Relevant market sectors this research potentially falls into

Game balance is a crucial design process in the Entertainment business. For any artificially created rules and balances in a game, there needs to be a game balance process to ensure an intended and fair experience for the consumers. Game balance is especially crucial for the video game industry which I will be focusing my research on.

All video game developers have to go through the game balance design process one way or another. While game balance is a relevant process for most video game companies globally, some genres of games require more resources for game balance A good way of finding the relevant stakeholders is identifying game genres most prone to game balance expenditure and finding the key developers in these sectors.

Sector and Customer base

The video game industry has grown from focused markets to mainstream. In 2018 the video game indsutry caught up to the film industry on basis of revenue with $43 billion that year in the US [1]. Globally the video game industry is expected to generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020. With a customer base of 2.7 billion gamers, video game industry has become the largest industry within the entertainment sector arount the globe. [2][3]

Big players in the Video Game Industry

The top 5 companies by game revenue in 2019 are as follows [4]

Rank Company Revenue
1 Tencent $5,225M
2 Sony* $3,879M
3 Apple* $2,887M
4 Microsoft* $2,831M
5 Nintendo $2,286M

* = Based on estimates.

A significant portion of Sony, Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s revenue is made up of non-development business activities. Thus, the next 5 companies are also relevant for the purposes of this research since it will be focusing more on the development side of the business. The next top 5 companies by game revenue are as follows

Rank Company Revenue
6 Google* $1,877M
7 Activision Blizzard $1,749M
8 NetEase $1,666M
9 Electronic Arts $1,593M
10 Take-Two Interactive $930M

* = Based on estimates.

Relevant products and existent tools

Relevant products

Game balance is a big concern in on-line competitive video game genre, and makes up the largest portion of the post-launch maintanence costs. For reference, Riot games has 1000 full-time employees working on League of Legends on game balance, maintanence, events, and new champions. While Riot Games may be an outlier with their focus on seasonal gameplay metas, cost of smaller maintanence teams still make up the majority of post-launch development costs for majority of the on-line competitive games. For example Dota 2 currently has a crew of 28 developers, and CSGO has at least 7 known developers working on balancing the gameplay. [5]

Game balance is also crucial for strategy based video games. While on-line competitive video game publishers have access to a wide range of data and statistics of gameplay, strategy games are generally balanced pre-launch and don’t have access to real-time statistics. Companies such as Paradox Interactive and Firaxis Games known for their top-quality strategy games could be facing different game balance problems to tacke.

Companies such as Riot Games, and Valve are big players in on-line competitive video game industry, while anaylzing Paradox Interactive and Firaxis development patterns may reveal problems faced by smaller companies in the video game industry who don’t have access to the vast infrastructure, data, and statistics companies like Riot Games and Valve have access to.

Existent tools

There are countless of tools aimed to help with game balance data analysis, and automated game balance.

Ludible is a company that offers tools for balancing a game’s numeric variables for optimal playability. is a service aimed to help mobile games find the optimum difficulty for the overall audience of players. Askblu uses plug&play real-time machine learning to increase player retention in mobile games.

OpenAI is an AI research and deployment company. Their mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.