State of the Gaming industry 2024

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Published March 19, 2024
Author R A Pitman
Read: 12 minutes



We start this year’s report with some of the worst news in the past few years, with a record number of layoffs happening throughout the gaming industry.

In 2023, the industry had a then-record of 8,500 layoffs. But just 3 months into 2024 and we are already at a staggering 8000 jobs lost already, with more announcements on the way according to industry insiders and analysts.

Some of the biggest companies hit, starting in January with Unity laying off almost 1800 staff. This was followed in late January & continued on through March with the likes of BioWare, Bethesda and Electronic Arts along with Polish video game developers/publishers CD Projekt Red and Sega all announcing layoffs and the list goes on.

There are always shifts, but more & more we are seeing the larger publishing houses spend 100’s of millions of dollars on new launch titles, only to see them underperform for one reason or another, & this inevitably sends them into panic mode where the easiest way to redeem losses is to cut staff.

In spite of these challenges, our outlook remains cautiously hopeful. There are numerous avenues to stay competitive, particularly as emerging markets introduce fresh participants, and gaming becomes increasingly integrated into mainstream culture. Success stories like Hell Divers 2 demonstrate that meticulously crafted games that acknowledge and value their player communities while delivering rich experiences can still leave a lasting impression.

We wish everyone who has been upturned by these events the very best, and hope that they land on their feet soon!


Leading on from our opening piece about layoffs, the instability within the games industry continues to fuel support for unionization. The GDC found that nearly 58% percent of developers are in support, a number that’s up from 53 percent last year.

Activision Blizzard workers from the Quality Assurance department have led the charge with nearly 600 members forming a union and these have been followed by Avalanche Studios (Just Cause, Mad Max) ZeniMax Studios (Microsoft).

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, so do its labor dynamics. With the rise of layoffs becoming a common occurrence, particularly in response to studio closures or restructuring, there has been a growing interest in unionization among gaming professionals. These layoffs often leave talented individuals without job security or adequate support, prompting them to seek collective bargaining power.

The formation of unions in the gaming industry represents a significant shift in how workers advocate for their rights and well-being. By banding together, employees can negotiate for fair wages, better working conditions, and protection against sudden layoffs.

Unions also provide a platform for workers to voice their concerns regarding issues such as excessive crunch time, inadequate benefits, and workplace harassment, fostering a more equitable and sustainable environment within studios.

However, the road to unionization in gaming is not without its challenges. The industry’s fast-paced nature, coupled with its reliance on contract work and freelance positions, can complicate traditional union structures. Additionally, there may be resistance from management or concerns about potential backlash from employers. Despite these obstacles, the push for unions in the gaming industry reflects a growing recognition of the importance of worker solidarity and collective action in safeguarding the rights and livelihoods of those who contribute to the creation of games.

Return to Office Policy

Another unpopular effect on the gaming and tech industry has been the mandatory return to office policy being enforced by some of the larger and smaller game development houses.

This appears to be a hot topic, as some are relishing the idea of “getting back to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic, while others who have spent money and time turning corners of their home into personal workspaces are adamant about staying put, leading to animosity with employers pushing them to get back to the office.

With long commutes now looming for some, they would rather change jobs and maintain their “Work from Home” status..

Statistics bear out this sentiment among remote and hybrid workers:

As many as 90% of companies plan to implement return-to-office policies by the end of 2024, according to a report from Resume Builder, which surveyed 1,000 companies in the tech sector. With over 25% of these same companies admitting that anyone failing to comply could face termination. On the flip side only 2% of companies polled said that they had no plans to resume a back-to-office strategy.

However, it’s not all bad news, as many companies (although keen to get everyone back to the workplace) are offering a flexible workweek with at least 1 day a week spent remote or possibly more which should make the transition easier for folks who have gotten used to working in their pajamas!

The AI Effect

A recent poll has seen the rise in the gaming and tech industry as a whole of AI. Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, DALL-E, GitHub Copilot, Adobe Generative Fill) being used among others at many companies. While the effect has been mostly positive so far, there is concern, especially among artists that AI could be costing them work.

The realm of gaming has traversed vast distances from its humble origins characterized by pixelated graphics and straightforward gameplay. Technological progressions have catalyzed innovation, ushering in an era marked by breathtaking visual spectacles, intricate narratives, and immersive escapades that transport gamers to realms of fantasy. Yet, the next horizon in gaming transcends mere graphical enhancements or narrative complexities—it orbits around the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). So, what transformations will AI precipitate within the gaming industry?

