In stark contrast to most industries, COVID-19 has accelerated revenue in the gaming industry. According to the World Economic Forum, the onset of the pandemic resulted in massively increased engagement from gamers.
This is of particular significance for mobile gaming, where maintaining engagement is king when it comes to turning a profit. And with mobile gaming now accounting for a whopping 48% of the global market, clearly a lot was riding on the industry’s ability to keep gamers hooked when the world was stuck at home.
All kinds of success stories came out of the pandemic across mobile and traditional gaming. The biggest was surely Nintendo’s wildly popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons, released back in March. With widespread lockdowns enforced across the globe, the beloved life-simulation game franchise couldn’t have dropped its latest entry at a better time. It gave isolated audiences the escapism they craved, whilst also proving a meaningful way to socialise during an exceptionally lonely time. According to Nintendo’s own financial postings in August, the game shifted some 10 million units during the first quarter (an ordinarily uneventful period for videogames). The runaway success of the game was also likely responsible for pushing Switch hardware sales up 166%.
With the firm establishment of upward trends during the first part of 2020, the industry will no doubt be looking to maintain the heat as the first Holiday season under lockdown approaches.
If the unparalleled success of its PC counterpart is anything to go by, League of Legends’ first mobile offering, Wild Rift - now in Beta across east Asia - looks set to dominate the season (though the rest of the world will have to wait until at least 2021). Much like Animal Crossing, the community that will flock to it will rapidly cross-commodify its in-game assets in the real world.
The increasing popularity of addictive life-sim, MMO and mobile games reflects gamers’ desire for the sense of community that comes hand-in-hand with them. And since these games put so much value on in-game assets - be it rare furniture in the likes of Animal Crossing or useful items in DOTA 2 - such communities find themselves in need of an easy-to-access means of trading.
ZeusX, a one-stop-shop for in-game asset trading, looks to cater to the ever-diversifying needs of the gaming community in this regard.
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Founded in July 2019, ZeusX is the brainchild of expert industry veteran, Alex Tay, who sought to create a digital platform wherein users could effectively monetize their gaming. For a long time, monetizing gaming was a possibility only in the lucrative world of eSports and streaming. But with the pandemic putting the industry’s expansion into overdrive, what was once considered hardcore gaming is now being increasingly accepted as a valid (and financially sustainable) lifestyle. Even games like Animal Crossing - once recognised as the domain of ‘casual gamers’ - have established large and intensely loyal followings, spurred on by the strong sense of fandom and community to be found online.
Recognizing this shift in the market, founder Alex Tay developed a digital marketplace for gamers to enjoy shopping for in-game assets they need, and earn real-life cash by selling and trading the assets they have.
“We want to create a better life for gamers everywhere, from making a good living from our passion to finding gaming stuff that brings us joy,” said Tay, founder and CEO of ZeusX.
The platform is increasingly specializing its marketplace to support the thriving mobile gaming ecosystem, whilst still leveraging support for blockbuster console/PC titles like Animal Crossing and Fortnite. But, as Tay notes, the platform aims to level the playing field.
“ZeusX is not just for eSports athletes or gamers seeking to enter professional arenas, but for anyone and everyone who games as part of their day-to-day lives”.
Users register for a free account on the platform. From there, they can “Create New Offer” to advertise their offer, which could be anything from in-game assets to the sale of user accounts. A variety of payment options, including PayPal and Payoneer, make the completion of international transactions simple, whilst push notifications keep buyers and sellers in-the-know about offers and sales.
After securing pre-seed funding of nearly half a million dollars in 2019, ZeusX released the platform in early 2020. Much like any other e-commerce platform, ZeusX generates revenue by charging a percentage of the transactions surrounding gaming assets and other services on the platform.
Of course, the company is still in its infancy, but launching at such an important time for gaming - where not are sales up but the culture itself seems to be shifting - can only mean good things to come in future. With game tastes diversifying and engagement increasing, gamers will relish an all-in-one solution to asset trading, streamlining a process once haphazard and precariously spread across all kinds of niche forums.