SAGE Industry Deep Dive: Gaming

Industry Deep Dive: Gaming

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In 1972, the original arcade-style Pong was released by Atari. Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is often regarded as the Godfather of Modern Gaming with the release of the Atari 2600 in 1977, which outside of Pong, was the first in-home video game console. Atari ruled the market until the video game crash of 1983 - which many attribute to Atari’s very rushed, and horrible game: ET. In fact, it was so bad that they buried the unsold stock of the game in a landfill, which was rediscovered not too long ago. This was the first game made strictly for entertainment purposes and it was a hit at the laboratory’s annual public show with Higinbotham stating that he couldn’t get high schoolers away from the thing – they were obsessed (teens will be teens!). source: listamaze.com Atari 2600 Atari Pong The History of Gaming Believe it or not, Pong wasn’t the first video game, and neither was Computer Space, the arcade game that was released in 1970. To find the first video game, we need to go all the way back to 1958. In fact, it actually has ties to the Manhattan Project. Before physicist William Higinbotham worked for the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, he served as the head of the electronics division on the Manhattan Project. But it was at the Brookhaven National Laboratory where Higinbotham developed Tennis for Two. Similar to 1972’s Pong, the game was played with two controllers and two players would twist the knobs back and forth to hit the “ball” - a small point of light - over the line that represented the net.

1889 1960 1972 1981 1958 1962 1975 1980 1983 NINTENDO IS FOUNDED AND PRODUCED PLAYING CARDS SEGA IS FOUNDED SPACE INVADERS IS RELEASED IN JAPAN ODYSSEY IS THE FIRST COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE HOME VIDEO FOR TV THE ORIGINAL ARCADE-STYLE PONG IS RELEASED MARIO’S FIRST APPEARANCE IN DONKEY KONG NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM – NES RELEASED IN JAPAN TENNIS FOR TWO IS RELEASED SPACEWAR! IS RELEASED ATARI UNVEILED A PLAY-AT-HOME VERSION OF PONG CALLED “HOME PONG“ PAC-MAN IS RELEASED THE VIDEO GAME CRASH 1985 SUPER MARIO BROS. IS RELEASED TETRIS IS RELEASED NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM – NES RELEASED IN NORTH AMERICA 1991 1996 1989 1995 2001 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG IS RELEASED THE NINTENDO 64 IS RELEASED THE SEGA GENESIS IS RELEASED IN NORTH AMERICA NINTENDO RELEASES GAME BOY SONY RELEASES THE PLAYSTATION 1 MICROSOFT RELEASES THE XBOX Video Game Timeline

After the video game crash of 1983 - the future of the video game industry looked bleak.

Enter Japan and the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Nintendo is a force to be reckoned with. After the video game crash of 1983, the popularity of the NES breathed new life into the industry. The 90s and early 2000s heralded in the video game age as we know it today. And the Gameboy brought handheld games to bored kids on road trips, saving parent’s sanity. As of March 2023, Nintendo has sold more than 5.592 billion video games and 836 million hardware units. Their characters are classics: Pikachu, Mario, and the like. Pokémon is a powerhouse with a popular tv show, movies, and card game all spinoffs from the original game Pokémon Green & Red. The Super Mario Bros. are also on the top of the list for the most popular Nintendo characters. And Mario Kart is one of the most popular games ever released. In fact, they are so popular they have inspired theme parks throughout Japan and the U.S. Imagine the promo possibilities! However, when it comes to the start of promo in the industry – the undisputed king was a little yellow guy being chased by ghosts. That’s right – Pac-Man. Anything and everything was branded with Pac-Man from cans of Pac-Man shaped spaghetti to costumes to plush and stickers (all appropriately horrifying). Nothing was held back, and it opened the flood gates for what we know as video game promo today. source: en.wikipedia.org source: No Context Pac-Man Pac Man Costume Pac Man Pasta +1 Life

Player Stats Best Selling Video Games in 2022 Top Video Game Categories in 2022 The video game industry is projected to reach $385 billion in 2023. Video Gamers by Age Group in 2022 source: statista.com

Growth in Consumer Spending on Video Games in the U.S. as of Q1 2023 The Most Popular Video Gaming Streaming Platforms in the U.S. in 2022 The Most Popular Types of Twitch Streams in the U.S. in 2022 source: statista.com