AI has already charted substantial inroads within the gaming domain, and is poised to unfurl a revolution of unprecedented proportions. In the following breakdown, we will try to capture just some of the benefits and possible ramifications for developers, designers, artists, and players alike.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence

Gaming has undergone a remarkable evolution, transitioning from the basic vector graphics and repetitive gameplay seen in Tennis for 2 (1958 first recorded video game) to the immersive eye candy experiences such as Ghosts of Tsushima or Kenshi with jaw-dropping visuals, intuitive gameplay, and impactful musical scores. Technological strides have propelled this transformation, but the next frontier lies in the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). But just how will AI reshape gaming?

AI’s journey in gaming traces back to the days of Deep Blue and its victory over Gary Kasparov in chess (Note that Kasparov did win the initial match 4-2 but was beaten in the return match) or Lee Sedol in Go. Since then, AI’s role in gaming has expanded exponentially.

From emerging startups to industry giants such as Electronic Arts or Ubisoft, we are seeing an explosion in the uptake of AI potential to revolutionize gaming experiences. Electronic Arts (EA) utilizes AI to create immersive virtual worlds. With advanced algorithms, EA enhances gameplay mechanics, refines in-game physics, and develops intelligent game agents. Their focus on AI-driven procedural content..

AI and Art

This subject has certainly seen its share of controversy with the launch and success of several AI text to image platforms such as Midjourney, Adobe Firefly, DALL-E 2, and Generative AI by Getty Images all seeing a popular uptake. However, there has been pushback from Artists who feel that they are in danger of not only losing work to AI but also having their work stolen and reimagined by these platforms without the proper adherence to copyright laws and protections.

However, there has been pushback from Artists who feel that they are in danger of not only losing work to AI but also having their work stolen and reimagined by these platforms without the proper adherence to copyright laws and protections. Several prominent artists have filed lawsuits against Stability AI, DeviantArt, Midjourney, and Runway AI for use of their works without credit, compensation, or consent.

Reimagining Gameplay

Envision a gaming world that molds itself to your individual playstyle, perpetually challenging you, yet never plunging into the depths of frustration. Such is the promise AI holds for gaming. Leveraging machine learning and play pattern recognition algorithms, games can scrutinize player behaviors, strategize accordingly, and adjust game mechanics and NPCs in real-time to increase or reduce difficulty levels, NPC intelligence, and reactions to fit individual players. Add to this the replayability factor as the game changes with your level of skill to match you, we are looking at a true breakthrough in the way we play and interact with our favorite titles.

The Future of AI in Gaming

AI’s impact on gaming will continue to evolve, offering more interactive, personalized experiences. Ethical considerations will shape AI’s role in gaming, driving responsible AI practices and ensuring a positive gaming environment. But this will not be welcomed by all, as we are seeing, with coding being simplified, Art constructed using text to image tools instead of real artists and even game narratives being written by bots like ChatGPT the AI industry will need to be carefully managed to ensure that the tools we are learning to rely on more and more are not forcing more of our gaming industry talent to the job search pages or to search for new careers outside of the gaming industry altogether.

Platforms: New Switch Delayed, What Next for Sony and Microsoft?


Sad news for Nintendo fans as the game’s powerhouse announces a delay to their Switch 2 console. Players were hoping for a reveal in March of the new console with a roll out later in the year, however, it appears that Nintendo is still holding its card tight to its chest and we are now looking at a March 2025 launch. Rumors for this seem to be circulating that Nintendo is deliberately delaying the launch to ensure that they have enough inventory to avoid the scalping that plagued the original launch.



In a recent announcement, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, quashed swirling rumors by affirming Microsoft’s commitment to the console market. Additionally, the tech giant unveiled an ambitious multi-year plan, teasing a forthcoming console upgrade poised to deliver what they dub as an unprecedented advancement in hardware evolution.

As the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S enter their fourth year on the market, speculation surrounding the next iteration intensifies. Microsoft had been keeping tight-lipped about their future endeavors, but leaked documents from the US Federal Trade Commission shed light on their trajectory.

The leaked FTC documents reveal that Microsoft is diligently crafting a hybrid console, melding cloud and client gaming technologies to redefine real-time gameplay and empower creators in ways previously unattainable solely through hardware upgrades.

Further insights from leaked presentations suggest Microsoft’s meticulous timeline, with design work slated for 2024 and development kits expected by 2027. The roadmap outlines a transition toward hybrid cloud gaming, with the first offerings projected to materialize around 2026.

Despite these revelations, specifics regarding the console’s design and technical specifications remain elusive. However, industry trends indicate a probable partnership with AMD for chipset integration.

