After a bit of a delay, Microsoft is now allowing for some games in the Windows Store to be modded for the first time, making the PC version of the Xbox Game Pass more attractive to prospective consumers.
The move had been announced previously but not implemented, leaving many to wonder if it would happen as all. Although the new Xbox app for Windows 10 is currently in beta, it nonetheless looks quite impressive. The ability to mod comes in the form of what appears to be an unannounced addition of a Program Files folder named “ModdableWindowsApps”, and the Microsoft store describes that it is a place for apps to be copied “so that users can modify the installation files (for example, to install mods).”
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This is a significant step forward in Microsoft’s move towards gaining more market share of PC consumers, as well as controlling where they access their games and content. For years the dominant platform has been Steam, and recently Epic Games has made strides in taking some of that for themselves. While Epic has made advances with their many exclusive deals with certain developers and offer players free games every week for all of 2019, they lack the same type of modding that is so popular on Steam and which will no doubt be popular with Microsoft.
The move by Microsoft is also likely to win over consumers in the ramp up to subscription-based game services. As the entire business model of the PC Xbox Game pass is to allow consumers access to a broad range of games from many developers, its most recent direct competition comes from Ubisoft as they look to launch their own subscription service in the near future.
Even without the addition of modding, Microsoft seems to be at a significant advantage when it comes to pricing, as their service currently costs a mere $4.99 per month, while the proposed price for Ubisoft’s Uplay+ will be $14.99 per month. It seems like Ubisoft is going to need to lower its price to be considered a viable competitor in the market or offer something drastically superior to what Microsoft is planning to offer, which so far does not seem to be the case.
Although it is too early to tell how popular the addition of modding will be to the games within the Xbox Game pass for PC, we need but wait a short while for the creative individuals to show off what they can do in the games that allow for mods to be added. These individuals always produce additions to games that range from merely interesting, to massive projects that rival the work of serious publishers.
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The Gaming Industry Is Booming
The gaming industry is booming, and it will continue to bring in more revenue for several countries throughout the next few years. In fact, the United States just overcame China as the world’s number one consumer of online games, and it’s generating billions of dollars for the gaming industry. However, one form of gaming has lost its popularity in recent years.
In this post, we’re going to talk about the decline in one particular type of game’s popularity, and we’ll see how it stacks up against the newer and more popular forms of gaming.
What Are HTML5 Games?
We’ve mentioned that one particular type of game is declining in popularity. We were talking about HTML5 games. If you grew up in the early 2000’s, you know exactly what these browser-based games are. You don’t have to download them, and they’re available to anyone who owns a computer with an internet connection. In essence, they’re perfect for people who don’t own powerful computers or gaming consoles.
Here are a few examples of browser games that impacted the gaming industry over the last two decades.
How Do They Stack Up With Other Online Games?
While some browser games continue to thrive, that segment of the overall gaming industry has been losing steam over the last decade. Runescape and a few other titles still generate a lot of buzz, and people still flock to them on a daily basis, but the browser-based gaming community only makes up two-percent of the gaming industry now, and they only generate 12-percent of the revenue that is brought in by the gaming industry.
There are several factors that have caused this decline in popularity.
- Console Popularity: Consoles have enough power nowadays to handle extremely elaborate and complex games with ease. They’re not as cheap as browser games are, but they’re not as expensive as gaming computers. Since the majority of people can afford at least one console, they typically opt to play more robust games.
- Game Quality: While some of the genre’s mainstays are exceptionally high-quality games, many browser-based games are simply training exercises for budding game developers. They’re cheap to make, and developers can try out new ideas without developing expensive titles that might not sell well. Sometimes, they come up with a great idea, and the game generates tons of revenue.
- Indie Gaming: During their peak, browser-based games were free to play without many micro-transactions. Now, a large indie gaming community exists that offers cheap or free games without micro-transactions, and the games are usually more robust than what browsers can handle.
Now, let’s go over how the other types of games are doing.
Surprisingly, mobile games are currently generating most of the gaming industry’s revenue. Only 33-percent of games are developed for mobile platforms, but they are usually filled with different features that constantly generate more revenue for game developers, and people often spend much more than the price of a AAA console game on a single mobile game to enjoy those features. 36-percent of the gaming industry’s revenue comes from mobile games.
The massive growth of the mobile gaming industry is expected to decrease slightly within the next few years, though. There is a new wave of consoles on the horizon, and the hype surrounding those new consoles will temporarily drag some people away from mobile games for a short time. However, it is expected to remain the industry’s biggest cash cow.
Console games make up roughly 30-percent of the gaming market. Statistics for each console vary slightly, but they typically average out to 30-percent of the market. In comparison, console games bring in about 32-percent of the gaming industry’s revenue.
This is largely due to the popularity of console games. Exclusive titles, ease of use, and several other factors that have made console games grow in popularity since the 90’s.
Browser-based games are typically only found on PC and Mac computers, but this section isn’t dedicated to those. This section is dedicated to the other games that you can find on PC. These titles are usually as expensive as console games, and many of them are ports of console games. You can also find indie games that are cheap or free, and there are tons of games that are only developed for PC and Mac computers. Overall, PC games make up 60-percent of the gaming market.
That’s because they’re very easy to develop. Just about anyone can buy some Unity assets, throw together a basic game, and then market it for free on PC. Development costs are minimal, and since there are several free development tools on the market, developers don’t have to have a lot of coding and animating experience to create PC games. HTML5 games are a big upcoming market, especially now that the Flash browser plugin it in its end of life.
When it comes to AAA titles, game developers get the same benefits out of PC development. It’s easier to create functional networks on PC, and it’s typically easier to make the games themselves due to how powerful and intuitive modern computers are. Surprisingly, that hasn’t made PC games more financially fruitful than mobile games. While PC games make up 60-percent of the market, they only generate roughly 25-percent of the revenue that the gaming industry generates.
VR games are pretty new to the gaming industry. As such, they don’t make up a large portion of the industry, and they haven’t generated much of the revenue that other games have. With that being said, they are rising in popularity, and only time will tell if they will become a major part of the gaming industry as a whole.
At the moment, VR games are more popular than browser-based games, but they still only make up 17-percent of the market. A lot of the games are available through Steam, and only a fraction of a percentage of Steam users actually own a VR headset. That is expected to change over the next decade.
So, where does this leave browser-based games? Well, their declining popularity and low amount of revenue isn’t a good thing, but it’s not all bad news. Several browser-based titles are popular around the globe, and developers are still developing high-quality games such as Runescape and Quake Live. The browser-based gaming market may be dwindling, but it will continue to stick around for quite some time, and developers who offer unique and engaging experiences will easily find a reliable audience.
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