During lockdown, people were gaming more than ever before. It seemed as though the whole world was gaming, regardless of age. Even adults, suddenly finding themselves at a loss, unable to work and in unfamiliar territory sought out familiar comforts – with many choosing to turn their old consoles back on.
Games like Call of Duty: Warzone, a free battle-royal version of the game, became hugely popular amongst people of all age groups as people sought out community from isolation. With lockdown ending and people going back to ordinary life, it was unclear how this would affect the gaming market.
How It’s Gone
The global digital media market has been growing consistently, with gaming making up the biggest share of market revenues. In 2020, the global online gaming market generated approximately 21.1 billion USD in revenues, which translated to a record 21.9 percent growth compared to the previous year.
This was obviously helped by the global pandemic. Currently, it’s estimated that there are 1 billion online gamers worldwide with South Korea, Japan and China having the most online gamers among the population. By 2025, it’s projected that online gaming audiences will surpass 1.3 billion.
Where It’s Going
In recent years, the metaverse has seen a shift from traditional single/multiplayer experiences to online multiplayer gaming spanning across multiple countries and continents. Game makers have taken note, especially after seeing how popular games like Fortnite had become.
Game developers Activision released free-to-play Warzone in response to this new craze. A lot of companies are shifting from the tried and tested route of releasing games with both a single player campaign and an online option. We are seeing an increasing amount of gaming companies focusing on releasing games that are fully multiplayer and that often, you get free. Once playing the game, users are then offered different in-game purchases which is where the developers are making their money.
Online Gambling and Casinos
iGaming is now second only to digital consoles in terms of popularity. Last year in the UK, digital software and mobile gaming accounted for 75% of consumer spending on gaming software in 2023. The number of people gaming from their phones has gone up huge amounts in recent years, online gambling companies and casinos have taken note. Operators like Casumo casino want to build a thriving community of players of both new players to the iGaming industry as well as existing, loyal consumers.
The global online gambling market is expected to grow from $73.42 billion in 2023 to $81.08 billion in 2023. To top it off, you play with live dealers that make you feel like you really are at a table in a real casino.
YouTube and Streaming
The gaming industry is a huge one these days, people make careers off it. It started on YouTube; you had content creators like Pewdiepie making content centred around watching him gaming. YouTubers, the Sidemen released countless hours of content devoted to watching the members of the collective play FIFA amongst other games.
To the confusion of many, it became hugely popular. Suddenly there were more kids watching people play games than there were people playing the games. The hugely popular Twitch took things one step further, most of the platform’s biggest content creator’s work centres around communities of gamers watching experts play live. There are also huge tournaments that players can compete in now to win massive sums of money.
History of Esports
If you think that e-sports are a product of the modern age, then you would be wrong. The first official video game competition took place on October 19, 1972. It was an event held by the University of Stanford, where students got to compete in a battle of the vintage Spacewar game. The prizes were far more modest, with a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine being the biggest.
In 2005 , the “CPL World Tour” (Cyberathlete Professional League) was the first eSports event to be held with a $1 million prize. The game played was Painkiller. The entire series was held in ten cities around the world and ended with a final in New York, which was broadcast live by MTV.
In almost 70 years of computer gaming history, the popularity of e-sports has increased in countries all over the world. As a result, prize money has grown significantly, events are growing every year, and you can even bet on eSports these days. Many may not know how eSports started but it’s gone from being a small niche market to becoming a multimedia billion dollar market that attracts investors from all over the world.
Across European football, most teams now have their own e-sports team. With clubs like Barcelona and Manchester City even having e-sports teams competing in Fifa, eFootball League, League of Legends, Rocket League and Fornite competitions.
Mobile gaming is second only to digital consoles when it comes to how people play their games in 2023. Beating out digital PC and boxed software. Whether it’s for the ease, the increasing quality of the games or the sheer amount of time people spend on their phones – mobile gaming is a huge industry. Once upon a time, people were content playing a game of Snake on their brick of a mobile but now we can access most of our favourite titles on our iOS or android devices.
After the success of games like Pokemon Go, which seemed to take over the world for a period of time, game developers saw a new way. Pokemon Go was an AR game from the Pokemon franchise, developed and published by Niantic in collaboration with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. It uses mobile devices with GPS to locate, capture, train, and battle virtual Pokémon, which appear as if they are in the player’s real-world location.
Pokemon Go used the freemium gaming business model along with local advertising. Whilst being free-to-play, it supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items. The game had over 150 million monthly active users by May 2018, with over a billion global downloads by early 2019 and it had grossed $6 billion in revenue by 2020.
Freemium gaming was a model that was widely criticised as being exploitative for quite some time, now it’s a model that more and more gaming giants are using. The 2K series and FIFA changed their content to include in-game purchases as well in recent years.