In today's Develop feature Rick Gibson of Games Investor Consulting has taken a look at the increasingly successful network games market.
Worth a total $13 billion worldwide in 2008, the likes of MMOs, virtual worlds and casual online titles are beginning to become a dominant force that affects the business of game making across the industry. EA alone expects to make $500 million from this category in its 2010 financial year.
Recognising the significance of these facts, Gibson takes a look at the history of networked gaming, and explores the role of retail, DRM, online distribution partners and finance in a movement that looks set to change the industry entirely.
"When will network gaming overtake retail?" asked Gibson. "The way is littered with red faces and broken crystal balls, and the impact of the coming industry down-cycle merging with a global recession and rampant globalisation of the industry will have highly unpredictable effects on the market."
To read Gibson's full answer, and to find out more about the evolution of network gaming, click here.