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22 June 2016

Internet of Things: The Game-Changer for the Gaming Industry

Written by: Christina Petrova, Senior Account Executive at Edelman

Innovation, Technology

What comes to your mind when you think about entertainment? Art, music and theatre or perhaps TV and film. Sports maybe? What about gaming? Odds are that the gaming industry was not one of your top picks.

Even though the global games market is predicted to generate an estimated revenue of $99.6 billion by the end of 2016, a number of misconceptions about gaming still undermine perceptions about the industry’s influence in the minds of consumers. However, the long-standing taboo that games are for children only is likely to be diminished as aging Millennials, who grew up playing video games, are now raising their own children with technology and games being an integral part of their lives.

A recent Ofcom report on UK adults’ media use habits further demonstrates that gaming is just as appealing to women as it is to men, showcasing the impact mobile games have had on opening the market to a wider audience, which may not have been interested in games otherwise.

However, this particular shift is one of few examples of how technology is directly influencing consumer behaviour and changing the industry from the inside out.

Figures from UKIE – the UK’s gaming trade body, revealed that the biggest gains of the nearly £4.2bn, generated by the UK gaming industry in 2015, came from sales of gaming devices such as consoles and PCs. In a sense, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already enabling consumers to use these devices as central entertainment hubs, which they can connect to via their smart devices (including mobile phones, tables, etc) and use to stream movies and TV series, listen to music and browse the web.

Thus, the functionality such devices offer could encourage even non-gamers to consider purchasing a console to replace the multiple TV peripherals required to achieve similar streaming flexibility. And who knows what else it will be able to control within the home in the future?

All this, however, raises some major concerns about the cybersecurity threats both consumer and businesses could be exposed to.

On one hand we are already seeing a number of successful campaigns, lead by organised cybersecurity gangs such as the famous Lizard Squad, targeting market-leading organisations in the sector. As IoT becomes a reality for the average consumer, every single device connected to the network via the Internet turns into a potential target for cybercriminals.

To stay ahead of the game, however, businesses need to first of all ensure they have a cybersecurity strategy in place to ensure compliance with any relevant regulation in their sector. Yet, educating consumers on how to stay safe within the expanding IoT network should be next on organisations’ list of priorities as personal data is now perhaps the most valuable currency, which people are not willing to share if they cannot trust businesses to protect it.

Image: logoboom / Shutterstock.com

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