In this episode of the Player: Engage Podcast, host Greg Posner interviews Lewis Ward, Research Director for Gaming, AR, and VR at IDC. They dive into the evolution of gaming economies, the role of economists in game development, and the ongoing relevance of single-player games. The discussion also covers the rise of virtual events and cloud gaming, as well as the importance of customer support in the gaming industry. Lewis shares valuable insights from his extensive experience, providing listeners with a comprehensive understanding of current and future trends in gaming.

Evolution of Gaming Economies Lewis discusses the evolution of gaming economies, highlighting trends from the early days of mobile gaming to the current state of in-game microtransactions and virtual economies. He explains how business models have shifted towards free-to-play and subscription-based services and the impact of these changes on the industry.

Economists in Game Development The conversation delves into how game studios hire economists to develop and balance in-game economies. Lewis explains the importance of understanding supply and demand within games and how this knowledge helps create more engaging and balanced player experiences.

Single Player vs Multiplayer Games Greg and Lewis explore the current state of single-player games compared to multiplayer and live service games. They discuss the ongoing demand for narrative-driven games and how companies like Sony are investing in these experiences to cater to a diverse gaming audience.

Live Virtual Events Lewis shares insights on the rise of virtual events, such as concerts in Fortnite, and their potential to attract new players and non-gamers. He highlights the benefits of these events in expanding the reach and engagement of gaming platforms.

Future of Cloud Gaming The discussion covers the growth of cloud gaming services and their potential impact on the gaming industry. Lewis talks about the role of tools like Unreal and Unity in making game streaming more accessible and the future trends in cloud gaming.

Customer Support in Gaming Greg and Lewis emphasize the importance of effective customer support in gaming. They discuss the role of AI in managing trust and safety and how in-app support can enhance the overall player experience.

Closing Remarks Lewis Ward shares his final thoughts, and Greg Posner wraps up the episode, thanking Lewis for his valuable insights.

Key Takeaways

  1. Evolution of In-Game Economies:
    • The gaming industry has shifted from paid games to free-to-play and subscription models, significantly impacting game economies.
    • Smartphone gaming has popularized business models that perform well on mobile platforms.
  2. Role of Economists in Game Development:
    • Economists play a crucial role in balancing in-game economies to ensure fair and engaging player experiences.
    • Sophisticated economic systems in games like Fortnite and Roblox highlight the importance of economic expertise in game design.
  3. Single Player vs Multiplayer Games:
    • Narrative-driven single-player games continue to have a strong market presence despite the rise of multiplayer and live service games.
    • Companies like Sony are investing in narrative games, indicating ongoing demand for story-rich gaming experiences.
  4. Virtual Events and Cloud Gaming:
    • Virtual events, such as concerts in Fortnite, offer new ways to engage players and attract non-gamers.
    • Cloud gaming services are growing, providing more accessibility to high-quality gaming experiences across different devices.
  5. Importance of Customer Support:
    • Effective customer support, especially through in-app services, is crucial for player satisfaction.
    • AI tools are increasingly used to manage trust and safety, ensuring a positive gaming environment.

Greg Posner

Avid gamer with a passion for storytelling. My goal is to unpack the narratives of customers, partners and others to better understand how industry-leaders tackle today's challenges.

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