Moreover, Microsoft appears to be deviating from its traditional seven-year upgrade cycle, aiming for a 2028 release for the next-gen Xbox, as indicated in the leaked documents.

Among the revelations, details about the upcoming disc-less Xbox Series X dubbed Brooklin surfaced, showcasing a departure from the conventional cuboid design to a cylindrical form factor.


This is great news for Xbox fans who may have been worried about Microsoft’s commitment to the console market.


Sony is also about to unleash its latest console and in keeping with its (new) tradition the PS5 Pro will be next to launch in time for the holiday season 2024 (November 2024 according to leaks). The new console codename “Trinity” following on from Sony’s naming convention from the Matrix Movies, PlayStation Pro (“Neo”) PlayStation VR (“Morpheus”) still hasn’t had an official announcement; however, industry insiders have managed to garner some news on the console and what we can expect.

As far as specs are concerned, these have not been easy to come by, However, two things that we do know are that the PS5 Pro will feature 18,000 MT/s memory and 30 workgroup processors which refer to large clusters of GPU cores according to AMD. This would almost double the compute units to 60 from the PS5 which boasts only 36.


After this launch, we expect to see Sony concentrate all efforts on its next-gen console or PS6 which we would expect to launch sometime in 2026/2027.

Mobile Gaming

The mobile gaming market faced challenges in 2023, with consumer spend declining for the second year in a row. With the world almost “back to normal” post-Pandemic, fewer people were trapped at home and reliant on digital media to preoccupy themselves.

Forecasts for the first quarter of 2024, however, are optimistic, with an expected revenue growth of 4.2% quarter-over-quarter and a 15% year-over-year increase, potentially surpassing the $6.4 billion mark set during the peak of the pandemic period of Q2 2021.

Top Ten Mobile Developers 2024

  1. Zynga
  2. Kunpo
  3. Ubisoft
  4. MASK
  5. Azur Interactive Games
  6. X.D. Network
  7. Nintendo
  8. Epic Games, Inc.
  9. Outfit7
  10. Garena

Markets like the US, UK, and Korea showed positive growth with some games exceeding $1 billion in consumer spend, and titles like Honor of Kings (Arena of Valor internationally) saw US profits of 1.48 billion with almost 18 billion lifetimes, while in the first quarter of 2024, Roblox generated approximately 220.21 million U.S. dollars through in-app purchase revenues worldwide.

Mobile gaming is still dominated by younger gamers with 29.5% of mobile gamers falling between 25-34 years old and 28.3% falling between 16-24 years old. 35-44 years now make up 23.1% of the mobile gaming audience while 45-54 years old account for 12.8%, leaving 6.3% of players in the 55+ age bracket.

In recent years, there has been a notable surge in the popularity of mobile games among female players. A study conducted in 2023 revealed that a staggering *74% of women across all age brackets engage in mobile gaming on a daily basis. Moreover, the average duration of gaming sessions has seen a remarkable uptick among women, surpassing that of men by 25%. This trend underscores the growing significance of female gamers in the mobile gaming landscape.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

Meta Quest still leads in VR/AR, but [Apple Vision PrO]( is piquing interest, while Meta has been investing billions in a bid to grow their metaverse, while other big names such Valve SteamVR 2.0, and Sony continue to develop for its VR2 PlayStation

As of 2024, the landscape of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies is witnessing a notable shift, poised for significant growth and innovation. Despite a decline in global shipments of AR/VR headsets over 23% in 2023, and the forecast for 2024 anticipated to increase by an impressive 44%, reaching almost 10 million units by the end of the year.

This projected uptick in sales signals renewed momentum in the AR/VR market, driven in part by the introduction of new headsets such as Apple’s Vision Pro. While priced beyond the reach of most consumers, the Vision Pro launch has generated significant attention and raised awareness for AR and VR technologies.

Moreover, it has set a high bar for competitors, spurring further innovation and development within the industry.

Moreover, it has set a high bar for competitors, spurring further innovation and development within the industry. Looking beyond 2024, the outlook for AR and VR is optimistic, with forecasts indicating sustained growth over the coming years. Virtual Reality headsets, in particular, are projected to experience robust expansion, with shipments expected to reach 27.26 million units according to Statista by the end of 2028. This growth trajectory reflects a five-year compound annual growth rate of 29.2%, driven by an expanding consumer base and increased adoption across various sectors. Similarly, Augmented Reality headsets are poised for significant growth, albeit from a smaller base. From less than a million units in 2024, shipments are forecasted to skyrocket to 10.9 million units by 2028, representing an impressive 87.1% CAGR over the same period. This surge in adoption underscores the growing recognition of AR’s potential across diverse applications, including training, design, and more. As the AR/VR market continues to evolve, industry experts anticipate further advancements in mixed reality (MR) technologies, driven by companies like Apple and Meta. Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated sensor technology is expected to enhance user experiences and enable new possibilities for content creation and interaction. With these developments on the horizon, the future of AR and VR appears promising, offering boundless opportunities for innovation and immersive experiences across various domains. It maybe that our dreams of a real-life Oasis are getting nearer!

