As the games industry evolves, more and more investment opportunities are presenting themselves.
As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #4, Transcend Fund managing director Shanti Bergel took to the virtual stage to discuss the current investment climate in games, and what draws investors to new projects.
Bergel began by introducing the six pillars that drive investment: technology, scale, speed, audience, platform and interaction. He went on to explain how these pillars factor into investment decisions.
"Disruption is something that draws investor interest," says Bergel, discussing the six pillars.
Bergel explains how gaming has become the largest entertainment vertical, valued at $146bn. Gaming is followed by the television industry at $105bn and the box office at just $42bn. Projections for gaming have risen as a result of Covid, while box office numbers have dropped dramatically in 2020.
"The opportunity space has grown to new heights as a result of evolved technology," Bergel says, while discussing how technology as a whole has changed in recent years.
As well as hardware changes, Bergel also talked about how cloud gaming has become much more commonplace.
"The cost structure associated with cloud gaming has gotten a lot smaller," he adds.
While new platforms and services are popping up year by year, Bergel highlights that this is a positive thing, as the "growth of new platforms doesn't cannibalise old platforms".
"PC and mobile are co-existing with consoles, we don't see a one for one swap out whenever a new platform gets bigger," he says.
Bergel also commented on how certain titles can grow expotentially in just months, or even days. For example, mobile title Pokémon GO scaled to 50m users in just 19 days, while Respawn's free-to-play hit Apex Legends crossed 50m users in 28 days on PC.
He went on to discuss to the importance of thinking about where to launch your game.
"The magic comes when you can figure out how to combine platforms to reach the maximum audience," he says.
"With omni-platform franchises, you see the impact that it has on their opportunities and ability to bring people in. For example, PC is where enthusiastic gamers and creators exist, mobile is a huge, more convenient platform."
The mobile market has crafted a whole new type of gamer, which Bergel draws attention to. He talks about how the launch of Farmville taught a whole demographic how to level up in games, in the same way that World of Warcraft did for PC gamers many years prior.
"All the games, from the beginning of the smartphone era to now, have widened the audience so much that gaming is huge and interesting to new territories that never had the resources," Bergel says.
In recent years, more and more platforms for developers to distribute their titles on have popped up, especially on PC. Store front variation from Steam, to Epic Games, to Ubisoft and Origin are presenting developers with choice.
"The conversations that you have with platforms about releasing games have dramatically changed," Bergel says.
"Developers never had leverage in negotiating with platforms before now."
Bergel also mentions how developers can leverage what he calls 'discovery' platforms to grow their games, from social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, through to YouTube and Twitch, and beyond that into the likes of Reddit and Imgur.
"You have to be as good a marketer as a game dev, think about marketing and communications as part of development," he says.
"Anyone can download your app from the app store, but it doesn't mean that they will."
PGC Digital #4 will run from November 9th to November 13th. To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here. There's still time to sign up - to find out more and book a ticket, head to the website.