The entertainment industry is big business. But while the worlds of music, film, and TV are perhaps the most visible, with glitz and glamour in abundance, the global gaming industry has surpassed them as the most popular form of entertainment.
It’s even bigger than Hollywood, the movie industry in general, and music. The rapid development in terms of technology and its increasing affordability have made gaming more popular than ever. And the rise in mobile gaming has opened the industry up to players who may never have owned a console in their lives.
The gaming industry is booming – it has generated an estimated US$152.1 billion in revenue this year alone, with a player base of over 2.5 billion people. In contrast, the revenue from cinema box offices this year so far is US$41.7 billion, with the revenue pulled in from the music industry half that. Let’s have a closer look at the gaming industry around the world.
Global gaming market
The gaming industry receives far less coverage in the media than the film and music industry, but it has been quietly building over the last decade to surpass both.
It can be divided into three sections, mobile, console and PC gaming. Mobile gaming is the biggest part of the puzzle, generating $68.5 billion in 2020 so far, an increase of 10% from 2018. With mobile technology developing so fast, the quality of the gaming experience keeps going from strength to strength, and console and PC gamers can be satisfied with gameplay and graphics. Also, mobile versions of console games can be integrated seamlessly with the originals, and games can be played online.
The fact that smartphones and tablets are so ubiquitous and affordable now also accounts for their popularity, and the COVID 19 pandemic has also led to an increase in mobile gamers, as people search for socially distanced forms of entertainment. Consoles account for $47.9 billion in revenue this year so far, and PC gaming $35.7 billion.
In recent years online gaming has become a powerful cornerstone of the industry, with billions of players interacting online. It is now possible to make a career from playing video games, and eSports are increasingly popular.
Around the world
Many trends in gaming are worldwide, however, some regions have slightly differing trends. Let’s look at a few.
The United Kingdom is definitely a nation of gamers, with almost half the population playing some form of video games. In 2018 the UK accounted for £5.7 billion in revenue and has the 6th largest market share in the world.
There are approximately 32.4 million gamers in the UK (out of a population of about 66.5 million) which is fairly evenly divided between men and women – 52% and 48% respectively. Mobile gaming accounts for the largest number of players, with boxed game sales slowly declining in the digital/online era. The largest demographic playing video games is men aged 28-35.
Although trailblazing brands such as Nintendo originated in Japan, the United States is where gaming culture really began. And it’s no surprise to see that the USA is the leading revenue-generating nation for video games – in 2020 so far the amount is $60.4 billion. In contrast to many other regions, mobile gaming is less popular than consoles, which remain the favored choice over PC. The leading demographic is slightly younger than the UK – men aged 21-30 are the most avid players.
The MENA region is home to the world’s most active gaming community, as well as the fastest growing online gaming population in the world which is forecasted to reach $ 6 billion in revenues in 2021. North Africa is also following this trend accordingly.
One surprising fact is that among games that are also popular worldwide, such as League of Legends, The Witcher, Among Us, and many others, online casino games are also seen as one of the favorites in the region, with Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat leading the way.
This trend is surprising since gambling is illegal in many MENA countries However, on the map provided by the ArabianBetting online casino blog, we can see these games are played all the way from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, to Morocco (and further on).
The region is seeing a growth of 25% a year, with eSports revenue alone topping $1 billion, with mobile gaming being extremely popular. MENA has a younger population than the UK and the USA, and the demographic playing the most reflects this – males aged between 18 and 24 make up the bulk of gamers. Cloud casino games can fall in the trend as a new opportunity in the ever-rising gaming population in MENA is up to be seen.
Parts of the developing world such as South East Asia, parts of Africa, and South America have much younger populations than Europe and the USA. This means that a larger portion of the population plays video games – but mainly on mobile platforms. The affordability of powerful smartphones and tablets have opened the gaming market up in these regions.