In March 2023, the Roblox Corporation of San Mateo, California, was valued at around $38 billion. This made it one of the most successful gaming startups of the 21st century, but far from the only example.
A “startup” is a new or young company bringing a fresh and unique product to market. In the gaming industry, this can mean a company trading in software, hardware, or tech of any kind.
It’s a hugely competitive field in which most businesses fail and are quickly assigned to history. As Roblox has shown, however, when a gaming startup does succeed, the rewards can be enormous.
The global gaming industry is currently estimated to generate more than $180 billion in sales each year. To put that into context, that is more than the total revenue for both the movie and music industries combined.
While the size of the gaming industry is already impressive, analysts believe it is going to continue growing, and fast. By 2027, less than five years from now, experts believe annual revenue from the gaming industry will exceed $290 billion.
These numbers are symptomatic of a phenomenal rise in gaming popularity across almost every nation on Earth. Whether it’s arcade games, esports, online casino, or fantasy multiplayers, all styles of gaming are experiencing significant and continuous growth. Casino games in particular are seeing a boom in popularity with many states looking at legalizing online casino activities. Now, it is easier than ever to head online to a reputable casino provider and play a range of casino games.
Reliable internet has been one of the biggest driving factors of this growth, as has the development of mobile gaming. Connecting with players across the world and the ability to play anytime, anywhere has made gaming more accessible than ever.
New technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence is now opening up more opportunities for new products. All this has combined to create perhaps the most fertile breeding ground for gaming startups that has ever existed.
With that in mind, here are some of America’s top startups recently making waves in the global gaming arena:
- Gala Games
Founded in 2018 with $5 million of Series A funding, California’s Gala Games is a blockchain-based gaming platform. By allowing users to earn and trade cryptocurrency and NFTs, it helps them retain ownership and control of in-game assets.
In five years, Gala Games experienced 750% in search growth and is currently developing a new range of games. Gala’s value peaked in 2022, but with promises of a new gaming experience, a second wave of growth is possible.
Started in Boston in 2009, Affectiva has developed an emotion-sensing AI capable of reading gamers as they play. By analyzing reactions and sensations, it collects data used to personalize their experience for future play – potentially in real-time.
Perhaps the real value of Affectiva, which earned $62 million in funding, is what it can sell back to developers. By learning and demonstrating how players truly react, game makers can get valuable insight into how their products really work.
You may have already played some of the role-playing or puzzle games made by the Culver City startup, Scopely. Titles on the market include “Yahtzee With Buddies”, “Scrabble”, “MARVEL Strike Force” and “The Walking Dead – Road to Survival.”
After getting started with almost a billion dollars of funding, Scopley began developing mobile games for Android and iOS. Their revenue comes from the incredibly lucrative streams of in-app purchases and ads.
- Epic Games
Established in 1991, Epic has been on the gaming scene much longer than many others on this list. In fact, you’ll almost certainly have heard of their big success story, the global phenomenon that is “Fortnite”.
Epic is currently in development on one of the largest Metaverse projects yet to be conceived. With over $1 billion of funding already raised, the potential for another Epic boom is huge.
Founded in LA in 2015, this Karsh, Stein, Guber, and Leonsis project has raised $47.5 million in funding. aXiomatic has chosen to focus on improving the user experience when playing eSports and video games.
Through a series of strategic partnerships, investments, and acquisitions, the company funds innovative gaming experiences for sports fans. Working as consultants, they offer valuable guidance on engagement, monetization, live events broadcasting, performance, and more.
Nintendo may get the headline credit for their trailblazing AR product “Pokémon GO”, but it wouldn’t have happened without Niantic. These developers from San Francisco have over $850 million in funding and some of the most exciting AR capabilities around.
Other games on their roster include “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”, “Jurassic World Alive”, and “MARVEL World of Heroes”. With these brands, alongside more Pokémon titles, the possibilities for Niantic’s growth seem unlimited.
These are just a few of the most exciting gaming startups in America right now. Other names to watch include Splitgate, CastAR, Moon Active, Twin Suns, Devolver, and Tilting Point.
The list could go on, and every new name demonstrates the same thing further. Gaming right now, especially in the USA, is one of the most fascinating, and exhilarating, industries to watch.