Game publishers like Electronic Arts Inc. EA and Activision Blizzard Inc. are pushing publishers into virtual worlds, a practice that has the potential to push game sales even higher.
That may be a good thing.
As EA and Activision continue to dominate the virtual world market, there are a few key factors that could keep them there for years to come.
The first is the sheer size of their respective businesses.
That could change.
While EA and other publishers have made some big moves in the past few years, there’s still a long way to go for publishers to be able to compete in virtual worlds.
The second is the growth of mobile and other virtual-world-focused game platforms.
There are still a lot of great games available for free, but the cost to create them is skyrocketing.
“You can make more money doing that if you make the games on the mobile platform,” said Joe Ludwig, chief financial officer of the game publishing company Penguin Random House.
For the companies that are willing to invest in developing games on mobile platforms, that means more developers and more revenue to keep up with.
A third major factor is competition.
This year, publishers like Disney Interactive Inc. and Activision are making moves into virtual reality.
Both companies are trying to make the leap into virtual gaming, and both are making a bet that the market is ripe for such a move.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Ludwig said the publishers are also seeing a shift in the nature of game development.
Developers are more focused on making games that appeal to the widest variety of gamers.
They’re also experimenting with new mechanics and new approaches to game design that could eventually allow them to sell more games.
These moves, combined with the growth in virtual-reality gaming and the increasing number of mobile-game developers, could help make the virtual-life market bigger in the years ahead.
And then there’s the competition.
“It’s hard to find a game that’s not being made by two companies,” Ludwig said.
But there are some things to watch out for as well.
EA and other games companies have been spending a lot more on marketing.
And as virtual-space publishers, they may be spending more on the content they produce.
EA’s $30 billion acquisition of King Digital Entertainment last year gave the publisher control of the online game business.
It also gave the company the ability to buy smaller companies like Electronic Frontier Foundation and other rights holders to develop and distribute content in virtual spaces.
It may seem like a good deal, but it could backfire on publishers.
That’s because virtual-room publishers aren’t always willing to pay as much as other publishers.
For instance, the game publisher Electronic Arts said in May that it planned to spend $2.8 billion on virtual-marketing costs in 2017, compared with $1.4 billion in 2016.
In its latest financial filing, EA said it plans to spend about $2 billion in virtual marketing this year.
At the same time, the company said it expects to spend between $300 million and $400 million on other game marketing this fiscal year, down from about $500 million in the previous year.
(EA has previously said it intends to spend more than $1 billion on online marketing.)
While the company’s spending has been growing, it still has some warts.
In fiscal year 2016, EA reported that it had $5.5 billion in digital marketing expenses.
That number has dropped to about $3.4 million in 2017.
But publishers have also been spending more money on advertising.
Last year, EA spent $3 billion on advertising for its Madden NFL 25 game.
That’s up from $2 million in 2016 and about $400,000 in 2015.
Another big change is the rise of virtual-gaming sites, which are used by many other publishers to distribute their games.
These sites are often more like traditional retail outlets than virtual ones.
Digital-marketplace websites have traditionally focused on selling games and video games, but now they’re increasingly focusing on digital advertising.
That means they’re going to be spending a bit more money to get their games out there.
Virtual-marketplaces are also getting bigger, but they’re not always as popular as traditional online outlets.
Companies like Disney and Zynga Inc. have been taking a bigger bite out of the virtual marketplaces.
Zynga said in its latest filing that it expects revenue from virtual-game-specific advertising to rise by $500 to $600 million in fiscal year 2019.
Disney and EA are also competing with each other in terms of what kind of content they publish, and publishers like Activision Blizzard and Activision Publishing have taken steps to compete with each others content.
So far, EA and