curation and strict quality control. With a company like Gameopedia though, any metadata we provide you is run through multiple checks for quality and accuracy, ensuring the final data we give you is error-free.

4. Localize Metadata for the regions you’re selling in:

Quite often, video game information in various regions tend to differ from one another. This could be the game’s title, protagonist names, publishers, release date or other details. Ensuring your metadata is localized and updated for consumers is integral to a game’s discoverability. It can also boost sales on your gaming e-commerce website or portal drastically. Gameopedia has you covered here with extensive localized video game metadata coverage across four continents.

5. Optimize your E-commerce Portal to leverage metadata for Discoverability:

While this isn’t directly related to metadata, it ties in with management and can be used to ensure that as a video game retailer, your customers can find and buy the games they want. Some tips which can help make your website or portal optimal for your consumers are:

-Your customers should ideally be able to navigate to any page on your website in 3 clicks. Include genre categories as a side bar and a clearly visible navigation bar.
-Incorporating detailed video game information through metadata for every one of your available products is essential for delivering effective and relevant search results. Account for typos and misspellings while doing this.
-Implement cross-selling and upselling as much as you can in your website pages. If you see a customer interested in one particular game of a franchise, ensure that your website suggests deals related to not just that game but other ones from the series. Add games or products that are in-demand and trending to your home page.

Metadata management is a continuous activity which needs to be scaled with your organization. The sooner you can incorporate a process to go about it, the easier it will be for your team in the future. Make sure you conduct regular audits to help identify both problems and areas where improvements can be made.

Conclusion

Comprehensive and high quality video game metadata can massively improve discoverability, user engagement, and conversions, helping you capture a larger share of the consumer market. Reach out to us for industry leading video game information for over 180,000 games, spanning across 200 platforms for four continents.

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Video Game Genre Trends Among Console Games In The Last Five Years

In 2020, the video game industry clocked global revenues of nearly $180 billion, up from almost $150 billion in 2019. It’s one of the fastest growing ecosystems in the world, especially considering the effect the pandemic has had on people, with more and more of them looking to video games for entertainment. The console market has a solid fifth of this pie, making it an essential segment to focus on. We at Gameopedia want to understand why gamers love what they play.

People with different tastes go for various types of games. For example, some people like games that test their reflexes, others like to solve puzzles, while some of them just want to unwind and build their fantasy world. These types of games are commonly categorized into genres. We have already published a detailed guide to learn more about the different kinds of Video Game Genres if you’re interested. 

In this article, we will explore genre trends in the console market across the past five years, i.e. 2016-2020. 

Consoles Covered

  • PlayStation 4 – Launched in late 2013, the PlayStation 4 went on to sell more than 100 million units in its lifecycle, and served as the home for several bestselling games such as God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Last of Us Part II.
  • PlayStation 5 – Launched in late 2020, in the thick of the pandemic, the PlayStation 5 provides a significant hardware upgrade over its predecessor.
  • Xbox One – Launched in late 2013, the Xbox One started off weak against its rival, the PlayStation 4, and continued to lag behind in sales. It made up for this by providing support to older games through its backward compatibility feature, and later became known for its well-received Xbox Game Pass subscription.
  • Xbox Series X|S – Launched in late 2020 alongside the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X is touted to be the “World’s Most Powerful Console”. The other member in the family – the Xbox Series S – carries the tag of being the “smallest Xbox ever made”.
  • Nintendo 3DS – Launched in 2011, the 3DS was a popular handheld console whose USP was to display stereoscopic 3D effects without requiring the use of 3D glasses. The model had a long lifespan, getting discontinued in 2020.
  • New Nintendo 3DS – Launched in 2014, this is a prominent revision to the original 3DS, bringing along with it several hardware enhancements. Curiously, it got discontinued a year earlier than the original 3DS.
  • Nintendo Switch – Launched in 2017, the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console that can switch between handheld and TV modes. This unique model quickly appealed to gamers worldwide, as the Switch shipped more than 14 million units in its first year.

As seen above, there are primarily three console brands, each with multiple devices available in the market during the study period. The newest entrants to the market – the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S – arrived in November 2020, marking a new generation of consoles.

Put together, the games released for the above consoles represent a diverse mix, ranging from titles developed by a studio with hundreds of employees to a solo developer working tirelessly on their dream. They also represent a large mix of genres, catering to the varying tastes of the gaming market. When you want to analyze this data, Gameopedia’s expertise with game metadata and taxonomy come in handy.

Our Analysis of Video Game Genre Trends among Console Games

We utilized Gameopedia’s extensive database to build the dataset to be used for the study.

Since the focus of this study is on genre trends among console games, we built a list of games that were released on at least one of the above-mentioned platforms. Each game in our database is classified into one or more Genres. Further, we also took note of the game type, whose definitions are given below:

  • AAA Games – These are games developed by large teams, backed by a huge budget, ensuring the production values are high. The scope of these games is similar to that of a blockbuster film. Only a handful of established studios across the world currently work on producing AAA games, and they are usually accompanied by a sizable marketing budget as well. Some examples of this type include Resident Evil Village, Returnal, and Ghost of Tsushima.
  • AA Games – These games are developed by smaller teams as compared to AAA games, and have relatively smaller budgets and scale. Mid-sized and Major publishers are both known to develop AA games on occasion. Some examples of this type include A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Outer Worlds, and It Takes Two.
  • Indie Games – While the word “Indie” stands for Independent, “indie game” is a term often used to describe games that have been built by extremely small teams (sometimes even consisting of a solo developer), with a minuscule budget compared to the other two game types. A smaller scale does not mean a smaller game however, and indie games are well-known to be creative and innovative. Some popular indie games include Gone Home, Untitled Goose Game, and Stardew Valley.

