These games are addicting and entertaining, but they’re also a business opportunity. Recently, a report from market research firm Research and Markets stated that the global market for these web-based games is growing at a modest but steady pace, and is expected to reach a valuation of $6.5 billion by 2030.
This is nearly double the market’s worth of $3.5 billion in 2019 and signals a solid interest in these often simple but highly enjoyable web games.
Web games, arguably, hit a new, never-before-seen level of popularity in the early 2010s, when Facebook took the world by storm and millions played games like FarmVille, which allowed users to cultivate their own farmscapes and help others with theirs. At one point, FarmVille had over 80 million monthly active users.
The writing is on the wall for the original FarmVille game. However, subsequent Farmville sequels and other games prove that this market is still very much alive, albeit shifted significantly to mobile platforms.
Ruchir Sharma, a global investor, writes of the potential of mobile gaming in The New York Times:
“What gaming is likely to do is take the common 2D online experience and add a richer third dimension,” he said. “The result would be fully realized “worlds” where people can work, play, study and shop in a more immersive way, fostering greater social interaction, creativity, and innovation.”
Non-Traditional Companies Move Into the Gaming World
If you follow cloud gaming, you know Google has put a great deal of effort into its own offering, Stadia. Now, they’re taking that offering to Apple’s internet browser Safari.
In mid-November, the company promised the rollout would come after testing for “several weeks.” The app would exist as an app download through Apple’s App Store, but ultimately be “a progressive Web application running through a browser,” according to Ars Technica.
The App Store’s reach and consumer accessibility make it one of the best places to list apps, but it is also notorious for its stringent rules on the content of its apps. This stringency has sometimes led to high-profile dissatisfaction with the platform, but Google (after a long period of negotiations and alterations) has been approved, and a new generation of mobile web-based games seems to be on its way.
Stadia will have some big-name games on its platform, including “Destiny 2: New Light” and the forthcoming “Cyberpunk 2077,” which Google is packaging with a Stadia controller and a Chromecast that plugs into smart televisions. The bundle will be sold for $60, the normal price of a new game.
Stadia’s initial rollout was met with mixed reviews, so “Cyberpunk 2077” is a shot at redemption. And while the gaming market has largely consisted of traditional console play for decades, Google is betting that the ease and convenience of web and cloud gaming will give them a leg up in the industry.
“Stadia is free. The platform is free, multiplayer is free, you can get games how you want to get games,” Stadia vice president and product chief John Justice said in an interview with The Verge. “For a lot of people, that’s very compelling.”
The Future of Web Games
Online gaming has been around nearly as long as the internet itself has. Since the early 90s, when the internet was gaining popularity and the Backstreet Boys were on the radio, now-mainstay gaming brands like Sega and Nintendo were pioneering some of the world’s first online multiplayer video games. The appearance and way consumers access these games have changed, but the games’ purpose is the same — to provide gamers with an enjoyable and fun experience. These new market reports show that consumers still value these experiences and that web games are not going away any time soon.
About the Author
Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.