Gaming is Eating the World

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Dear subscribers,

Gaming made $175B globally in 2020. That’s bigger than the:

  1. Movies ($81B) and music industries ($23B) combined

  2. NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB combined ($75B)

What used to be a fringe activity is now by far the largest entertainment category.

But gaming is not just eating entertainment, it’s also eating the rest of the world.

Let’s explore how gaming is transforming:

  1. 🎬 Movies and TV

  2. 🎵 Music

  3. 💪 Fitness

  4. 👗 Fashion

  5. 🛍 E-commerce

  6. 👩‍⚕️ Healthcare

  7. 💼 Employment


1. Gaming + Movies / TV

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings famously said, "We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO."

After dabbling in interactive content with Black Mirror and Carmen Sandiego, Netflix now sees games as its next frontier. From its 2Q 2021 earnings call:

“We feel our subscription model…[can] support game experiences that are underserved by the dominant monetization models.

We don’t have to think about ads…in-game purchases, or other monetization…we can just be laser-focused on creating the most entertaining game experiences.

We’re finding that a lot of game developers are really into that idea.”

As the movies / TV streaming market becomes saturated, it’ll be interesting to watch how top platforms like Netflix expand to gaming.


2. Gaming + Music

225K people attended the largest physical concert ever. That pales in comparison to the 12M people who joined Lil Nas X's Roblox concert at its peak:

Recently, Ariana Grande held a Fortnite concert that let players try different games to the tune of each song. From The Verge:

The event was different from past Fortnite concerts, as it was about more than just music. Before Ariana Grande even appeared, players were ushered through a portal, where they saw glimpses of some of those big in-game events, like an erupting volcano. What followed was a series of mini-game-style experiences: players slid along a paint-covered slide, bounced around a fluffy world straight out of The Lorax, and piloted a plane to take down former Fortnite raid boss the Storm King.

Finally, in a black room lit by stars, a towering Grande appeared, taking players through an extremely surreal world. 

You can watch the whole thing here:


3. Gaming + Fitness

Nintendo's Wii Fit and Ring Fit Adventure sold over 22M and 11M copies respectively, making them some of the most popular games on their platforms.

Peloton, the leading smart fitness platform, already feels like a game. Instructors cheer you on as you work out and track your progress vs. fellow cyclists. But Peloton is taking it a step further by introducing Lanebreak, a game where members need to pedal and steer their bike to avoid in-game obstacles:

More Information on Peloton Lanebreak - The Peloton Video Game for Bike &  Bike+ - Peloton Buddy
In Peloton’s Lanebreak, members control their cadence with their leg speed and can “switch lanes” by turning the resistance knob. They face multiple obstacles, all synchronized with the beat of the music.

Another interesting startup in this space is Quell, which lets players box and weave in real life while fighting digital enemies.


4. Gaming + Fashion

Players are customizing their in-game avatars with items from luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Valentino. A few examples:

  1. Louis Vuitton launched a mobile NFT game called “Louis the Game” that has already been downloaded 500K times. Players can unlock 30 NFTs designed by Beeple as they play the game.

  2. Valentino and Marc Jacobs collaborated with Kara Chung to create 20+ outfits for Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.

  1. Last year, a virtual Gucci bag sold for $4,115 on Roblox (more expensive than the physical item).


5. Gaming + E-Commerce

In China, top shopping apps like JD.com essentially work like games already.

In JD, players play mini-games like pet simulator and candy crush to earn virtual currency. They can then exchange this currency for free shipping and other discounts on real-world items.

Shopatainment, as a16z’s Connie Chan calls it, is poised to transform e-commerce in the West as well (I’ll write a separate post to dive into this).


6. Gaming + Healthcare

Healthcare is an infamously bureaucratic and troubled industry (at least in the US), but gaming is making inroads here as well:

  1. Osso VR just raised $27M to train surgeons through VR simulations:

  1. People are using Levels, Oura, and other devices to track and compare health metrics such as blood glucose levels. It almost feels like having real-time RPG stats that you can check anytime.


7. Gaming + Employment

I saved the best for last.

You may have heard of a little game called Axie Infinity. It made $200M in July alone and is still growing at an insane pace:

More importantly, people (especially in Southeast Asia) are quitting their jobs to play the game and make money:

  1. Players can earn tokens by playing the game.

  2. They can then sell the tokens for cryptocurrency.

  3. They can transfer their cryptocurrency to fiat money (e.g., Philippine pesos).

An Axie player can earn around $1,500 per month, which is a lot of money in countries like the Philippines.


If software is eating the world, then gaming is eating software. It boils down to the simple fact that the best games provide:

  1. Intrinsic motivation

  2. A long-term path to mastery

  3. Feedback loops that make you want to keep playing

Why would you want to use any other type of software? With new crypto monetization models like play to earn on the horizon, the sky’s the limit for the game industry.


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More deep dives into gaming:

  1. What Social Apps Can Learn from Game Design and Monetization

  2. Roblox: Gaming, the Creator Economy, and the Metaverse