Over the past few years, YoYo Games have added support for a variety of platforms to GameMaker Studio including iOS, Android, HTML5, Windows 8, Tizen, and more. Each new market gives developers access to millions of potential new players.
Here are 5 digital markets to watch in 2014.
With the launch of the Xbox One and Playstation 4, Microsoft and Sony are making a real effort to show support for independently created digital content. Microsoft reportedly met with 50 indie game developers to find out what they wanted from self-publishing on Xbox. The feedback resulted in the unveiling of ID@Xbox, a program designed to enable indie developers to self-publish games on Xbox One. Similarly, Sony is supporting indies with plans to enable self-publishing on Playstation 4.
GameMaker Studio does not currently support exporting to Xbox or Playstation, however YoYo Games CEO Sandy Duncan was previously Vice President of Xbox Europe so we may see developments here in the future. Notably, both Microsoft and Sony have promoted GameMaker competitor Unity as the development kit of choice for independent developers looking to self-publish on next-gen consoles.
Not willing to give up their share of the living room without a fight, television manufacturers have been busy integrating Web 2.0 features and the internet with devices dubbed smart TVs. Brands like Samsung and LG have integrated app stores into their smart TVs. With smart TV becoming the standard among major manufacturers, TV apps are making their way into consumer’s homes at a rapid pace.
While you can’t use GameMaker Studio to create apps for smart TVs yet, growing support for HTML5 may change that.
HTML5 Mobile Web
The future of digital gaming is in cross-platform. The technology that’s making this a reality is HTML5, and its primary battlefield right now is the mobile web. HTML5 has been in development for years now, but it’s set to go mainstream with support for the specification growing exponentially among technology brands in the past few years. Spil Games, a company who represent a group of more than 50 online casual games websites, is betting $5 million on HTML5 game developers in 2014 alone.
GameMaker Studio can be used to create HTML5 content, and many GameMaker developers are already making money with HTML5. This is proving to be one of the most accessible markets for independent developers due to performance restrictions and a lack of market saturation.
Don’t forget to create a website if you plan on entering this market.
The market for play-money gambling apps has become saturated with “me too” clones in every shape and form, and real-money gambling apps have long been out of reach of independent developers. However, platforms like Betable are changing that by allowing independent developers to integrate real-money gambling into traditional casino apps like Zynga Poker without having to obtain a gambling license themselves (which can be difficult and expensive to acquire). Independently created real-money gambling apps should start to hit the market in 2014, giving major players a run for their money.
It’s currently not known if platforms like Betable will, or can, be integrated with GameMaker Studio. It may be possible to add support for such a platform using extensions.
Will 2014 be the year of the smart watch? Wearable technology is on the rise, with the likes of Intel, Samsung, and more competing to integrate electronics with every part of our lives. But start-ups are clawing their way into the market too. In 2012, Pebble Technology raised over $10,000,000 on Kickstarter in an effort to make their Pebble smart watch a reality. Now, they even have an app store. Perhaps other manufacturers will follow suit by launching their own smart watch app stores as the devices gain traction with consumers.
Since the smart watch market is fragmented and so disconnected from existing app markets, it’s unlikely that GameMaker Studio will support exporting to such platforms. There’s also an issue of performance. But who knows, maybe in 5 years you’ll be playing Hero Siege on your iWatch.
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