In-Game Loot When it comes to video game merch – the options are endless. Characters are jumping off the screen and into kids bedrooms with action figures and playsets like Peach’s Castle or Minecraft’s Ender Dragon battle set. You can snuggle your favorite Pokémon plush as you fall asleep at night. Desk mats are popular for computer gamers who have built their own “rigs” (aka computers). And of course, there is an abundance of wearable merch from apparel to accessories. Plus, a lot of exclusive, exciting merch can be found at conventions. Germany’s Gamescon, one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world, saw over 370,000 attendees in 2022. The same year, the Tokyo Game Show had over 270,000 attendees. There are also prop replicas like Master Chief’s helmet from Halo or a Black Soul Gem & Spell Book from Bathesda’s wildly popular Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls is a franchise spanning back to the 90s). Or, even a real working Pip Boy from Bathesda’s other wildly popular game franchise: Fall Out. All of these may find their way into a home office, living room, or bedroom. Master Chief Helmet Replica PlayStation Heritage Beanie PlayStation Pride Stickers

The video game industry is big, so how can you tap into the market? Creators First off, support creators! Streaming games on Twitch and Let’s Plays on YouTube are some of the most popular ways for people to consume video game content. Creators like Markiplier and MoistCr1TiKaL have become brands in their own rights. Adding these content creators to your customer list would be a great way to help them build their brand. Game Developers Add indie game developers to your client roster. Mobile gaming, a massive piece of the gaming market, includes a wide range of products from indie developers and big game developers such as Pokémon Go and Mario Kart. Indie developers that release their games on mobile or Steam, a PC gaming platform, are a largely untapped market when it comes to branding. MoistCr1TiKaL Charlies’s Black Shirt Markiplier Hoodie Cult of the Lamb Join Game Super Mario Brother’s Movie Coin Item # X18 Steel Threads | SAGE #63074

The video game industry continues to grow as technology advances, especially with the rise of virtual reality (VR). The industry has made huge strides in the past 40 years, going from pixels to highly realistic landscapes and characters. But, what about off screen? Another large sector of the gaming community is eSports. Teams and individuals will come together to compete in tournaments for bragging rights and huge cash prizes. These players are typically sponsored and sport logos on everything from jerseys to headsets. Unisex Poly Interlock Sublimation Short Sleeve Polo Shirt Item # PSM239 ImprintID | SAGE #69609 eSports Full Customizable Large Gaming Mouse Pad Item # OF-MPL1-AIR Global Promo | SAGE #67695 1 2/3” Custom Challenge Coin Double Sided Struck Brass Item # KB17000 Emblematics Inc | SAGE #52109 Multi-Platform Wired Esports Gaming Headset Item # SJNJZ115 JNJ Promos | SAGE #52299

quest to learn about the ancient, arcane magic of Prom’o. Armed with a rucksack, your staff, and a dagger you have set off from your farm to the grand city of Dalis. After your first day of hiking, you set off early on the second day to find a wagon sharing the same trail as you. For a silver piece, the driver allows you to sit in the back with his chickens. This has cut down on your travel time considerably, allowing you to enter the city of Dalis just as twilight begins to set. If you squint, you can see the SAGE castle far off in the mountain peaks. You see a large dragon circling its highest spires. Knowing you’re so close to your goal – you press onward, making your way to the castle entrance by daybreak. The large wooden door looms ahead of you, SAGE is emblazoned within the wood. You reach up your fist and knock. A small goblin opens the door, bowing low. long time ago, in a land named P’promoria, you, a young mage, are on a

“Welcome!” They squeak. “We have been expecting you!” They open the door further, allowing you inside. “Come this way!” They wave you towards a staircase in which they lead you up. Coming to the first door, they open it (with some difficulty) to reveal a magnificent library. “Please! Study as much as you can!” The goblin squeaks and with that, disappears into a tiny puff of smoke. You go to the large desk in the center of the room, flipping open the large tome that’s sitting upon it, and start your search.

Battling the Dragon By the time the 1970s rolled around, wargames were not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination - even in the White House where the Kennedy administration would simulate possible outcomes of the Cold War. Those interested in wargames as a hobby would buy pewter cast miniatures of whichever battle they were simulating - The Revolutionary War, the War of the Roses, etc. They would spend time meticulously painting their miniatures and set them up on a mock battlefield. In the early 70s, Gary Gygax had produced and published a wargame called Chainmail, expanding on and tweaking the rules of an existing wargame. But it wasn’t until 1974 when Gary and Dave Arneson teamed up to create Dungeons & Dragons. Armed with only $2k, they managed to produce 1,000 copies of the set. The original set included three digest-sized books: Volume 1: Men & Magic, Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure, and Volume 3: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. This was the start of a cult classic. D&D Animated Series Figure Acererak Shirt

