How Small Businesses Influence the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry is worth billions of dollars and is forecast to grow over the next few years. It is, therefore, not something that is often associated with small businesses. In fact when gaming comes to mind, we’re most likely to think of tech giants like Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and Electronic Arts.

There are opportunities for startups, small businesses, and room to grow into something much bigger, or to sell a business at its peak to one of the larger companies. New ideas are the life-blood of small businesses that want to find success, and the industry is shaped and by these creative, hardworking enterprises.

Here are some examples of how small businesses have made it in the gaming industry, and how they have shaped this continually evolving industry.

Streaming Platforms

A tremendous opportunity for the gaming industry is streaming platforms where gamers interact with their fans and stream live play. These have really taken off with the rise of esports as content

Mixer

This platform was founded by two 18-year-olds in Seattle in 2014. Originally called beam, the two founders worked hard to build the community and their company until it was sold to Microsoft in 2016 and became Mixer. They stayed on for another three years guiding Mixer to success.

Mixer’s streamers can use the platform to become partners in the service and generate income. The main aim is to interact with viewers. One user, Asporus, says “part of the fun of playing is having a laugh with others and being part of a growing community”. Check out his channel.

Twitch

There is a healthy rivalry between streaming platforms, Mixer and Twitch. They both started small, though. Founder Justin Kan started working on the idea as a student at Yale in 2005. Known as justin.tv back then, it has had to adapt based on changes in technology and user requirements. It is now a permanent fixture in the gaming landscape. The company was bought by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million.

Game Developers

One of the key opportunities for tech innovators to make their mark is in game development. There are plenty of artistic imaginations creating great ideas out there, but it can be very difficult to attract the funding required to make it a reality.

Fortunately, there are some funding sources available, including crowdfunding, angel investors, and venture capital companies. The real challenge is getting noticed. Thanks to the Games Finance Market event, and TechCrunch Disrupt, startups and small businesses can get noticed and get the funding they crave.

Naughty Dog

The company that launched the successful Crash Bandicoot series that became an iconic title  for the PlayStation started as a small business. The two founders met when they were 13 at a time when you had to learn about computers and programming through experimentation. 

They combined their strengths at coding and designing to launch their first published game at the age of 15. Some bold decisions, blind faith, and a lot of talent led to the set up of Naughty Dog and the subsequent pitch to Sony for Crash Bandicoot.

Bungie

This is another game developer that started from humble beginnings only to move on to billion-dollar sales. It’s a familiar story, classmates getting their initial efforts published out of their basement.

They had to improve and adapt over the years; in fact, they have been bought and sold many times, and have now gone back to being an independent company. Their biggest hits include Myth, Halo, Marathon, and Destiny.

Making Gaming Your Business

While it might seem a tough industry to break into, there are ways for individuals and small businesses to succeed in this market. 

Game Developer

As a small business, it is possible to design and refine a game and get it published. There are steps along the way that will require determination and an ability to deal with rejection, but if a partnership with the right publisher is established, then there is a route to success.

Esports and Streaming

Turning the dream of playing video games for a living into a reality has become a carrier choice for many gamers. Through professional tournaments and the increase in interest in esports, now is a better time than ever to profit from this hobby.

Finding out whether there is interest and if it is a possibility has become easier, too. Thanks to streaming platforms, gamers can show viewers what they do and build a following.

Game Tester

There is money to be made before a game even launches. For those with the know-how, a critical eye, and the right communication skills, a job testing games before release could be a viable way to make gaming your business.

Final Thoughts

The gaming industry has been influenced by innovative startups and imaginative small businesses who had faith in what they did. The future of the industry still has plenty of room to be shaped by individuals, and companies that do things on a smaller scale. 

Alex Hamilton