2016 was harsh. Many studios closed. Some hit games didn't sell. But overall the industry grew as always. Superdata claims we nearly reached $100b in 2016.
Meanwhile China became the largest gaming market of the world thanks to mobile. Talking mobile: it is now the largest segment of our industry. As forecasted by so many.
From my experience and point of view 2017 will be a hard year. In fact it will be more difficult than this year. For various reasons.
First some AAA IP's won't sell as good as they were, as already shown in 2016. The primary reasons are that gamers spend more time in less games and the competition in terms of price. f2p taking over even more market share does further impact the $60 AAA game market.
And of course mobile. Mobile will continue to grow. We will see new games entering the top 10 which do more and more revenue each year. The PC won't suffer, the consoles neither, but their growth will slow down. Nothing major but it will have an impact on studios relying on the old publisher model - meaning more studios will cease to exist.
We also will see a more dramatic impact on the crowded market space. Too many titles, not enough time to play them all. Remember? We will spend more time in less games. So the only way combating this is to bind your fanbase to your game - this means you must update your game and service it beyond its lifecycle. Games as a service. Invented by MMO RPG's now a must have for all games.
Update: read this:
We will see an invasion of non gaming IP's to the mobile space as the desperate publishers try to fight high acquisition costs with using foreign IP's. This won't work for most of them as we have so often experienced in the past: the 80's, 90's, 2000's all had those waves and most publishers failed with them unless they can afford the mega IP's - which they can't. If they afford it they won't have enough money left for the game - meaning they ship shitty games on large IP's - failing. We have seen that as well in the past.
VR will continue to be a toy - not a market (yet). So investors will shy away, studios will close. VR will be in a crisis waiting to be revived.
The Switch will ship and sell ok. Nintendo's IPs will be strong, and depending on Nintendos policy to sign up other developers the console will not rival the PS4 or XBox, it will rival Nintendo's old 3DS system, cutting their own market share.
Consoles will drop in price for Christmas 2017 and for the first time go under $199 - embracing new markets. But those new customers won't buy $60+ software, they will buy already discounted or used software - as we have seen in the past when that happens. Still the market will grow and reach its peak - and drop after that staring 2018.
We will see a new creative push from the III side. What is III? Triple Indie, from pro's who left AAA companies and going independent we will see a wave of really good titles created for lower budgets and selling enough to keep those new studios alive.
This means we see a remix of studios. Old ones go, new ones come - and in large numbers. We need to learn all those new studio names otherwise we lose track - so many will be there. All over the world.