After building our dataset, we analyzed the number of releases across genres observed over the past five years. We also took note of the number of releases across each game type and looked for patterns.

Since the goal of this study is to examine trends among primary genres, we have excluded sub-genres from our dataset. Before going further into the study, it is important to explain how we define a ‘genre’ and ‘sub-genre’. 

Simply put, any genre that isn’t a defining characteristic of the game is treated as a sub-genre. For example, an adventure game might contain a few levels where the player is required to solve simple puzzles to progress. However, solving puzzles isn’t the defining characteristic of the game. Players do not buy that specific game with the intent to solve puzzles. In this case, Puzzle becomes the game’s sub-genre, indicating that the game has a few puzzles, but they aren’t the main focus of the game. A game can have multiple genres and sub-genres.

Our Game Insights

Overall Genre Distribution from 2016-2020

AA Genre Trends

This graph showcases the major variations in genre trends across the last five years related to AA games.

AAA Genre Trends

This graph showcases the major variations in genre trends across the last five years related to AAA games.

Indie Genre Trends

This graph showcases the major variations in genre trends across the last five years related to Indie games.

It is immediately apparent from the study that two genres feature consistently at the top every year – Action and Adventure. This is true for each game type and each year. Some of the popular games belonging to these two genres over the past five years include Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Action, Adventure), Red Dead Redemption 2 (Adventure), Super Mario Odyssey (Action, Adventure, Platform), Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Action, Shooter), and Battlefield 1 (Action, Shooter).

Action and adventure games have been and will always be extremely popular amidst gamers because they bring to the table the two best things about gaming: escapism and involvement. As the protagonist of these games, you usually have a great deal of power as well as choose how to use it to change the world(s) you’re in. With the advancement of technology, the setting of the game as well as the abilities your character has are only getting more and more awesome, so these genres will always be popular.

Super Mario Odyssey: 5 things that could make it epic

Action games aren’t necessarily violent all the time. Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo.

Following the top two are a few genres that jostle for third place with varying results across the game types and over the years. One genre that keeps cropping up here is the Shooter genre.

Shooter games are arguably one of the most popular kinds of game, no matter how you define popularity. Are we talking sales? The annual Call of Duty games consistently feature among the bestselling games each year. Are we talking about actual playtime? Some of the most played games in the world are shooters – Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and PUBG: Battlegrounds, to name just a few. And yes, even in our own study, we noticed that across all game types, the Shooter genre did feature in the top 3 in every year except one. Nothing quite gets one’s adrenaline pumping like a high intensity firefight. As newer shooter games come out, the social aspect related to these games is under constant enhancement as well with an increased focus on tactics, team coordination, and communication. This keeps the genre ever-beloved, be it single-player or multiplayer titles.

Next up is the puzzle genre, which is among the most beloved genres in the market, although this is not immediately visible. Games like The Witness (Adventure, Puzzle) and Tetris Effect (Action, Puzzle) may not receive as much publicity as a highly-marketed AAA game like Cyberpunk 2077 (Adventure, Role-Playing). However, they are well-received by the market and have a dedicated audience.

Puzzle games are a good way to unwind at the end of the day. Tetris Effect, Enhance Games.

It is no wonder then, that indie games feature the most amount of releases for the Puzzle genre, where it consistently features in the top 3 or top 5 at worst. It features among the top 10 for AA games, while it is entirely absent from the top 10 list for AAA games. This makes a lot of sense because compared to action, adventure, or even shooter games, puzzle games don’t need to be as graphics-intensive or have a complex setting. They’re more about gameplay and engaging their audience, and thus, easier for smaller studios to make.

Another genre that has proven to be consistently, quietly popular are Role-Playing games. This is a genre that never quite reached the top in terms of number of releases, but makes its presence felt nonetheless. Among AAA games, Role-playing games featured among the top 3 most-released genres for every year, while it did so for four straight years for AA games, losing out the third place in 2020.

Nothing beats exploring an alien world on a Saturday night. The Outer Worlds, Take-Two.

Curiously, a lot of indie publishers seemed to avoid releasing Role-Playing games, as the genre always made up less than 5% of all indie game releases in any year. This explains why some of the most well-received Role-Playing Games of the past five years are all AA/AAA titles. Some of these include Final Fantasy VII Remake (Role-Playing), The Outer Worlds (Role-Playing, Adventure), and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Role-Playing, Adventure). It makes sense if you think about it: the most popular RPGs are those with beautiful, rich, detailed worlds and elegant gameplay mechanics, which might be hard for indie gamemakers to create when compared to AA/AAA studios.

Similar to Role-Playing games, indie publishers didn’t release a lot of games in the Sports genre in the past five years. These games however have been consistently popular with AA/AAA publishers. It is easy to point out that there are a few annual sport franchises – FIFA, NBA 2K, Madden NFL, NHL – which make up for the bulk of sales and media attention each year. However, this study takes into account the number of game releases each year, and the above-mentioned franchises are but a tiny percent of the overall pie. 

