Predicted changes for the year 2015 in the game industry include competitive pricing for Xbox consoles, better game release schedules from Microsoft, virtual reality technology, and more highly evolved gambling games. There will be other changes too, of course, but these are the most meaningful in our opinion.
Xbox Pricing and Changing Release Schedule
Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, was recently interviewed on Major Nelson’s podcast interview series. In this interview Spencer alluded to several changes that will happen for Xbox in 2015.
First, there is the usual holiday push. Starting around mid-September, publishers begin their mad dash to promote holiday sales. Spencer says Xbox is already super booked and he hopes to encourage publishers to more equally spread their releases throughout the year.
Second, Spencer also indicates there will continue to be highly competitive pricing and bundle options for Xbox console purchases. Inventory is ready and waiting for customers to make their choices. Several bundling options exist to give buyers a discount on the purchase of games plus the console. This competitive advantage has proven well for Xbox so far. It’s likely to continue in 2015.
Why this is meaningful: If Xbox offers the best pricing, you can be sure their competitors will be compelled to lower console prices as well. This is great news for consumers, but does it leave manufacturers boot-strapped?
Additionally, the changing of release schedules from Microsoft is another piece of good news for consumers. Instead of getting one game on your Christmas list, you can spread purchases throughout the year more easily.
Skill Based Gambling Games
Online gambling game makers have started taking their research to heart. New styles of slot machines and gambling games are being released for 2015. These new models are not just a button push to see results. There is now a new level of skill required. Research shows this appeals to younger gamers. Games involving strategy and individual command will now include an element of monetary wager.
However, unlike non-gambling games, those with wagers for real money must have a level playing field as required by law. Although this may sound contradictory at first, game makers have found a way to make it work. For example, obtaining a certain skill does not equal monetary payout. Instead, reaching new levels or skills just allows users to spin the slot machine for a chance at winning. That means all users have the same odds of winning. The difference is that in order to get a turn you must play the strategy portion of the game first.
Why this is meaningful: The days of mindless pulling of slot machine levers is a notion of the past. Millennials prefer some level of skill to feel that a game was worth their time. This applies to all types of games, not just casino games.
Virtual Reality is Here
Two primary developments in virtual reality (VR) gaming technology made their debuts in the past 2 years — the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR. Both are a form of head gear which enable users to see and experience games in new ways. Though not heavily embraced yet, prices and availability are going to continue to make VR a reality for more users in 2015. The Oculus Rift is now scheduled for consumer release sometime in 2015, while the Samsung is expected in the summer of 2015.
Why this is meaningful: Users have been long awaiting virtual reality simulators. These devices are now here and the technology is only going to expand at increasing rates. This could be the year that marks history as the birth of VR for the masses.
2015, the Year of Change
The year 2015 will no doubt bring new and exciting changes to the gaming industry at large. The above samples are just a few of the changes we suspect. Others are still in the making. We’re looking forward to 2015 with joy!
[Photo Credit 1: Davidlohr Bueso]
[Photo Credit 2: MsSaraKelly]