What is the future of digital gaming?
Brian Corrigan’s head is always in the game, and he stakes his career on the premise that nearly everyone else has their head in a game too.
“Almost everybody is a game player. If you play Wordle, you’re counted as a game player,” Corrigan said in delivering the 37th F. William Harder Lecture in Business Administration virtually on Feb. 22. “Games are incredibly complex applications that appeal to the underlying parts of our brain that make us human.”
As vice president and head of Americas for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corporation), Corrigan currently leads regional publishing efforts for one of the most popular games in the world, and his professional expertise in gaming design and experiences spans more than a decade.
The global market for gaming was $206 billion in 2021, Corrigan noted, and $93 billion of that was in mobile gaming alone. Current data indicates a 5.6% annual growth rate, and that percentage is growing year over year.
And the demographic is wide, he said, pointing to a fairly even split across genders, income brackets, work situations, and ages. “As game designers and game developers, we’re working hard to make sure that there’s a game that appeals to everyone that is able to play them.”
Games have become immersed in global culture, and people play them for a variety of reasons, including for community, competition, creativity, and mastery, Corrigan said. And as the now-50-year-old gaming industry continues to change and expand, those reasons are appearing to evolve too.
Game developers are watching the evolution of the web and what has been dubbed Web3 — the prospect of a new stage of the internet driven by the cryptocurrency-related technology blockchain.
“There’s talk that what we’re seeing is new motivations for people to play,” Corrigan said. With new types of games such as “play to collect” and “play to earn,” investing and earning are new types of puzzles for players to solve, he notes. “We’ll have to see where this goes. In the community, this is a huge source of debate.”
Prior to PUBG, Corrigan was the CEO and studio director of MadGlory (acquired by PUBG in 2018), where he helped to develop games for companies including Riot Games, SuperEvil Megacorp, Bethesda, Psyonix, Bosskey, Epic Games, and Warner Brothers. He previously served as the chief technology officer of Major League Gaming and prior to that was CTO of a Capital Region startup called Agora Games, in Troy, New York.
“I think it’s safe to say that Brian Corrigan’s got game,” summarized Guy Mastrion, F. William Harder Professor of Business Administration.
The annual F. William Harder Lecture at Skidmore College was inaugurated in 1985 and made possible by the generosity of F. William Harder, a Skidmore parent and College trustee from 1968 to 1980. The lecture invites industry leaders to explore the current business environment and the challenges that lie ahead.