What comes to mind is how most of these games facilitate online gameplay with players around the world. Competition is a key feature of these games; whether you’re playing against your buddies for fun or taking part in a high-stakes tournament, you’ll end up enjoying yourself. The real-world element that a lot of sports games provide as well, with references to actual athletes and teams help it to stand out and have a dedicated group of consumers. This genre provides a very unique experience which accounts for its consistent popularity.

Riding down dangerous curves. MotoGP 20, Milestone.

Among AA games, the genre features among the top 10 consistently, with 2020 being its best year, where it broke into the top 3. This year saw the release of such games as Rugby 20 (Sports), MotoGP 20 (Sports, Racing, Simulation) and Football Manager 2021 (Sports, Simulation, Strategy). Now let us turn our attention to a genre that is popular with indie game publishers, and not so much with the AA/AAA publishers.

Looks simple, but isn’t. Celeste, Matt Makes Games.

The Platform genre is one of the oldest genres in the industry. Classic games such as Donkey Kong (Action, Platform) and Super Mario Bros (Action, Platform) were pioneers of the Platform genre, and it was popular with AAA publishers for a long time. Franchises such as Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider and Uncharted made their name by being excellent platforming games. However, of late, the genre is fast disappearing from AA/AAA titles, and has found a new home among the indie scene.

The numbers indicate that the genre either features at the very bottom of the list or doesn’t make the top 10 list at all for AA/AAA released in the past five years. For indie games however, it always features in the top 5, with the total percent of releases falling between 9 – 12% each year. Some popular platform games released recently include Super Meat Boy Forever (Platform, Action), New Super Lucky’s Tale, (Platform, Adventure, Action) and Celeste (Action, Platform). This is an interesting trend: if you look at these games, they’re intuitive, easy to understand while challenging to master, and have very unique art styles. While they aren’t always as technically groundbreaking as releases from bigger publishers tend to be, they nevertheless satisfy the most important rule of game-making: they’re fun!

Conclusion

Just like any other market, the stakeholders in the video game industry are constantly aware of changing trends and try to appeal to their consumers. While it’s safe to say that games featuring a combination of the Action, Adventure, and Shooter genres will continue being a safe bet for now, the market is wide open for a broad mixture of genres to be explored.

The fact that the same genres do not appear among the most released games every single year is a strong indicator of a market that is eager to try something new, while still having something familiar to return to at the end of the day.

No matter what combination of genres game publishers come up with over the next five years, you can be assured that we at Gameopedia will always be here. We’re ready to guide you through the exciting world of video games with our game comparison and sentiment analysis tools, as well as other interesting projects we have in the works. Drop us a line if we can help you with anything!

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The Ultimate Guide To Video Game Genres

Understanding Video Game Genres

The dictionary defines the word genre as “a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.” When extended to the realm of video games, a video game genre refers primarily to what players do in them. The word ‘primary’ is important here, because it is not uncommon for games to blend several video game genres in an attempt to appeal to the widest possible audience.

A Video Game Genre is a term that summarizes the core gameplay concepts and elements present within a game. Unlike movies & other media, a Video Game Genre is usually assigned to a game based mainly on its gameplay, not the story, narrative, or lore.

Apex Legends
Apex Legends (Courtesy EA) - An Action Genre Game

For example, an ‘Action’ genre game involves challenging a player’s reflexes or hand-eye coordination. A game like Apex Legends would fit perfectly here.

The classification of video games into genres began in the 1980s. Various authors used classifications to categorize games in their books, but the most prominent taxonomy was the one used by Nintendo. In order to maintain control over the quality of games released for their console, the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo came up with eight genres: Adventure, Action, Sports, Light-Gun, Programmable, Arcade, Robot, and Educational.

This list was later modified to remove some and add more genres, but it also introduced genres as a concept to the entire video game market. Gradually, sub-genres started popping up, building upon the foundation of their parent genres. This is where things started to get a little murky as several lists of genres and sub-genres were being maintained by different stakeholders as per their convenience and reasoning. We at Gameopedia have simplified and streamlined genre classification through our home-grown Game Taxonomy that is trusted by tech giants across the globe. In this article, we will cover some of the most popular genres to better understand the pulse of the video game market.

Why Do We Need Video Game Genres?

With thousands of video games coming out each year, a robust game taxonomy is necessary for consumers to identify what they would potentially buy and for sellers to recommend the most suitable games to their customers. Parents who are buying games for their younger children may like to avoid certain genres like ‘shooter’ or ‘fighting’, where some games might have gore and realistic violence . However, adult gamers might want to explore the same games for exactly the same reason.  On the other side of the equation, online game stores and game streaming platforms can leverage classifications to improve game recommendations and create more personalized experiences for their customers.

On a broader scale, the popularity of certain genres helps developers and publishers identify the direction for their next project. Making video games is an unforgiving business and therefore being able to gauge the performance of various genres in a particular market is a powerful tool to minimize financial risk.

How Are Video Game Genres Defined?​

There is no official body that classifies or defines game genres, although age rating boards do classify games based on the age groups they are considered to be appropriate for. Genre definitions are a mere understanding between the developers and the audience, and occur organically.

