There’s never been a better time to be a game developer. Last month, as millions of Americans lost their jobs or experienced pay cuts, game sales reached $977 million. That’s a 52% increase from a year earlier, according to research firm NPD. Sales have increased 18% so far this year.

With a captive audience stuck at home, video games and more specifically, eSports, have seen a major boom this year. And while other industries may have tabled investment deals until the economy stabilizes, investors in the eSports sector are actively seeking companies who are watching their cash flow, using smart technology, and have a vision for where the global gaming market is going and what gamers want.

5 innovations that game companies should be planning for now to capitalize on investment opportunities:

1. Make them fun. Game mechanics can make or break a game. You want players to come back and play your game again and again. Offer incentives, rewards, make it competitive and incorporate skill-based mechanisms. 

2. Online Tournaments. We are seeing some really interesting technology platforms that let players run a competition online, and incorporate automated functions for tracking metrics, ranking, prizing and sponsorships. These DIY tournaments have a lot of potential as it looks less likely that live in-person events are coming back anytime soon. In fact, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that encourages competitive play at the non-professional and local level. 

3. Visual collaboration. While many game companies have employed global development teams for years, setting your team up with remote collaboration tools is now more important than ever. Creativity and visualization platforms like MURAL (which was built by a former game developer)  transform the way teams work and make remote teamwork faster, easier, and more fun. Tools like MURAL enable game developers to share their creative vision with their teams and investors through digital whiteboards.

4. Look to the Cloud. As faster network connections become more widely available through 5G, latency won’t be much of an issue anymore for gamers. And, they won’t have to upgrade their hardware to keep up with bigger, better, and more dynamic games. Game companies with a cloud solution on their roadmap are going to stand out among investors. 

5. Innovative payment methods.  Subscriptions are ideal for long tail content. They are not a big franchise or big brand, but have high quality graphics, unique storylines, or fun game mechanics. Blockchain will be an attractive solution for user generated content trading in Sandbox games or those games with significant creative space for users.

We are looking for fun makers, innovators, and visionaries. If you have a game company and you’re making progress in these areas, please contact us!

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