The global online gaming market is one of the most successful markets, and it has been constantly expanding. Around 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in revenue were made in 2020, which represents a 21.9 percent growth in comparison to the previous year.
When compared to other entertainment industries, last year, gaming prevailed over both movies and sports. It is not hard to explain this state of affairs given the global pandemic which has forced people to stay in their homes and look for amusement online.
And what is interesting was that players saw multiplayer online games as an opportunity to meet new people. A big growth has, for example, been evident in the United Kingdom where, in June 2020, 26 percent of players said that since the beginning of the lock-downs, they have been playing more games online as a way to meet friends and family. Furthermore, almost half of the online multiplayer gamers in certain European countries stated that playing games online during the pandemic has helped them in keeping in contact with friends.
In the end, it is estimated that there are currently 1 billion online players worldwide and that their number will exceed 1.3 billion by 2025.
If we take a closer look at the regions with growing online gaming markets, we will see that the Asia Pacific region represents the largest revenue source. Japan, China, and South Korea are leading the way by having the largest online gaming reach among their populations. The number of gamers grows in tandem with the growing population. Because of free-to-play options, it is expected that during 2021, the number of online players will rise to 250 million. As to any trends among the types of games played, despite being relatively new to the Asia Pacific, esports is quickly becoming the most popular.
However, other regions also contribute significantly to this trend. With its gaming revenue expected to reach $6 billion in 2021, the Middle East is considered by Forbes one of the new leaders in the industry. What makes this region such a good opportunity for development is its young population and the fact that Arabic, the language most spoken in the region, is at the same time one of the world’s most spoken languages. So far, less than 1% of games have been localized to Arabic, which offers a huge space for the adaptation of already existing games as well as the creation of new ones aimed specifically at this growing market.
Regarding the types of games that are popular in the region, there is a tendency towards eSports, like in the Asia Pacific. Alongside this. We are witnessing the growing popularity of online casinos, which are becoming a trend around the globe but also specifically, and less expectedly, in the Middle East.
Despite gambling restrictions, however, online regional portals are devoting their resources to helping players find the safest options in the area. For example, websites like ArabianBetting are dedicated to researching the best venues for playing different games, so that their recommendations on online casinos are plentiful. Given that security is a concern to players in the region, they also compile the necessary information on how to keep the players’ safety intact by choosing the right operator.
Figures show that the gaming industry is also thriving in Europe. In 2020, 51% of its residents reported playing games, and the gain from gaming made up 3% of the overall revenue, which has grown by 55% in the last six years. The advantage that this region presents for the gaming industry is the fact that many countries, such as Italy, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, and others have recognized gaming as a huge potential for their economies and are therefore investing in and supporting gaming developers and companies in constantly developing new games. For this reason, some of the biggest names in the industry operate in Europe. For example, Ubisoft, Tencent, Zynga, Blizzard, and Activision. Also, some of these countries, like for example, Italy, have recognized the potential that the legalization of online gambling brings, which only adds up to this revenue.
The Americas are also greatly contributing to the growth. With its gamers dominantly playing online games, South America is home to some of the fastest-growing gaming markets. North America is also experiencing a big growth in the number of online gamers, with an increase of almost 100% midway through 2020. The main advantage of this region is its fast technological progress, with new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality having a huge positive impact on gaming.
Leading games and genres
We have already mentioned some trends in types of games in various regions, but let’s take a look at global trends.
Most popular genres:
- Platform games
- Casino Games
On the other hand, some of the most popular games are:
- Among Us
- Dota 2
- Clash of Clans
- Candy Crush Saga
With the number of players continuously growing in most parts of the world, as well as the specific advantages offered by each region, the gaming industry is experiencing significant growth. Circumstances such as the global pandemic had also contributed to this burgeoning. Even Netflix is expanding into games. Namely, the streaming service announced that its first ones will appear in 2022, they will be mobile and free to all subscribers.
Judging from this decision, as well as the decision of many countries to invest in game development, the gaming industry represents a huge growth potential.