That being said, Gameopedia defines game genres as a term that describes the core gameplay concepts and elements within a game

Modern video games almost always contain a healthy mixture of genres instead of focusing on a single one. This makes a game more enjoyable, rather than monotonously focusing on a single gameplay element. As a result, a single game may feature multiple genres, of which some are considered defining and the others sub-genres. The defining genre is the game’s main gameplay focus, while the other genres present to a lesser extent are the sub-genres. We will cover sub-genres, genre mixes, and descriptive genres in detail in our later blogs.

The List Of Video Game Genres

At Gameopedia, our game taxonomy team is exclusively made up of gamers. As a group, we exhaustively play games belonging to every genre across all platforms. Using our own 200+ years of collective gaming expertise and taking industry standards into consideration, we have come up with a set of genre definitions that cover the gamut of choices available in the market. In the next part of this article, we are going to explore genre definitions in detail.

But first, here’s the list of Video Game Genres:

  • Action

  • Adventure

  • Driving

  • Educational

  • Exergaming

  • Fighting

  • Flying

  • MMO

  • Music

  • Party

  • Platform

  • Puzzle

  • Racing

  • Real-World

  • Role-Playing

  • Shooter

  • Simple Activity

  • Simulation

  • Sports

  • Strategy

  • Trivia

  • Virtual Life

Genre Definitions

Now let’s deep dive into each of these video game genres while looking at some of the games that fall under each category.

