You may love or hate them but skins have already changed how the games industry works and will have an even bigger impact in the future. This is trend #5 in our list of growing skins-related trends. Check them all out for stats, facts, and insights.
More Skins Everywhere
Gamers spent $10.5bn on digital games in April 2020 alone, research company SuperData reports. The highest-grossing PC game of the month was the long-standing League of Legends. It is free to play but makes tons of money on skins. The same goes for Fortnite, it generated $4.2bn in 2018-2019 and was the most profitable game out there for two consecutive years. According to surveys, players spend 59% of all their Fortnite expenses on character outfits.
These are just a few figures to show what a big deal skins have become. They are an essential part of the free-to-play business model that currently dominates the games market. F2P titles accounted for 80% of $120.1bn spent on digital games last year. Not only new games favor the F2P business model but also some older ones have switched from premium to freemium in order to increase their revenues. This is something that happened to CS:GO. Only a few welcomed its switch to F2P initially but the move has paid off eventually. In April 2020, the eight-year-old game surpassed 1.3bn concurrent players and made it as the top six highest-grossing game.
As the F2P trend is sure to grow, we’ll be seeing and using skins in almost every big game in the foreseeable future.
More P2P Trading
A couple of years ago, a unique AWP Dragon Lore skin from CS:GO was sold for $61K. Although $61K is the record-high price tag for a CS:GO item till today, it’s not out of this world. The same item had been traded for 35K a bit earlier and there are quite a few other skins worth thousands of dollars in CS:GO. Along with cheaper items, they are traded for real money across marketplaces such as Bitskins, Skins.Cash, or cs.money. The peer-to-peer skins market overall is worth billions of dollars despite including just a few games such as CS:GO, Dota 2, TF2, and PUBG.
This market is about to explode with more games. There are skins platforms that offer game developers tech solutions for launching P2P trading in just a few days, and devs are catching up. One such platform, DMarket, has struck a deal with Life Beyond that is quite an intriguing MMO with the dev team made up of CD Projekt Red, Ubisoft, and Rockstar veterans. It’s rumored that skins from battle royale hit Apex Legends are also coming to DMarket this summer, and the company’s CEO has fuelled the rumors with his tweets.
More User-Generated Content
No one would buy a skin straight from the developer for $61K, just to use it in a game and then forget about it. P2P trading adds resale value and market-based pricing to skins. It makes four/five-digit prices possible and paves the way for more significant involvement of the gaming community in the creation of in-game items. Game devs will need more awesome and diverse skins while designers and content creators will be happy to help, in exchange for a share of trading fees.
More Crossovers, Celebs, and Fashion
Games have become the world’s favorite (and most profitable) form of entertainment. Netflix believes that its primary competitors are games like Fortnite rather than other streaming services. But competition doesn’t exclude collaboration in this case. Fortnite’s crossovers with big media brands such as Avengers or Star Wars were a big success for all parties involved. There will be more and more crossover skins in the future so that you can play as John Wick or Kylo Ren in different virtual worlds.
But this is not limited to fictional characters. More celebrity and influencer skins, like Ninja’s one in Fortnite, are also inevitable because they bring more popularity and money to games and celebs alike.
Fashion brands are also in. We’ve already seen a League of Legends blade branded by Louis Vuitton, Tissot watches in NBA 2K20, and Moschino outfits in The Sims 4. Such fashion x gaming collaborations will soon become mainstream and we’ll be wearing the same-looking Air Jordans both in the streets and in the game.
Not everyone might be happy about Justin Bieber’s skin coming to their favorite game. But what’s really great about skins is that you don’t need them to succeed in a game. If you don’t like all that fancy stuff, it’s up to you. But if skins give you fun and help you express yourself, why not go for it and help the game developer monetize your favorite title? With a lot of user-generated content and pop-culture crossovers, the fun will surely be there. And with P2P trading, there will also be profits, not only for game devs and brands but also for gamers.