Business Lessons to Learn From the Gaming Industry

There has never been an easier time to start a business. Technology has brought the world closer together, allowing people to connect with customers and suppliers from anywhere without even having to get up from their desks. 

Global supply chains, digital banking services, and ecommerce make it possible to transact with ease. Meanwhile, social media, email, and digital ad exchanges make it easier than ever before to get yourself in front of customers that want your products and services. 

But what’s easy for you is also easy for your competitors. The lower barriers to entry and a growing culture that embraces entrepreneurship mean that more and more people have taken the leap into running their own businesses or are planning to at some point in the future. 

So with so much competition, it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to keep customers coming through your door (whether it be physical or metaphorical). There are plenty of ways you can do this and what’s right for your business will depend on your USP, your customers, and your industry. 

However, it can be a good idea to learn from the success stories in other industries for lessons that you can adapt and apply to your own enterprise. One good place to look is the gaming sector which has gone from generating less than $20 billion in sales each year in the late 1980s to a forecast of $221 billion in 2023, a ten-fold increase in less than four decades. 

To compare that to the economy as a whole, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States went from just under $5 trillion in the late 1980s to $23.3 trillion in 2021.23, a roughly five-fold increase. 

So what can we learn from gaming companies to apply to other businesses?

Recognize Winning Formulae

Some products flop. No matter how much you research and test, sometimes, the public just doesn’t get it like you do. This can leave you with a big hole in your wallet that needs to be filled with something else. 

That’s why it’s important to make hay when the sun is shining. Gaming companies are great examples of this as when they recognize that a particular game, format, or genre is working, they’ll double down on it. 

This is why video game publishers will often release sequel after sequel, sometimes with several titles going on sale in a single year.

Of course, it’s important to find a balance as it is possible to have too much of a good thing. But if there’s a cash cow on your farm, it needs to be milked. 

gamer using colorful keyboard

Diversify Your Offering

Abraham Lincoln is credited with the famous quote “you can please some of the people all of the time (and)….all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” 

While this is mostly true, the gaming industry has had a good go at proving him wrong. 

They do this by creating products and services that cater to the tastes and needs of different demographics of players. Nowhere is this more visible than among online casinos who have created dozens of variants of classic games like blackjack, each with a slightly different approach. 

There are some that stick to the traditional rules and mechanics, maintaining traditional features like doubling down, which essentially involves making a second bet once you’ve seen your cards. Others add in novel side bets like insurance and 21+3 which create additional factors for players to consider when making their decisions. 

With this approach, gaming companies are able to please almost everyone all of the time. 

Look for Ways to Drive Regular Revenue

The monetisation model for video games has changed many times over the years, but publishers appear to have settled (at least for the time being) on one that means they can generate income over a much longer period. 

Instead of just selling a game up front and then having to create an entirely new title to get a new sale, publishers are creating a conveyer belt of content in the form of updates to existing games. 

These updates are usually sold to players in the form of small digital downloads for just a few dollars at a time. Companies can generate so much revenue from doing this that many now choose to give their games away for free because they can make more money from the microtransactions. 

Many other industries have copied this approach, turning their offering into a subscription rather than offering one-off purchases.