  • Action: Possibly one of the oldest genres out there, Action games focus on challenging the player’s reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and reaction times. It is important to note that violence is not a criteria that’s necessary for a game to be classified into this genre. Games like Call of Duty, Spider Man: Miles Morales, Street Fighter, and Temple Run fit the ball.
Spider Man: Miles Morales, Example Of An Action Video Game Genre
Spider Man: Miles Morales(Courtesy Sony Interactive Entertainment): An Action Genre Game
  • Adventure: Games in the adventure genre generally involve a player exploring the world within the game while experiencing the story through the eyes of a protagonist. Games such as those in the Tomb Raider series or the Uncharted series are prime examples. Adventure games need not necessarily rely on high-octane exhilarating moments but may focus more on thoughtful, philosophical, or relaxed endeavours. Games such as Gone Home are also adventure games.
  • Driving: Games that are classified under this genre mainly involve players spending all or most of their time driving ground/water vehicles like cars, trucks, heavy machinery, trains, boats and ships to name a few. It’s important to note that the driving mechanic in the game must involve physics like gradual acceleration, gradual braking, and turning for example. Games such as Euro Truck Simulator 2, Train Simulator and World of Warships among others, are part of the ‘Driving’ genre.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 , An Example Of A Driving Video Game Genre
Euro Truck Simulator 2 (Courtesy SCS Software) : A Driving Genre Game
  • Educational: Every now and then, we come across games designed specifically with the purpose of helping players learn about certain subjects or a concept. They very well could focus on a historical event, reinforce development or could be entirely focused on helping players learn a particular skill. In order to make the experience more engaging, the game might involve a narrative or more game-like elements from other genres. Games such as Minecraft: Education Edition and Educational Games for Kids are notable examples.
  • Exergaming: Games in the ‘Exergaming’ genre require the player to perform a physical activity to complete an objective, generally with the intent of making the player exercise. Some examples of objectives could include walking 5 kms or doing 15 push ups in order to progress. Most exergaming games are complemented by certain accessories or equipment that track fitness, body movement, and reaction times. Games such as Wii Fit, EA Sports Active, and Cyber ExerCycle fall under this category. Due to the integration of technology and physical activity, a game like Wii Fit has even been used in real-life physiotherapy treatment.
Wii Fit (Nintendo) : An Example Of An Exergaming Video Game Genre
Wii Fit U (Courtesy Nintendo) : An Exergaming Genre Game
  • Fighting: Games in this genre have a major focus on the players’ character fighting in real-time against one or several foes via hand-to-hand or weapon-based combat. Due to the core gameplay being heavily dependent on hand-eye coordination and reflexes, fighting games are always action games as well. Some of the more popular games of this genre belong to franchises like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat
  • Flying: The ‘Flying’ genre mainly focuses on flying a vehicle, object, character, or even a creature/animal. Within such games, the player has to take into account some or all flying-related physics that could affect gameplay like gravity, inertia, roll, wind and resistance among others. Games like Tom Clancy’s HAWX, Freelancer, Flappy Birds, and Microsoft Flight Simulator can be classified as ‘Flying’ genre games.
  • MMO: ‘Massively Multiplayer Online’ genre games are self-explanatory. The primary criteria is that it should require the player to play online simultaneously with numerous others (could be in the hundreds or even thousands). Some common features across MMOs include persistent online worlds, guilds, clans and parties, social interactions, raids and Player Vs Player combat. They could also have Guild Vs Guild/Realm Vs Realm combat and an ‘Endgame’ through which the player remains invested, despite having completed the main story or having reached the maximum level cap. Popular examples are World of Warcraft, EVE: Online, and Guild Wars 2
World of Warcraft Shadowlands : An Example Of An MMO Video Game Genre
World of Warcraft Shadowlands (Courtesy Activision Blizzard) : An MMO Genre Game
  • Music: ‘Music’ genre games are those where the main focus is on music-related activities. A player could be creating, manipulating, and composing music or could simply be playing, performing, or dancing to it. Music genre games like Guitar Hero have actually had a cultural impact with some publications even deeming it as a “Cultural Phenomenon”. Other popular entries in this category include the likes of SingStar and Amplitude.
  • Party: ‘Party’ genre games refer to games that are intended to be played by a group of people together during a social gathering with family or friends. They are designed to be easy to play and simple to learn. Party games almost always include a local multiplayer that can be enjoyed by both players and spectators. Games such as those in the Mario Party series and Buzz! Series are some of the more well known games in this genre.
  • Platform: This genre of games focuses on traversal between platforms suspended in the game environment while avoiding obstacles and enemies. Some modern games have also introduced more complex obstacles for the player to clear, with a few offering physics-based environments to make the levels more realistic. Games such as Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Meat Boy Forever, and Psychonauts are good examples of platform games.
Super Meat Boy Forever - Platform Video Game Genre
Super Meat Boy Forever (Courtesy Team Meat) : A Platform Genre Game
  • Puzzle: These games are for those who like to put their brain to use and find the thrill in solving puzzles. Whether simple adaptations of real-world puzzles like Sudoku or full-blown puzzle games meant to be explored in a video game environment like The Witness, there’s a lot of variety on offer. They test the player’s problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. Puzzle games continue to find millions of fans, especially on mobile phones where games like Candy Crush Saga are extremely popular. 
  • Racing: A ‘Racing’ game mainly focuses on racing a vehicle, animal, monster/creature or object, on land, water, air, or in space. The player usually races against an opponent, the clock, or both. The gameplay may be anything between a hardcore simulation or a simple arcade racing experience and can be based on real-life events and tracks like F1, or completely fantastical like Mario Kart. Some popular examples are the Need For Speed and Forza series.
ForzaHorizon4 - A Racing Video Game Genre
Forza Horizon 4 (Courtesy Xbox Game Studios) : A Racing Genre Game
  • Real-World: This genre consists of digital adaptations of actual games that exist in the real world. Card games like Poker and UNO fall into this category. Other examples include games that are played with physical machines in the real world, such as Pinball and Slot Machines.
  • Role-Playing: A Role-playing video game (RPG) primarily involves the player taking control of a character and progressing gradually by upgrading, levelling up, and/or increasing the character’s power as they progress through the game. Common features of RPGs include but are not limited to skill / ability unlocks, levelling up, experience or training systems, NPC interactions, and side-missions. Some examples are Final Fantasy VII, The Witcher, and Monster Hunter Stories.
Diablo III (Activision Blizzard): A RPG Genre Game
Diablo III (Courtesy Activision Blizzard): A RPG Genre Game
  • Shooter: One of the most popular video game genres is arguably the ‘Shooter’ genre. ‘Shooter’ games often require the player to aim and shoot at objects/enemies throughout all or most of the game. Games like the Call Of Duty series or the Battlefield series are commonly known ‘Shooter’ games. This genre is not just limited to shooting guns or weapons; a game like Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets or ‘Spellbreak’ where the player shoots magic qualifies as well.
Doom Eternal (Bethesda) : A Shooter Genre Game
Doom Eternal (Courtesy Bethesda) : A Shooter Genre Game
  • Simple Activity Game: The games in this genre offer a simple activity (such as drawing, dressing up, cooking and the like) as their core gameplay loop. They are meant to provide a stress-free and relaxed environment to the player, where there is a minimal to non-existent learning curve and very little challenge faced while playing. A lot of such games are developed for mobiles, allowing players to unwind and play on the go. Some prominent examples include Star Girl, Little Tailor 2, and Little Panda’s Bake Shop.
  • Simulation: In 2010, Gran Turismo 5 was launched. It was the first game in the series to provide a Damage Model. It also featured weather effects that were available for specific circuits. Such games that are realistically modelled to simulate real-life (driving a race car or flying a plane for instance) or hypothetical (space exploration games) experiences/events taking into account most or all possible parameters, fall under this category. For example, in a simulation car driving game, the player will have to watch the fuel gauge, obey traffic rules, change gears and account terrain to name a few. Games like the aforementioned Gran Turismo 5, Star Citizen, Assetto Corsa, Farming Simulator Series, and Elite Dangerous are prime examples of the “Simulation” genre.
  • Sports: From virtually playing a real or fictional sport to managing the activities around it sports games have always found a firm footing among gamers. Games like those in the F1 series or the FIFA series fall under this category.
FIFA 21: A Sports Video Game Genre
FIFA 21 (Courtesy EA) : A Sports Genre Game
  • Strategy: Games under the ‘Strategy’ genre are primarily focused on measured planning and tactics to either defeat opponents or achieve a goal. Such games may present strategic, tactical, and even logistical or financial challenges. Some notable examples of this genre are the Age of Empires series, Total War series and the likes of X-COM 2, Cities: Skylines, SimCity: BuildIt, and Civilization V.
  • Trivia: Games that fall under the ‘Trivia’ genre, just like their real-life counterparts, focus on asking players questions on various subjects or themes and scoring them based on the accuracy of their responses. Some well known trivia games are Scene It?, Trivia Crack, QuizUp, and Lights, Camera, Action.
  • Virtual Life: ‘Virtual Life’ games are focused on virtually recreating the mundane, day-to-day activities of real-life. This usually involves the players’ character performing tasks like sleeping, eating, bathing, shopping, working, and visiting friends to name a few and leading a relatively full virtual life. The Sims Series of games is a very popular example in this genre.

