What small businesses can learn from the video game industry

I have a look at what small businesses can learn from the video game industry


The video gaming industry is huge. Last year the international video game revenue was estimated to be $91.5bn. In the UK, the industry is reportedly worth £4.1bn. Since the invention of smartphones, more people are playing games in their spare time. Even mothers who had to drag their child away from the TV, are on their phones or tablets playing video games.

Even if you aren’t a gamer, your technological world has been affected by the video game world. The computers developed to compete with consoles and so, gave you the ability to watch films or listen to music.

The video game industry is an example of how a once small industry can become one of the most influential groups. It may be worth then looking at what other businesses can learn from the video game world.


Don’t compete with big business, fill their gaps.

Despite a large population of females playing video games, only 9% of 76 titles in 2015 had exclusively playable female leads. 76% of those titles had combat of some description and of course, females do play and enjoy these games but often these games are targeted to males. However, there is a growing trend with smaller game developers to fill this gap by providing games with strong female leads. Life is Strange, whose main character is a teenage girl, has sold over 1.2 million units worldwide. It was nominated and won multiple awards, including BAFTA Games Award for Best Story. Clearly, the demand is there, someone just has to be gutsy and make it.

Similarly, there’s probably a sector or area where bigger firms just haven’t explored, perhaps because their team is more experienced in other areas. This is where you can develop your brand by building your team to be more encompassing


Recognise your best asset and capitalise on it.

One of the bestselling video games is the Mario series. The Italian plumber has featured in over 200 games, which covers different genres. Mario is a much-loved character and Nintendo have capitalised on this by adapting and marketing him across the market.

Your business already has something completely exclusive to it, you (and your employees). Learn how to develop and grow to achieve the most out of yourself (and your employees).


Visuals Matter

From 8-bit to realistic hair movement. Graphics in video games have come a long way.  The BAFTA Games awards recognises the “Artistic Achievement” of the developers as does other awards. Games that have appealing or alternative visuals tend are more likely to be downloaded.

Invest in your designs, be bold and daring and try to stand out.


Build a community

The most successful video games have built a community of loyal gamers, for example, The Sims or Call of Duty.

The best way to build a community around your business is to start a conversation around your brand, industry and best practices. You can do this through webinars and live tweeting Q&As. Depending on your business, you could try posting on websites such as Reddit and Imgur to market yourself.


Allow your employees to take risks

Video game developers often have to offer suggestions about a storyline, the visuals, the characters, the music or whatever they feel would improve the chances of the game being successful.  Producers recognise this and aim to have a workplace environment which encourages people to be able to speak out or offer ideas.

Avoid making your employees feel like failure isn’t an option, instead provide a space where creative ideas can be explored as this can lead to discovery and could lead to improved products and services.


Be willing to cut your losses

Sometimes a game which despite everyone’s hard work just isn’t selling. Marketing campaigns can’t boost engagement and as disheartening as it is, they need to be able to move on to something else.

Similarly, sometimes things in business may seem worthwhile pursuing but nothing is coming to fruition, perhaps it’s time to stand back and reflect on why.

The last thing to be taken from the video game industry is the importance of perseverance. Making a game, let alone a successful one isn’t easy. People do it because they love games, you need to be as passionate about your business if you’re going to be successful.

3 thoughts on “What small businesses can learn from the video game industry

    1. Thanks for your comment Paul 🙂

      Absolutely. I think it’s crucial for any business to not just focus on their market when developing a business plan and marketing plans.

      1. Yep, definitely! A solid marketing plan is what can make or break many small businesses.

        That said, do you share your posts on any other websites? I work over at Creators .Co (we’re part of Movie Pilot and Now Loading) and this is the sort of content that makes for an interesting read. If you were open to the idea of posting your work on our Creators site in addition to also having your blog/site here, I’d be more than happy to help you get started. My e-mail and more info can be found on my page. (o^.^)b

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