Despite the current uncertainty in the world, now is a very special time in the history of the games industry. Once dismissed as a nerdy subculture, games have not only gone mainstream but are now a driving force in the overall entertainment landscape. In parallel, technology is redefining not only how we work and play but how we find meaning and community in the world around us. The resulting commercial and cultural gravity that games have come to exert is truly staggering.
Strikers scoring in the last World Cup celebrated their goals with Fortnite dances. Years after all the headlines, millions are still wandering their neighborhoods in hopes of catching ’em all in Pokémon GO. Stadiums are regularly packed around the world every year as fans cheer on their favorite teams to Worlds in League of Legends. A generation of kids are growing up building games and their own small businesses on Roblox. This is to say nothing of the larger influence of games culture more broadly across some of the largest franchises in television, cinema, and digital media.
Game developers now have unprecedented opportunities to connect directly with their audiences at massive scale across a growing variety of online commercial, editorial, and social channels. Gone are the days of reaching our players through a small handful of technologies, retail stores, and print magazines. As that friction has receded, the true magnitude of the global audience and business opportunity has become clearer. Ten of the top ten games in 2019 made over $1 billion in revenue. Market estimates for the industry as a whole are coming in at over $160 billion for 2020.
For my partners and I, one of the most noteworthy and exciting phenomena amidst this backdrop of growth and change is the emergence of multiple interconnected ecosystems capable of sustaining a wide variety of game communities for many years. Such communities have of course been evolving since the earliest days of computing with the humble text MUDs of yesteryear giving way to the multi-platform blockbusters of today. Despite all the advances however, true mass market adoption is still quite rare. Even the largest franchises in the industry are often carefully targeted to appeal to narrowly defined interest groups and designs with the broadest appeal tend to be just as easy to put down as they are to pick up. Crafting experiences that are not only beloved for years but approachable, deep, and meaningful is extraordinarily difficult. But, the opportunity to transcend those boundaries is the very real promise of now. It is also the origin and namesake of our new firm. The Transcend Fund was founded by game industry veterans that have built digital entertainment companies for decades. As investors, we seek to put that experience to work with a community of ambitious craftspeople at the top of their game focused on creating something momentous for the passionate global audience of today. If that resonates, please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!
Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend Fund is an early stage venture capital firm that partners with some of the most ambitious and talented founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of digital entertainment.
About Shanti Bergel
Shanti Bergel is the Managing Director of the Transcend Fund. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the games sector.
SuperData 2019 Year in Review, Digital Games & Interactive Media
Newzoo’s Games Trends to Watch in 2020