Conclusion

The sheer number and variety of games released every year makes it tough to keep track of the evolving trends, including the rise of new video game genres. This is where a deep and nuanced taxonomy created by passionate gamers and industry veterans, like those at Gameopedia, can help. With a coverage of over 180,000+ games, we can help online retailers, game streaming platforms, and the like categorize games on their platforms more efficiently, thus improving discoverability, recommendations, and personalization. 

Drop an email at [email protected] to talk to our experts.

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The Definitive Database Of Video Games

With an estimated market size of $167.5 billion, the video game industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings around fifty years ago. Once marketed almost exclusively towards kids and teens, video games have now matured to create unique experiences for adults as well. This is helped by the fact that the children who grew up playing video games in the 20th century stuck to their hobby and are now adult gamers.

A natural consequence of this evolution is that there are now multiple genres of games to choose from, with each game further having several sub-genres and other elements that make it unique. Even for the most passionate gamer, it can be hard to keep track of the multitude of games arriving in the market each year. This is one of the reasons for the existence of a Video Game Database.

What is a Video Game Database?

A Video Game Database contains intricate video game data on multiple aspects of each game. There were some databases that started in the 1990s, became popular and in fact continue to thrive today. These were almost always crowd-sourced and worked as a good source for gamers and enthusiasts. 

Since then, Video Game Databases have continued to evolve and gave rise to niche Professional Databases for more intricate requirements. They are maintained by teams of video game experts, who take great care in curating the data entered into the database. Their goal is to provide curated and classified high-quality video game data for the gaming ecosystem. 

Before we dive deeper into the two types of databases mentioned above, let us examine the need for a Video Game Database in the first place.

The Need For A Database Of Video Games

With thousands of video games releasing on just one popular marketplace (Steam) every year, it is clear to anyone who works in the industry that there needs to be a process through which one can organize and study data regarding major releases. This is where a database of video games comes into the picture. A properly managed database can provide accurate information about an assortment of games.

The two major types of Video Game Databases – crowdsourced and professionally managed – are both essential to organize and understand the huge stream of data pouring in each year. This video game data, when used efficiently, has several applications, the most prominent of which is to help consumers make smart purchases.

Now let us compare the two major types of databases, looking at the benefits and limitations of each one.

Crowdsourced vs Professional Databases

Video Game Database

What does a Video Game Database contain?

  • Video Game Metadata (Basic information) – This includes information like the game’s release date, developer/publisher, age ratings, release platforms, and so on. Video game metadata is used to quickly identify core information about a game, which can then be used to find games with similar data. 
  • Game Breakdown/Teardown  – A breakdown/teardown of a game breaks down the various concepts and components that make up a game, to analyze what makes it tick. This builds upon the information included in the metadata and adds on data like Genre, Gameplay Actions, Game Concepts (Design choices used in the game), Perspective, Types of Elements used (weapons, mods, and so on). Building upon information collected in a game breakdown, Games can be classified into groups. This classification helps in identifying patterns between games. 
  • Game-related multimedia– These include screenshots, high-definition trailers, and gameplay videos.
  • Relations – This information analyzes how a game is related to other games in a series or franchise. For example, a series includes games that continue their story with sequels. An example of this is the Halo series. A franchise is a group of games that all revolve around a common theme, but have their individual stories. An example of this is the Assassin’s Creed franchise (which, interestingly, also has a series of sequels included)

This varied mix of information enriches the value that a database can provide, giving rise to many potential applications. So, who exactly taps into this potential?

Who Needs A Database Of Video Games?

  • eCommerce Stores – Digital game purchases have gone up by leaps and bounds in recent years. This makes it important for online game stores to ensure that they provide accurate data that are always up to date about each game to their customers using high quality video game metadata. It is also in their interest to provide smart game recommendations for returning customers. These recommendations are powered by algorithms, which in turn need a database to feed them.
  • Game Developers & Publishers – Market research is a key phase in the development of any video game amidst the video game industry. Game developers of all sizes spend a considerable amount of time analyzing the in-trend game features and their competitors’ games to make their games better. Such video game data can easily be provided by a professional database.
  • Advertisers – Advertisers can use video game data for creating better ads, powered by sentiment analysis. This allows advertisers to pick an opportune moment to run their campaign, by reaching out to a targeted and engaged audience, that is already invested in the kind of game(s) being advertised.
  • Media outlets – As competition heats up in the media space, larger outlets can differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing richer and up-to-date video game data to their users via an API that is powered by a stream of data fed by a Video Game Database. The data is then supplemented with high-quality screenshots, trailers and artwork related to the games. 

And it’s not just limited to these four; many digital distribution platforms, gaming websites and forums also require access to an up-to-date video game database.

Conclusion

The recent boom in gaming due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to sustain well into the future. As the number of gamers across the world increases, businesses in the video game industry will need to serve this rising audience more efficiently. Using the functions of a well-maintained database is a step in the right direction.

Gameopedia’s professionally maintained database and high quality video game data can serve multiple needs of businesses in the gaming industry. We provide a vast array of customizable services, powered by our database that contains more than 5 million video game facts/insights and up to 13,000 Game attributes for more than 180,000 games.

