In 2017, Nintendo’s Super Mario Run was the most popular app games on both Itunes and Google Play stores. Moreover, Mario Kart 8 was the 10th best selling game in the US in 2017, cementing its place a classic and great game developer. However, what this shows is a new way in which we game. For years, Nintendo championed the handheld gaming device, with the Gameboy and more recently, the Switch, which allows you to game at home on a TV and continue gaming as you leave the house. But with Super Mario Run shows how these companies are aware of the mobile gaming sector and how important it is to both gamers and developers alike. In the job market, between 2004 and 2010, the job opportunities for games developers decreased massively. According to recruiter.com, the US market for these roles dropped by a third in this period. There a number of reasons for this. The first and most prominent was the 2007 and 2008 financial crash. Of course, many jobs, including ones that required heavy investment including construction and large film projects, were at risk. The gaming sector also suffered and only large studios or those bankrolled by larger parent companies were able to weather the storm. Many small or freelance studios struggled in this period. Other reasons include the formatting of games, a drop in disposable income and, most importantly, the rise of the smartphone.
Gaming Apps, behind the growth
This final point is what kicked off the growth after 2010. The rise of the gaming app is an interesting one. Individuals, often characterized as teenagers in their parents spare room, were developing apps before the big companies were, and to an extent, this is true. Before this, online sites such as Miniclip were producing these games extraordinarily cheaply, but they lacked the depth of a console game. Mobile app games then found a place in the market as either a freeium games with in-game purchases, bought games, or partners, or commonly known as add on games to console games. These games did two things for gaming companies. First, they diversified their revenue streams, and second, wrapped consumers with marketing for future games on a variety of consoles. But what this growth then needed was more game developers. This is exactly what happened from 2011 onwards. According to a Google Trends report by gamingtrends.org, grading job opportunities from 0 – 100, the lowest point was March/April 2011, where the trend score was at 42. By December 2017, the score was at 98, with almost constant growth since its low point. Of course, there is an argument that now, the score and the demand for these jobs can only fall, but now is definitely the time that, if you’ve ever fancied yourself as game designer or programmer, is to give it a go. Fortunately, Stone River eLearning has you covered!