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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Three-Fold Evolution of the Game Industry

Three-Fold Evolution of the Game Industry

HAU Yong Sauk

Oct. 13, 2011

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Mobile games have driven a new paradigm change in the game industry, backed by the explosive popularity of smartphones and tablet PCs. Mobile games have expanded their user base to people of all ages moving beyond the boundaries of the game industry and promoting technological advances and expansion of purposes. The center of gravity in the game industry is drifting into the mobile game sector, which has posted high growth with its share in the game industry rising sharply. The global mobile game market is expected to grow an annual average of 33.6% from US$3.4 billion in 2009 to US$14.6 billion in 2014, and its share in the global game industry is forecast to expand three-fold from 8.8% in 2009 to 26.8% in 2014.

The future evolution of the game industry is three-fold: ① multi-platforms (device-wise) ② virtual & real (technology-wise) and ③ applications to businesses (purpose-wise). First of all, multi-platform games that can be played on various platforms will be increasingly available. A case in point is popular mobile game Angry Birds which can be played on desktop PCs, smartphones, tablet PCs and the PlayStation 3. With the emergence of multi-platform games, dependence on a certain game console will diminish with more emphasis on game content. Second, connecting games' virtual world to the real world will add much of realism to games.

Three-dimensions (3D), augmented reality (AR) and location-based services have played a crucial role in adding a sense of realism to games and haptic AR, which enables the user to feel the motions of synthetic graphics based on AR with haptic stimuli, is expected to emerge as an important technology in the future. Third, the purpose of playing games will go beyond simply having fun to satisfying business-minded purposes in diverse areas. For instance, Daimler AG and Honda have already exploited games in their marketing efforts for new products, L'Oreal in recruiting new employees and IBM in facilitating communication with customers.

Therefore, Korean game companies have to make preemptive responses to such paradigm changes led by mobile games in the global game industry. For a start, to beat rapidly-growing Chinese online game companies, Korean game companies should ramp up their mobile casual games based on existing capabilities for game development. In addition, it is necessary to project games in a positive light and seek ways to capitalize on the expected three-fold evolution of games as well as to expand into relevant industries such as publishing, movie and character industries.

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