What is gaming technology?


Game technology, or gametech, refers to the tools and platforms game developers use to develop, optimize, and enhance their games. 

According to data.ai, gaming continues to dominate mobile spending - generating $107.3B last year and representing nearly 63% of all app store engagement. Naturally, with the gaming industry growing, new gaming technology trends are emerging. For example, Rendered VC and Griffin Gaming says that 94% of studios are using or exploring cloud infrastructure while 52% of artists see AI creating as much value as a human artist within the next two years. 

Let’s break down the new market landscape for gaming and technology. 

4 game technology categories

Video gaming technologies more or less fall under four categories: planning, production, launch, and growth. 

Planning Production Launch Growth
Art Game engines First-party distribution channels In-app advertising
Animation Backend platforms Third-party distribution channels In-app purchase optimization
Asset management Multiplayer and networking User acquisition First-party payments
Character engines Version control and IDE Creator and influencer marketing Live ops
Market intelligence QA and testing Cloud and web gaming Player analytics
Fraud prevention Modding
Content moderation Rewards programs
Social and community

Planning game technology

The first step in building a game is the planning stage - and there are a bunch of video gaming technologies developers use to plan the foundation for their game's success. 

  • Art: Art gametech is used to create the visual and artistic elements of the game - and there’s an important split between 3D art and 2D art.some text
    • To create 3D art, artists use a broad range of tools to make it seem lifelike - like 3D modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering. Here, popular software includes Autodesk Maya, Blender, and ZBrush
    • For 2D art, artists rely more on Adobe Illustrator, CoralDraw, Sketchbook, and Inkscape to draw the assets. 2D art is more common in mobile games - with some of the most popular games only in 2D. 
    • There’s also generative AI which, although is a new gaming technology, is already making it much easier and quicker to build art assets at scale. Tools like Scenario.com, Layer.ai, Adobe Firefly, and Unity Muse are some of the most popular ones today. 
  • Animation: For any game, animation gaming technology is key for generating realistic motions that create immersive and believable game experiences. For example, Blender, Spine 2D, Autodesk Maya, and 3D Max are essential tools used for complex movement, detailed facial expressions, character animation, body language, environmental effects, or cinematic sequences.
  • Asset management and optimization: Studios use asset management gametech tools to ensure smooth performance and high-quality visuals across multiple devices and platforms. This includes tools for cross-platform asset management, asset bundling, texture and mesh optimization, and digital asset management (DAM) systems. Quixel is the world's largest 3D scan library, Simplygon helps create efficient textures and reduce polygon counts, and SpeedTree provides dynamic LODs and a growing model library.
  • Character engine: Studios use character engine gaming technology to make sure characters look, move, and behave realistically, making the game more immersive and dynamic. This includes AI and behavior systems, facial animation and lip-sync, character customization systems, and character dynamics, among other things. Behavior trees and finite state machines (FSM) are common AI techniques and you can use Faceware or MotionBuilder to capture and animate expressions. 
  • Market intelligence: Studios use market intelligence video gaming technologies to make informed business decisions and stay competitive - especially in such a saturated market. This includes technologies that provide insight into trending genres and mechanics, player behavior, benchmarks, and competitor strategies. Data.ai, Sensor Tower, App Magic, and Newzoo are popular tools for market trends while tools like Stream Hatchet help you better understand target audience. 

Production gametech

Once game developers wrap up the planning stage, it’s time to turn to the production stage. Here’s a suite of production gametech developers use to actually build out the game. 

  • Engine: Game engines provide the essential infrastructure to develop and run your game and are fundamental to modern game development. The most popular engines today include Unity, Unreal Engine, and Godot, which offer multiple tools for game development - including rendering, physics, scripting, and asset management. 
  • Backends: Backend gaming technology involves the server-side tools that support online game functions. These systems handle everything from account management to game synchronization, matchmaking, and games server orchestration. Amazon Web Services, for example, is a comprehensive tool for computing power, storage, and serverless computing. GameSparks offers features like real-time multiplayer, chat, and analytics.
  • Multiplayer and networking: This gaming technology facilitates real-time online interactions and multiplayer functionality - all designed to enhance connectivity. This includes networking protocols and frameworks, real-time communication, network optimization, and synchronization and state management. For example, Photon provides synchronization of game states and communication between players and WebRTC enables real-time communication. 
  • Version control and IDE: Version control and integrated development environments (IDE) enhance collaboration, streamline coding processes, and ensure efficient management. This gaming technology enables developers to collaborate effectively, iterate quickly, and innovate. Git and Subversion (SVN) manage source code repositories while Visual Studio and IntelliJ IDEA provide environments for coding, debugging and testing. 
  • QA and testing: Quality assurance (QA) and testing plays a critical role in delivering high-quality, polished games that meet player expectations and perform seamlessly. This includes automated testing, performance testing, regression testing, UI testing, and more. The Unity Test Framework is a built-in tool for automated unit and integration testing and the Unreal Engine Automation Tool enables scripting and automation of testing processes. Tools like Appium and Selenium automate UI tests. 