Our database keeps growing every day and we are excited to work in the dynamic, ever-changing video game industry. Get in touch with us to know more.

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The Urgent Need For A New Game Taxonomy In 2021

As video games become more complex and have increasingly intricate features, there is a long overdue need for a new, comprehensive Video Game Taxonomy for 2021. In this blog, we will look at the need for a new taxonomy, as well the industries who need these levels of video game classification.

In the last decade, video games have become the world’s favorite pastime. With this massive expansion of the market, every member of the gaming ecosystem, from developers to retailers, now have a larger audience to build games for and sell them to. 

However, selling to this audience can be tricky. Developers and publishers need to understand the complicated formula that works for successful games and then build on it. Retailers, who now have thousands of games to feature on their portals, need to correctly identify and recommend titles that a customer is likely to buy based on their preferences. This is where a comprehensive, flexible, and actionable taxonomy comes into play.

The Definitive Video Game Taxonomy for 2021

Today’s games are complex works of art that are designed to continuously engage a wide audience. To think that only one aspect of a game makes it special is definitely foolish. For example, Candy Crush belongs to the Match-3 Puzzle genre, but is this the mechanic what led to its enormous success?

The answer is no.

The leaderboard, new level additions, timer, move-limit, and reward systems are some of the other attributes of the game that incentive the player to keep returning to the game. More screen time means more ad impressions which translates into more income for the developer, publisher, and ad networks. 

As you can tell from the example above, there are multiple factors that play a part in the success of a game. To identify the importance of these aspects in the game is what matters. And this is where Gameopedia’s Values System comes into play.

The Values System

Gameopedia has been delivering insightful game data to some of the biggest companies in the world since 2008. In the last 12 years, we have created detailed video game breakdowns for over 180,000 games. Over time, we have come to realize that while a genre, feature-set, mechanics, and graphic style may be useful in providing a high-level description about the game, it does not do justice to describe what the game has to offer. 

To help with this, we introduced a rating system that assigns a value to feature-sets and mechanics to help evaluate their importance within the game. Going back to Candy Crush, here is how our video game classification framework would break down the game:

This unique view into the anatomy of a game can reveal information that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. For example, although Puzzle is the main genre of the game, there are certain important attributes of the game like the Beat the Clock mechanic that is more prominently seen in Action games. Clearly, to exclude Action as a Genre would be foolish but it is definitely not more important than solving the Match-3 Puzzle when it comes to game progression.  

This extra layer to the data allows for a more comprehensive look into the game and its offerings. Additionally, you can identify exactly what makes the game popular among its audience and how it can be improved or modified to appeal to another demographic.

The Importance of Detail in Video Game Classification

Starting with Pong in the 70s, video games have evolved from a simple digital game with a couple of controls into more complex entities with multiple characters, storylines, mechanics, and so on. In this multi-billion dollar industry, game developers and publishers are innovating daily to engage a community with a goldfish-like short-lived memory. 

To break into the market, it is important that studios understand market trends, analyse their competition, and identify popular features to gain video game insights. But with thousands of games hitting the shelves each year, it is difficult to recognise what a new game can offer. This is where a well-defined, in-depth, and flexible Video Game Taxonomy can help. 

A comprehensive Game Taxonomy lets you deep-dive into every, single aspect of the game and decode where each feature and mechanic fits in the overall scheme. It also gives you insights into how the developer has designed the game to make it not just enjoyable, but profitable as well.  

How Gameopedia does Video Game Breakdowns using our Game Taxonomy

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular open-world games in the market today: Grand Theft Auto V and Mafia II. Both are relatively well-known but one is clearly more popular than the other. The reason for the crowd loving Grand Theft Auto V more than Mafia II is because of the well-thought out, vast world. Our video game breakdown reveals that Rockstar Games created a dynamic open-world environment with multiple side-missions, heists, and DLC content that immerses the player thoroughly, keeping them in a trance. Mafia II on the other hand, serves the purpose of delivering a more linear story experience, while still allowing the player to explore the open-world.

Both games have been successful in their objective and have proven profitable for their respective publishers. But for someone looking to replicate this success, it is necessary to understand what made each game tick.

Industry-Defining Game Taxonomy Designed With A Purpose In Mind

A comprehensive Video Game Taxonomy has use cases for a wide range of beneficiaries. Gameopedia’s Taxonomy has been created while keeping the pain points and requirements of the gaming ecosystem in mind. 

Retailers – They can help their customers find better results for the kind of games they are looking for. For example, a customer may want to purchase a shooter game. This is a huge genre that has drastically different games that can show up in a search result. A single-player game like Metro Exodus and a multiplayer title like Halo 5 are both shooters, but they are each meant for a different target audience. A well-defined taxonomy can help narrow down the results to suit the customer’s preferences, thus helping the retailer maximise the chances of a sale. 

AdvertisersAdvertisers can benefit from a good Video Game Taxonomy by having access to better ad targeting tools that are built by measuring trends in the community. Understanding the current mood towards popular genres and using these video game insights can help advertisers focus their attention towards maximising returns from markets that are highly receptive.