In 1983, kids saw the release of the Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series, which spawned a few action figures of the line. The figures were just rereleased from toy giants Hasbro and Super7. Plus, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the popularity of modern shows like Stranger Things and Critical Role, Dungeons & Dragons has made a resurgence in recent years. In 2022, even movie studios got in on the game with the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. But the merch doesn’t just stop at t-shirts and action figures (though those are important too!). It has expanded to other parts of the industry as well. Game stores, miniature makers, paint, and basing (or diorama making) are also vital parts of the tabletop gaming industry. In addition, content creators like YouTubers NinJon, Miniac, and RealTerrainHobies have made their careers painting minis, building dioramas and scenery, and showing their audience the processes and best products to use. They will often sell shirts, mugs, painting mats, and other accessories to their viewers. With the accessibility of 3D printers now available to the general public, many Patreons, Kickstarters, and GoFundMes have been spurred on by those looking to make and sculpt their own minis and provide the files to the community to print and paint themselves at home for a fee. Army Painter Paint Set D&D Original 1947 Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series: 1983-1985

Warhammer 40K Games Workshop was founded in 1975 in Nottingham, England and originally produced wooden boards for board games like backgammon. They soon became the importer of Dungeons & Dragons for the U.S. In 1987 came Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer 40K with Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game in 2001, and Warhammer Age of Sigmar coming in 2015. The community surrounding Warhammer is just as big as Dungeons & Dragons, with many of the miniature painters mentioned previously painting Warhammer models and building their armies. They even compete every year in The Golden Demon – a painting competition at AdeptiCon, which is a large wargaming convention that holds tournaments, hobby seminars, and more. The Golden Demon is one of the most prestigious awards in the community that showcases some of the best miniature painters out there. Army Painter Grass Golden Demon Duel Gold Golden Demon Large Model Gold Army Painter Tufts

Split the Deck Roleplay games and wargaming isn’t the only thing out there either – let’s talk cards! And no, not just solitaire or poker. We’re talking about things like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. It’s the age-old question which came first: the card game, the tv show, or the video game? Well, you might be surprised to know, it’s the video game, but what spawned from that game became one of the most impressive franchises of all time. Kids would have a blast trading Pokémon cards on the playground and battling them during the summer. But even that doesn’t compare to Magic: The Gathering. source: wargamer.com source: stock.adobe.com

Magic: The Gathering In 2019, MIT published a scientific paper that called Magic: The Gathering the hardest game in the world. With over 25,000 cards to choose from and over 2,000 rules – not even a computer could figure who would win in a game. The game was founded in 1993 by Richard Garfield and released by Wizards of the Coast (now a subsidiary of Hasbro). Magic was the first trading card game ever. No one had seen something like it before and it took the gaming community by storm. In fact, it’s become a billion-dollar brand with it making $1.1 billion in 2022 alone. According to the New York Times, there are over 50,000 million players. There are video games – including mobile games where people can play with virtual cards, comic books, a Caribbean cruise (crazy, right?), and even an animated series that’s slated to be released for Netflix. source: stock.adobe.com

When it comes to tabletop games and card games how do the points add up? There are 50 million D&D players worldwide. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves in the box office. Points Total The most expensive Pokémon card ever sold was not the 1999 Pokémon Base Set Shadowless 1st edition Holo Charizard but a 1998 Pikachu-Holo Illustrator card that was a prize for a drawing contest. With less than 20 in existence, it sold for $6 million. The most expensive Magic: The Gathering card ever sold was sold in 2023 to Post Malone for $2 million. It was a rare Lord of the Rings: The One Ring card. Source: sportsillustrated.com, nytimes.com, dicecove.com, forbes.com, and technologyreview.com Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves

When it comes to promo, the options, much like for video games, are endless! Dice bags, t-shirts, and card holders are all great, unique ideas for your local game store to promote their business. Sponsors can utilize merch for 40K or Magic: The Gathering tournaments. Shops can incorporate branded stadium cups for drinkware or even to be used as water cups for painting. Shops and tournament sponsors alike can increase their brand awareness exponentially through kitting. A perfect example would be a drawstring bag with a set of dice, dice bag, stickers, and even a plush. Field Notes Gaming Journals Eugene Red Dragon Item # 731 Douglas Company, Inc | SAGE #64270 Leatherette Dice Cup Set Item # CM370RW Pacesetter Awards | SAGE #53025 Polyhedral Dice Set Item # SGMMA075 GMC Promotion Inc | SAGE #52930

Go Forth You don’t know how long time has passed since you started reading, but as you closed the book on Prom’o, you blink the weariness from your eyes and look up. You didn’t notice the two wizards standing in front of you in brilliant scarlet robes with S’s embroidered atop their hats. “We are David and Eric,” the first wizard introduced. “And we are happy to welcome you to SAGE and teach you the endless possibilities of Prom’o’s magic!” The second wizard said with a bow. “Let’s get started!”

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