Crypto/NFT/Blockchain News

In the first quarter of 2024, Ethereum (ETH) surged by 52%, while Bitcoin (BTC) saw an impressive 65% increase. This remarkable growth was fueled by a substantial influx of over $11 billion from both institutional and retail investors, primarily through Bitcoin ETFs. These developments underscore the undeniable momentum within the cryptocurrency market.

Crypto and Blockchain Gaming

Blockchain technology represents a decentralized and distributed digital ledger system, facilitating secure transactions and record-keeping. Its advent has already started to transform the gaming landscape, offering players the ability to utilize cryptocurrencies and Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) for acquiring in-game assets.

The sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the tranquil lake. The gentle ripples danced across the water’s surface, reflecting the vibrant hues of the evening sky. Birds chirped softly in the surrounding trees, their melodic songs blending harmoniously with the rustling of leaves in the breeze. As twilight descended, the world seemed to embrace a sense of serenity, inviting contemplation and peace. As night fell, the stars emerged one by one, painting the heavens with their twinkling brilliance. A soft, cool breeze whispered through the air, carrying with it the scent of damp earth and blooming flowers. Crickets began their nocturnal symphony, their rhythmic chirping adding to the enchanting atmosphere. Amidst the darkness, the moon rose like a luminous pearl, casting its gentle light upon the landscape below. It was a moment of quiet beauty, a time to pause and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

While there has been a surge in the overall markets for Crypto, the gaming industry has seen a decrease in the amount of funding with 2023 netting only $1.7 billion of announced funding, down from over $5.3 billion in 2022 and $4 billion in 2021.

However, by November 2023, the blockchain gaming sector had seen substantial expansion and consistent popularity. Tracking almost 1.2 million daily unique active wallets (dUAW), and indicating a 14% increase compared to the previous month with projections forecast it to hit around $65.7 billion by the end of 2027.

Representing a considerable 34% slice of the broader Web gaming market, blockchain gaming cements its pivotal role within the gaming ecosystem.

Major Players and Blockchains

  1. Gala Games
  2. World Wide Asset eXchange
  3. Decentraland
  4. The Abyss
  5. Enjinstarter
  6. Mythical Games
  7. Axie Infinity
  8. Dapper Labs
  9. The Sandbox
  10. Gala Games

It still remains to be seen how well Blockchain gaming will crossover with mainstream gaming, and this will depend a lot on companies striving to make their games fun and immersive. As of now, there is a large percentage of blockchain players who are “In it for the money” and the “Play, Earn, Own” mantra associated needs to become more open and welcoming to non-Crypto-savvy players to achieve this.

Not everyone has a Crypto wallet or understands blockchain, but simple mechanics such as NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) are easy enough for most people to grasp.

What we think would really break the barrier is a mainstream popular game such as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft offering NFTS such as game items that people could trade, that would open up quests that lead to rare armors sets or weaponry or transmogs, that could also be exchanged or traded. There is already an in-game currency and Auction house and with nearly 140 million players registered a crossover into mainstream gaming could make sense.

However, important lessons need to be learned, as the failure and subsequent backlash received by Ubisoft has them backtracking their NFT rollout for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon breakpoint with players complaining that the NFTs were “Too hard to earn” or players “just plain not getting it”, along with environmental concerns over energy costs and carbon footprints. But by far the biggest pushback was from players concerned that NFTs we commodifying their gaming time, making it a “Chore” to play.

It is for sure that Blockchain is here to stay, but it will need to change and evolve if it ever wants to grab some of the highly sought-after mainstream gaming market. There is huge potential but this is also coupled with high skepticism from many who see it as just another way for greedy publishers and cryptocurrencies to take their cash without improving the industry they love.

Well, that about wraps out State of the Gaming industry report for 2024, we hope you enjoyed it!

XQA is a leading Quality Assurance company from Montreal, Canada, specializing in Mobile, Console, and Web – Don’t leave your game to chance, make sure it’s bug-free by partnering with us!

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