Developers/Publishers In order to ensure that their in-development game will get a strong start at launch, developers and publishers need to understand the market and analyze their competition. Releasing a game in a particular genre when there is negative sentiment in the market towards that genre can be bad for business. Similarly, releasing a game that is too similar to the competition can also be bad news. Therefore it is essential to do the research beforehand in order to come up with a strong launch strategy. This can be achieved by making use of a comprehensive Video Game Taxonomy and game classification to understand the competition as well as the market.

Conclusion

A good Video Game Taxonomy should ideally be consistent, flexible, and most importantly, up-to-date to keep in touch with evolving market preferences. 

At Gameopedia, our team of experts are constantly at work analyzing the changing trends in the video game market. Our taxonomy is well-researched and built to ensure that the most important aspects are covered accurately. It is vital that you have a good video game classification system such as ours to provide accurate video game breakdowns and get high quality video game insights. If you have a business problem that requires a customized solution powered by a comprehensive Video Game Taxonomy, get in touch with us to start making better business decisions using game data.

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How e-Retailers and App Stores can boost Game Discoverability and Conversions with Quality Game Content and Metadata

The ability to collect from and analyse vast pools of information is expected of all enterprises with a digital footprint. This represents an increasing number of businesses and operations every year.

With more than one-third of all global retailers selling the majority of their products via digital platforms, and the rest expecting the gap between physical and digital retail to shrink ever further in the coming years, it is becoming ever more imperative for e-Retailers and App Stores to streamline their data usage in order to improve uniformity, efficiency, and cost. 

In order to take advantage of the ripe condition of the digital retail market, there needs to be both a mechanism for sourcing large quantities of data, as well as the ability to analyse, categorise, and easily communicate what that data means.

This is especially true in the video game industry, which is growing exponentially, both in terms of overall sales, but also in terms of how many of those sales are switching over to digital retailing.  

PC gaming has steadily been shifting from physical sales to digital sales, with the ratio being 4:1 in favor of physical sales in 2009 in the US, to an almost directly inverse 1:4 in favor of digital sales by 2018Gaming app download revenue was responsible for $20.9 billion, or 72.3% of all app revenue for Q3 2020, across both iOS and Android app stores

As a result of the current global pandemic, which has led many customers to turn to digital options for their needs, Sony has seen the digital sales for their console games grow by 154% this year alone, in comparison to their physical sales growth of 1%. In the same year, for the first time in their history, more than 50% of all their gaming revenue came from digital sales. This trend tracks similarly for other major game developers. A major reason for improved digital sales is good usage of video game taxonomy and metadata.

What is Video Game Metadata?

Game metadata consists of descriptors about the game that not only give you an overview of the game like the developer’s name, publisher’s name, release date, game description, and so on, but it also allows the people who use this data to easily understand what the game has to offer and game content without having to purchase or play the game yourself.

Video Game Metadata

How Stores Benefit from Quality Metadata and Game Content

Video game metadata can be vital in increasing product discovery, as well as providing an enhanced customer experience for discerning customers keen to know more about a product, especially via a digital platform. This increases the transparency offered by a digital retail platform, further increasing the likelihood of a purchase, as well as the customer returning. Video game taxonomy helps in classifying and organizing games which makes it easier for your customers to find what they need.

The presentation of certain keywords regarding genre or gameplay specifications will also greatly enhance a platform’s SEO, allowing visibility across search engines, while simultaneously increasing visibility of related products on the app store or e-retail platform. Powerful video game taxonomy allows retailers to bolster their in-house personalization and search solutions.

Good metadata and  game content is capable of guiding the customer from when they arrive at the app store or e-retailer platform till the point at which they make a purchase. During the discoverability phase, keywords, SEO classifications, and relevant images help the customer along this journey. A varied database improves the targeting of a wider array of customers, leading to increased conversions.

An estimated 65% of users barely swipe or scroll beyond the first images and text they see. The remaining users, however, prefer to examine their products in detail. Access to well-organised video game metadata and game content caters to both types of users. In addition to this, the smart deployment of a well-curated database can keep customers engaged for longer periods, improving website traffic.

Despite the rapidly growing state of the global digital market, the presence of high-quality video game metadata remains minimal. In 2020, most e-retailers and app stores rely on data provided to them by suppliers, and their own in-house collection and sorting. This is an expensive and cumbersome process, with supplier data varying in its quantity, quality, and clarity.

How can e-retailers and App Stores gain the Competitive Edge in Video Game Metadata?

In place of these expensive and inconsistent options, e-retailers and app stores are better served seeking out services and products that specialize in providing metadata collection and curation.

This allows retailers to avoid the hassle and expense of organizing and maintaining their own databases, freeing up their time and capital to be invested elsewhere. It also ensures the accuracy and uniformity of game information across platforms. By utilizing a pre-existing and well-curated database for video game taxonomy, game content, and metadata, e-retailers and app stores will be able to improve existing personalization and product discovery with detailed descriptive tags and metadata.

With that being the case, an even wider, more varied customer base is likely to turn towards e-retailers and app stores for their video game needs. The ability to provide these customers with the most relevant information, organised and classified according to their individual search and spending patterns and quirks by using video game taxonomy, game content, and metadata, is a provably successful way of increasing the frequency a customer returns to purchase more.

With a database spanning 40 years of video game metadata across over 200 platforms, this is where Gameopedia and our products shine. We specialize in a niche suite of data services that improve game discoverability, enhance customer experiences, and increase conversion. Reach out to us for industry leading video game information for over 180,000 games.

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