The journey from a humble arcade game to today’s highly advanced mobile games highlights the online gaming industry’s phenomenal growth over the past few decades.
What began as a rudimentary arcade game (popularized by Atari-Pong) in the early 70s evolved to console games in the mid-80s, with the introduction of Nintendos and Video games. One can never forget the iconic Super Mario and his antics! It further moved to Gameboys and other handheld gaming devices in the latter part of the decade. Then arrived the era of the premium PlayStations, introduced by Sony, that went on to become an overnight success. It was during this period that PC games were also being largely popularized. In the mid-2000s mobile gaming began a revolutionary innovation and was made highly successful with the advent of smartphones. Thus, what began as a simple entertainment platform is now one of the most profitable industries in the world.
The radical growth the online gaming industry has witnessed for more than half a century is vouched by the fact that there are over 2.7 billion gamers globally and by 2023, it is expected to cross the 3 billion mark, if not sooner. It is no surprise that the Asia Pacific region has the most gamers. This fact does not indicate that the US is behind in any of these numbers. It has been found that more than 40% of Americans are gamers and one in every four households in the country has at least one console.
It is the arrival of mobile phones, especially smartphones, that led to the remarkable and radical growth surge in the online gaming industry that includes e-sports as well.
Some of the most downloaded games (or game apps) in the past 8-10 years include PUBG Mobile, Pokemon Go, Subway Surfers, Candy Crush Saga, Temple Run 2, Clash of Clans, Pou, Hill Climb Racing, Fruit Ninja, 8 Ball Pool, and more. In 2020, a few of the most downloaded games were Garena Free Fire, Among Us, Hunter Assassin, Gardenscapes, Brain Out, Ludo King, Tiles Hop, Homescapes, etc, in addition to PUBG Mobile and Subway Surfers.
The year 2020 witnessed more than 80 billion mobile game downloads and as per statistics, gamers have spent a whopping $100 billion+ on mobile games in the same year. What is more interesting is that more than 46% of gaming enthusiasts are women.
Experts comment that the online gaming industry will soon receive a complete makeover (thanks to COVID 19 and the pandemic) and that it is expected to happen very soon.
Popular Online Games
The most popular online games in recent times include:
- PUBG (100+ Million players)
- Minecraft (95+ Million players)
- Apex Legends (50 Million players)
- Fortnite Battle Royale (45 Million players)
- CS: Global Offensive (35 Million players)
- HearthStone (30 Million layers)
- League of Legends (25+ Million players)
- Call of Duty Mobile (15 Million players)
In the APAC region, the South Eastern countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the likes are countries that are more prone to indulge in online games. These nations collectively have generated over 4 billion in terms of revenue.
After APAC, Europe (386 million), the Middle East & Africa (377 Million), Latin America (266 million), and North America (210 million) have the most number of video gamers in the year 2021.
Segmentation- Gaming Devices & Platforms
The online gaming industry can broadly be divided into five segments:
- PC Games (Browser)
- Boxed PC Games
- Smartphone games
- Tablet games
Mobile or smartphone games occupy a major part and hence are the main player, (with almost 48%) in the gaming market share. It is closely followed by console games, boxed or free download PC games, tablet games, and PC games (browser).
It is also noteworthy that Sony PlayStation was the most sought-after gaming device (or platform) in the year 2020. Though consoles are less popular than smartphones when it comes to online gaming, some of the most popular consoles include PlayStation by Sony (PS2, PS3, PS4, PS5), Wii, Xbox 360, NES, Switch, etc.
Most online gamers were in the age group of 18-34 and a few others in the 60+ group. The majority of the gamers are men (above 55%) and women are only approximately 44% in the US. The average age of men online gamers is 34 and for women, it is 36 years.
Thus, what began as a simple basic gaming idea, from Atari’s Pong and Pac-Man, the online gaming industry has grown exponentially in over five decades into a vast one.
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