MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games have gained the largest momentum in the video games market in the past year, according to Irvine, Calif.-based GamersFirst, an online game publisher founded in 2001.
According to gaming industry publication DFC Intelligence, Free2Play MMO games are growing at 35% per annum. "We believe that MMOs will overwhelm the video game market in 2011," according to GamersFirst. "Gamers will have more MMOs than ever to choose from, giving players a variety of games and publishers the biggest marketing challenge. Overall, there will be an MMO catering to each niche of gamer very soon."
After a year of significant Pay2Play to Free2Play transitions from some of the largest video game companies, Free2Play online games are finally seeing top status. Gamers will be enticed away from the subscription and box models and the status of online video games will experience a drastic shift in business model and revenues.
With the proliferation of iPads and smartphones, gaming continues to become mobile-centric, according to the company. Now with mobile Internet users approaching 80% of all Internet users, there has been significant growth in the U.S., Europe and Russia.
"Despite the fizzle of the mobile games hype, gaming has already showed tremendous promise through its drastic growth of social network usage over the past year," according to GamersFirst. "Mobile applications will reflect a distinct rise in gaming, using it as an additional tool of communication and collaboration between social networks through a mobile device."
Digital distribution will also continue to gain popularity. With many retail outlets showing poor 2010 results, distribution options have begun to diversify. "In the next year, the video games industry will see the widespread adoption of digital distribution, allowing companies to quicker access to gamers and the opportunity for new marketing methods including the use of social networks," GamersFirst predicts.