The global gaming industry has now grown to encompass 2.7 billion gamers – a figure that translates to 35% of the world’s total population – as of April 2020, according to a recent Finbold report. The gaming sector is estimated to generate USD 159.3 billion in revenue in 2020, which would constitute 32.6% year-on-year growth as compared to 2019 revenues of USD 120.1 billion.
A geographical breakdown found that the Asia-Pacific region had the highest number of gamers at 1.5 billion gamers, accounting for 55% of the global gaming population. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa were found to have 758 million gamers (28%), while Latin America accounted for 259 million gamers (9%). Finally, North America came last with 203 million gamers, representing 7% of the gaming population.
This growth can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic as gaming offers a convenient escape for those in lockdown. “Home entertainment is among the few available options while in lockdown as cinemas and theatres remain closed. This scenario gives gaming a higher priority,” the report states. Tencent reported a 31% year-on-year increase in online gaming revenue to RMB 37.30 billion (USD 5.26 billion) just last month. Similarly, Nintendo Switch sales have increased by 34% year-on-year last quarter, no doubt in part due to the viral release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in March.
Similarly, video live-streaming service Twitch, which is home to a large population of gamers, saw an increase of 3.46 million new streamers between January and May 2020, representing a significant growth of 87.81% year-to-date. Over a billion people now stream games every month – almost 25% of Internet users, according to GlobalWebIndex. The rise in streamers can also directly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures forced many to stay at home for a prolonged period of time.
The rapid growth of the gaming industry can also be linked to the emergence of cloud technology, which has given rise to cloud gaming – a form of online gaming that allows players to stream games on remote servers rather than having to download a game onto their system or owning a physical copy. Smartphone mobile gaming is also expected to contribute to the gaming explosion as the accessibility of smartphones allows users to quickly download and play new games with ease.
As the gaming population continues to rise, the gaming industry is expected to continue its upward trajectory for the foreseeable future. By 2022. Newzoo’s annual Global Market Report estimates that the global games industry will be worth USD 196.0 billion.