2024 will be a transition period in gaming

The commentary first appeared in ISBTech

Marcin Kosman, Joint-CEO of better.gaming agency:

The gaming industry in 2023 will be remembered from two perspectives. The first is the viewpoint of gamers – the past 12 months have been full of outstanding games, from Baldur's Gate III and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to Alan Wake 2, to name just a few.

Polish studios and their releases have also shined brightly – we had the opportunity to work on such hits as Ghostrunner 2 and The Lords of the Fallen, but titles like House Flipper 2 and Contraband Police also performed exceptionally well. There were definitely a lot of games to play.

The second perspective is the industry standpoint. Major publishers were slowing down, which impacted employees. Union organizations estimate that mass layoffs affected around 7,000 people (compared to 1,000 the previous year). Even Epic Games, theoretically with pockets as deep as ever thanks to the ongoing success of Fortnite, let go 800 people, and significant waves of layoffs also occurred in groups such as Embracer or Amazon's gaming division.

On one hand, it's a consequence of mass dismissals in the whole technology industry; on the other, it's a self-perpetuating mechanism – "if others are downsizing, it's time for restructuring here too, before it's too late”.

The atmosphere of uncertainty is fueled by affairs such as the controversy surrounding the Unity engine, whose owners suddenly announced a fee for each installation of a game created using their technology. Many companies had to rethink their operating strategies, but drafting business plans based on such uncertain foundations naturally pushes toward caution.

With 2024, we're entering a transitional phase, a period of gearing up for a comeback. There will be fewer hits as we await the next wave of big releases. Major publishers will focus on consolidating their positions, which will make more space for smaller, independent studios to shine.

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