Presented by Treasure Data

What are the trends that have shaped the games industry — and where are we going from here? Join VB’s Dean Takahashi and Marc Cook from Treasure Data for this VB Live event where they’ll look at how four specific trends, supported by AI and data, are on a course to irrevocably impact the future of gaming.

Register for free here!

“The history of revenue gains in gaming is actually tied to the adoption of a new format,” says Erik Archer Smith, marketing director of data at Treasure Data. “But one of the things we wouldn’t have expected was esports, and competitive online global play has gained an audience that’s rivaling traditional sports.”

However, the esports shift that’s about to take place is the number of spectators overtaking gamers around 2021, Smith adds, with gamer growth around 9%, but streaming audience growth at 90%.

“When audience growth overtakes player growth, that fundamentally flips the business model on its head,” he says. “That’s going to fundamentally change how developers have to approach their game, where you need to think about producing games with the audience in mind, versus just the gamer in mind.”

The audience demographics are also changing in a pivotal way, Smith says. The average age of gamers right now is 34, with women around 36 years old and men 32 — which is also the average age of millennials. As of 2016, millennials became the largest workforce generation; this year they became the largest population in North America. And by 2021, they’ll be 34 years old on average, or directly in the mid-stride of their careers.

“Peak millennial is going to hit peak purchase power and also going to hit peak gamer,” he says. “When all of these demographic trends coalesce around 2021/2022, gaming culture goes mainstream, undeniably. If we think it’s big now, there’s going to be a holy-shit moment.”

The rise of 5G ensures that this audience can be captured and monetized in a way that wasn’t previously possible, as well he says. Mobile advertising, in-app purchases, and games and apps as we know them were not possible on 3G, because the bandwidth didn’t support the breadth of data types. That means that in-app advertising and in-app purchasing, the things that drive a lot of mobile gaming, could only exist on 4G.

“Five years of revenue from in-app advertising, in-app purchase, and raw app downloads was $469 billion dollars in new revenue and that was impossible on 3G,” Smith says. “So if you look at the progression of 1G to 2G to 3G to 4G, each one doubles — and 5G is 10X. If that type of revenue stream was only made possible by 4G, we’re about to see an order of magnitude increase with 5G.”

We’ve already seen monetization models embedded into new experiences, so as those experiences are able to expand with the help of 5G, the monetization models will be able to expand, he adds. Consumers will be looking for immersive gaming and interactive gaming, where spectators can almost feel as if they are the player, and increasingly interested in more sophisticated interactive ads that feel like a game.

That also means that around 2021 or 2022, AR revenue for gaming will overtake VR revenue for gaming, because we’re essentially walking around with high-end gaming devices in our pockets.

As chipsets continue to advance we’re seeing mobile devices that are arguably on par with a PlayStation 3. With people replacing their phones around every 1.5 years, compared to replacing consoles every five or six years, we’re going to get mobile devices that are arguably as powerful as PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. There will be billions of AR-enabled devices as standard in iOS and Android through ARKit and ARCore.

“You mix that in with the rise of AR-powered devices and then you mix that in with the prediction that forecasts that AR revenue will overtake VR revenue, and again, you have a foundation for a real step forward,” Smith says. “The breadth of technology will be there, and the money will be there.”

If you look at any one of these trends as a potential standalone phenomenon, you could dismiss the impact it would have on the gaming industry as a whole, Smith says. But with all of these benchmarks hitting at the same time, from mobile gaming and 5G to AR revenue and audience demographics, the data shows that the story is going to be so much bigger.

For a deep dive into the history of gaming trends and a closer look at all the trends that are going to change the gaming industry inside and out, don’t miss this VB Live event!

Don’t miss out.

Register for free here!

What this webinar will cover:

  • A historical look at gaming revenue and the impact of mobile networks
  • Analysis of gaming demographic shifts, and what could happen when “peak millennial hits peak gamer”
  • Inside data on esports, streaming audience growth, and what we can learn from “stick and ball” revenue models
  • Predictions on the next generation of gaming experiences, and when these trends will converge and disrupt the industry


  • Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer, GamesBeat
  • Marc Cook, Solution Account Director, Treasure Data