There is no doubt that, in the 21st century, gaming is an important part of our culture. It may surprise you how influential gaming has become and who plays games the most. The statistics from a recent survey show how the gaming industry has grown based on interviewing 4,000 British residents. Women are the top performers in the gaming sector with 52%. The study also showed that now more adults including those over 44, play games. 33.5 million British citizens play online games – that is a staggering 69% of the population in the UK.
The growing gaming Industry and the popularity of games
With the global gaming community estimated between 2.2 and 2.6 billion people by NewZoo, the global market is expected to grow from $101.1 billion in 2016 to an estimated $128.5 billion by the end of 2020 which is good news for the UK’s gaming industry. Since August 2017, there are 2,175 active video game companies across the UK, providing a wide range of games. The development of sectors such as VR / AR, eSports and Artificial Intelligence is also moving this growth forward. While the physical sales of games decreased from £927m to £776m in 2016 (-16.4%), digital sales rose to £2.18 billion (+ 12.1%).
The increase in online gambling is closely linked to the rise of the smartphone as it has enabled gamers to literally play anywhere where the smartphone can access the internet, which has enabled games for a much broader audience than dedicated consoles or PCs. Mobile puzzles like Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga are intuitive, easily accessible and do not require either a learning time or high cost.
The most popular gaming genres include traditional action adventure and RPG games which have an engrossing plot that draws the gamer in just like a good book or film, but with the added bonus for the gamer of being able to live alternate lives through the playable character(s) in what are typically life changing experiences far removed from their real-world lives. The genres that lead the pack are definitely shooters and pure action games, just like across the pond. Playing in an online UK casino also involves a similar sense of excitement and risk which also makes them popular, offering not only casino staples such as roulette and blackjack but an increasing range of online slots.
The Ukie survey also shows that in 2016, people played on other platforms too: 23% on consoles, 22% on computers, 18% on smartphones, 14% on tablets, and 9% on handhelds. In addition, 54% of respondents said the phone is considered their favourite gaming platform and 25% play every day on it. The internet and mobile devices have changed the game landscape forever because video games became much more accessible and opened to a new audience.
Mobile phone and broadband access are important factors for the British game industry. The Communications Market Report 2017 contains comprehensive analysis and data from the British telecommunications network. 88% of UK households have access to the Internet – an increase of 2% from 2016. There are 25.3 million fixed broadband connections, of which 44% (10.8 million) are considered as very fast (more than 30 Mbps).
44% of English households own an iPhone, 46% an Android phone and 12% a Windows phone. The free apps with the in-app purchase model are the front-runners, accounting for 76% of the UK’s revenue share for apps. In terms of sales per download, UK is at the forefront in Western Europe, with a potential profit of $ 0.47 per download. The United Kingdom is more profitable than China, Germany and the USA.
Contrary to popular belief more and more women are gaming as well. They are almost exclusively interested in casual smartphone games. 47% of the female players have played an online game over the last 6 months. 56% of the female players have played on a console. There is a growing gamer audience exploring the games through new platforms.
It is not only businesses that are going online. More and more we are going online to entertain ourselves, we watch films online, interact socially online and play games online. We are well and truly in a digital age.