Of all of the industries that North East England businesses have staked a claim within, perhaps one of the least celebrated is that of gaming. The big-money entertainment industry has continued to grow in prominence over the last decade, with more powerful consoles offering creators the chance to create even bigger and better experiences.
The UK has produced some of the biggest games in the world, with the North East boasting 58 video game companies; which make up a key part of the vast creative industry sector of the region. Standing among Europe’s cheapest cities for office property costs while also having the second-fastest broadband connections in the country, the NE has been able to thrive as a video game creation hub.
The NE has been involved in some of the most high-profile releases of recent years, including Mortal Kombat 11, The Division, and Fortnite. Here, we’re looking into some of the oddities of the industry that the region is so closely tied to now.
The console market hasn’t settled just yet
When it comes to console video gaming, it’s well understood that there are three platforms: Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox. It’s been this way for a good decade, with the Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X standing as the three current-gen consoles. They continue to compete across games and services, and have been around for long enough that it would seem very unlikely that another company could weigh-in with another piece of hardware. Even Google’s ‘console killer,’ Stadia, failed to disrupt the status quo.
Now, however, the KFConsole is on the way – yes, you heard that right. Naturally, most people thought that Kentucky Fried Chicken announcing the upcoming release of a gaming console was a joke or publicity stunt – but it’s very much a reality. Featuring a hot-swappable GPU slot, two Seagate BarraCuda 1TB SSDs, ray tracing, 4K-TV Gaming, and a chicken warmer draw, the console from KFC Gaming certainly seeks to break into the market by creating its own niche.
Cash games made completely free
It was well-understood that, if you wanted to play the best games of any platform, you’d usually have to pay. As time has gone on, though, several free games have proven to be very profitable, such as mobile games, Fortnite, and RuneScape. Gamers have become accustomed to playing games for free and then maybe paying in later, but the one form of gaming where this shouldn’t be viable, in theory, is casino gaming.
Casino gaming only works when people pay, with its popularity coming from everyone knowing how to play the classic games. With the growth of online casino gaming, however, developers have greatly expanded the slots scene, to make each one unique in its gameplay and mechanics. This has, in turn, made offering free slots a viable business in gaming. As a good example, the slots library of Vegas Slots is made up of several collections, including ones from the biggest developers, the top UK games, the top free games, and the best from Las Vegas.
The regularly dismissed form of gaming is number one
Mobile gaming is an oddity of the scene predominantly because of its public perception. Many people who play other forms of video games dismiss mobile gaming as a legitimate way to play. The perpetual freemium mechanics haven’t helped the platform earn the favour of those who would seemingly become its biggest audience. Yet, mobile gaming is the undisputed king of the industry.
The majority of the sector is powered by free-to-play titles that offer in-app purchases to speed-up waits. Not only does the vast majority of mobile app revenue come from game apps, but mobile represents the largest contributor to global games revenue. The accessibility and convenience of these games help them to reach a huge audience, with the pricing model seemingly being preferred amongst the masses to the established pay upfront model.
Years of perfecting visuals seemingly don’t matter
To create the ultimate triple-A gaming experience, developers spend years perfecting graphics; be it by scanning real-life actors into a game, as with Death Stranding, or mapping entire landscapes. One of the most recent of these games which went all-out on its visuals was Cyberpunk 2077, which took close to nine years to develop. However, the two biggest games in the world use distinctly low-tech, retro graphics. Roblox and Minecraft are colossally popular, but give the sense that you’re looking at a game from decades ago.
Within the vast entertainment industry that’s seemingly quite easy to call, there are several oddities – some of which game companies in the North East are already a part of. From the spoof-esque claims of KFC to what people truly look for in games, perceptions of the gaming industry are regularly being proven incorrect by innovators.