Launch game technology

The game is built - now it’s time to distribute it and get into the hands of relevant players worldwide. To do that, studios use several gaming technology tools, like the following. 

gaming technology
  • Third-party distribution channels: These include distribution platforms game developers use to host and promote their game - like Steam and Epic Games Store on desktop and the Apple App Store and Google Play Store on mobile. These platforms aggregate thousands if not millions of titles, and give developers access to millions of users worldwide. However, they famously take a 30% cut on all sales and microtransactions.  
  • First-party distribution channels: In contrast to third-party platforms, this gametech refers to white-labeled distribution channels owned and operated by the game developers themselves - for example your own game launcher (which distributes your game only) or web shop. Either, developers can choose to create these first-party channels in-house, or use a service provider like Stash to do it for them. 
  • Fraud prevention: Fraud prevention includes gaming technology designed to mitigate fraudulent activities that threaten security, which is crucial for maintaining trust with players. Fraud detection systems, authentication and identity verification, payment fraud prevention, anti-cheat systems, and more are examples of this technology. For example, Kount is a fraud prevention platform that uses AI and machine learning to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. Authy offers two-factor authentication (2FA) solutions. 
  • Content moderation: Content moderation gaming technology is used to monitor, assess, and manage user-generated content (UGC), which maintains a safe experience for players while upholding community standards and regulatory compliance. This includes tools for automated content filtering and moderation tools, user reporting and moderation Systems, and real-time chat and voice monitoring. Tools like Community Sift use AI and machine learning to analyze UGC in real-time. Platforms like Zendesk offer systems for players to report offensive content, while GGWP does it all with AI.  
  • User acquisition: Studios use user acquisition gametech to put paid spend behind their games - promoting their titles to relevant users, while optimizing campaigns towards ROAS. This requires ad networks like ironSource Ads, Unity Ads, Liftoff, and Applovin as well as mobile measurement partners like Singular and AppsFlyer.
  • Creator marketing: In addition to traditional user acquisition, more developers are leveraging creator marketing. This video gaming technology enables developers to leverage the reach of creators, influencers, and communities to promote their games - like streamer distribution services, creator marketplaces, code distribution services, analytics and performance tracking, and more. Nexus.gg is a creator partnership service and Terminals by Evolve gives streamers exclusive access to games. Other notable platforms to get connected to creators are Lurkit and Keymailer. Meanwhile platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming provide platforms for creators and players to livestream their gameplay. 
  • Cloud and web gaming: These video gaming technologies run games over the internet without the need for high-end hardware or local installations. They include cloud gaming platforms, streaming services, web-based gaming platforms, and cloud infrastructure providers. GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming stream games directly from remote servers to players' devices. 

Growth gametech

After launch, it’s time to grow the user base and earn revenue. This is where developers use a host of game technology tools to turn the game into a full-fledged business. 

gaming technology
  • In-app advertising: Many free-to-play games choose to monetize through ads, which they can place at various points throughout the gameplay. To start, developers use a mediation platform like Unity LevelPlay or Applovin MAX, which aggregates multiple ad networks and directly serves ads to players. 
  • In-app purchase optimization: In addition to ads, free-to-play games also monetize through in-app purchases or microtransactions. Usually, developers integrate these directly with the relevant app store, but IAP optimization services like RevenueCat to manage and analyze their in-app purchases across multiple platforms, offering features like subscription management, customer analytics, and revenue tracking.
  • First-party payments: While both in-app advertising and in-app purchases take place inside the game, some developers choose to take payments outside the game and run them on their first-party game launcher or web shop. That way, they avoid the 30% in-app purchase fee the app stores take. Developers can either integrate general payment services like Stripe or Checkout.com into a game website, or build out an end to end web shop with gaming focused ones like Stash
  • Live ops: To manage all the new content and events needed to keep users happy and keep them coming back, developers often lean on live ops gametech. For example, tools like Balancy and UserWise help developers plan and prepare content and offer releases, all while personalizing that content per user. 
  • Modding: Modding lets users alter and personalize aspects of a game, ranging from visuals and gameplay mechanics to adding new features or creating entirely new game experiences. This is a huge tool for community building and user generated continent. Tools like Unreal Engine’s Modding Kit or Bethesda’s Creation Kit support this kind of customization. 
  • Rewards programs: This includes gametech tools that reward players for gameplay - encouraging them to retain and engage longer. For example, MistPlay is an app players download where they can redeem in-game rewards in exchange for completing tasks and challenges in other games. 
  • Social and community: Social and community gaming technology encourages interaction, communication, and community building among players - all of which are critical to building a strong player base, fostering loyalty, and ensuring ongoing player engagement. This can include friend lists and chat, social media integration, forums and discussions, events, community managers, and more. For example, Vivox, CometChat, and Agora offer in-game messaging and calling functionalities. Meanwhile Steam, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live offer friend lists, chat functionalities, and messaging systems. Communities also often create dedicated Reddit subreddits or Discord servers to discuss with fellow players. 
  • Player analytics: Player analytics video gaming technology gather insight into player behavior, empowering game developers to create data-driven strategies that enhance player experiences, optimize game performance, and boost growth. Unity Analytics and GameAnalytics collect and analyze data on player actions and interactions, like session length, levels completed, in-game purchases, and social interactions.

See how Stash fits in your game technology toolkit

Building out your gametech toolkit? Use Stash to optimize revenue and growth with a first-party distribution channel or payment channel. This way, you’re capturing spend from your best players without needing to pay a 30% fee to platforms like Apple, Google, and Steam - meaning the users you acquire are yours and only yours, as is the revenue they generate for you. Get in touch to learn more about Stash.

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