Online Gaming Statistics: 17 Facts that Will Blow You Away

Posted under: Blog, Gaming and Internet

Gaming is the biggest form of entertainment today (more on that later), though it has only been around for a few decades. People spend hours each day on it, and often thousands of dollars each year. Console shortages continue into the year, and it seems as though the next hit game is always just around the corner. Gaming is a huge part of the culture and a huge part of the internet. It is important to understand it on at least a basic level if you want to understand the online world today.

While we cannot possibly go over the entire gaming industry, here are some main gaming statistics to give you a clue about where things stand in 2022:

The Gaming Population

There are a lot of gamers, and they come from a lot of backgrounds. And these demographics are important to consider when looking at the future and present of gaming. Here are a few key points:

1. There Will Be an Estimated 3.09 Billion Gamers in 2022

According to current information, the number of gamers in 2022 will be about 3.09 billion. This is up from 2.96 billion last year, and there are more gamers than there have ever been. As more people gain access to smartphones, tablets, consoles, pc, the more people will join this number. Similarly, gaming is becoming more common and less of a niche hobby (if it ever was for more than a few years). We will easily see the population of gamers reach more than half the population 

What constitutes a gamer? As opposed to what constitutes a “true gamer” on many forums, practically anything applies. Whether they’re playing a mobile game, a big AAA console masterpiece, or something simple in their browser, it all counts. People enjoy games in different ways, but interactive entertainment itself is broad. Given the size of the market, the industry wants to make sure there is something for everyone.

2. The Average Gamer is 35-44 Years Old

However, it should be noted that we are looking at the people who play games overall, not who plays the most or most intensely. The average gamer might only play for a few hours a week when they have time, or on their phone while waiting for their kids to get out of school. The average person playing Fortnite or League of Legends probably isn’t the same as the “average gamer”, but it isn’t necessarily important in the grand scheme of things. There are people playing games from every generation. Out of the gaming population, about 6 percent of them are over 65!

Mobile gaming has certainly helped with this, as have portable consoles (those with constant flights or many appointments can truly appreciate the Nintendo Switch). However, there is still a fair number of gamers under 18, as you would expect. About 21 percent of gamers are under 18.

3. There Are About 46 Million Gamers with Disabilities

From the same source, you should know that there are 46 million gamers with disabilities. There are many people with disabilities all over the world, and they game just as much, if not more than everyone else. And gaming, compared to many activities, is relatively non-strenuous. That makes it a great option for people who might have difficulties getting outside.

Naturally, many gamers would have difficulties playing games as they are generally made for people with at least a decent level of hand/eye coordination, as well as decent sight. Perhaps fine hand movements are difficult, or there are visual problems or hearing problems that would get in the way of playing games.

Fortunately, things are looking up for disabled gamers. While some problems might not ever be able to be solved, improvements are being made for accessibility across the board. There are controllers and control schemes designed for people with disabilities. Games are adding more difficulty modifiers so everyone can enjoy a game how they would like to. Even things such as color blindness settings are becoming standard. The industry standard is heading towards more inclusiveness.

4. 65 Percent of Gamers Play with Others

From the time video games were invented they were meant to be played with others. Pong was a two-player game, and many arcades games were built with two people in mind. Even the early consoles had inputs for at least two controllers.

And while we are for the most part away from the early consoles and arcade games, the spirit of playing with others (cooperatively or competitively) has not left gaming. According to the ESA, 65 percent of gamers play with others. This could be with a friend or family member on the couch, on the computer as part of an MMORPG, or on one of the many console games designed with multiplayer in mind. People meet each other every day through gaming, and many gamers use it as a primary way to keep in touch with loved ones.

5. The Video Game Penetration Rate is Highest in the Philippines

Where do people game? All over the world. Yet in some places, gaming is more commonplace than in others, at least among people with an internet connection. And no place has a higher penetration rate than the Philippines, where 97 percent of people play games on at least some device. Mobile games are common and cheap enough for anyone with a phone to afford, making gaming a hobby for everyone no matter where you’re from. And while there are many Asian countries at the top of the list as one might expect, it’s actually more of a mixture. Some countries around the world simply have more of a gaming population than others.

Where does the United States place in all of this, by the way? They have a penetration rate of 77.2 percent. That is still a lot of people to be sure, though we wonder how it will rise or stagnate as time goes on. Similarly, Japan has a penetration rate of 74.5 percent, despite being one of the countries most well-known for developing games. 

6. Two in Five Gamers Are Female

According to the ESA, about 40 percent of gamers are female. As a rule, most of them play more casual games to relax, but this is by no means an all-encompassing rule. Despite previous stereotypes, there are tons of serious female gamers, and it’s becoming an extremely common main hobby for women.

Yet why is there the impression that most men play video games and it's more of a boy’s hobby? It comes down to marketing decades ago, though that is a long story that we would recommend researching further on your own. Adding onto this is the fact that many games made today are marketed more towards men as a result of these previous efforts and you see a compounding problem. Efforts to include representation of women in games are increasing, with mixed reviews overall.

Industry Growth and Revenue

Gaming can be an art, but it is also an industry that deals with billions of dollars. Investors care about how well studios and games are doing, and there have been some huge deals in the past year that you should know about. Here are some stats and facts that go over the last year in gaming:

7. Last Year Video Games Brought in About $180 Billion in Revenue

That’s a lot of money, Depending on which source you use, you might find that games brought in anywhere from $175-185 billion. This is a rise from last year, and most of it came from mobile games (more on that later).

And based on predictions, you can see where the market is heading over the next five years:

Naturally, the gaming industry is going to grow in various ways, and some companies will do better than others. However, despite changing economic times and preferences elsewhere, gaming is on the rise. People spent more on games during the pandemic, and they will be spending more money on games after it. This trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

8. The Chinese Gaming Market Generated $46 Billion in 2021

There are plenty of countries we could talk about when it comes to the gaming market, but we think that the Chinese market is worth talking about in particular. It is the single largest country in terms of revenue, and a huge market for games. It’s a huge disadvantage to have a game not be available in China.

It is also heavily driven by mobile games, with most Chinese gamers only using a smartphone to game. And even with heavier restrictions on gaming in China than in most countries, the market is still the largest and they have the largest overall gaming population. There might be Chinese games the West has never heard of and vice versa. This is an important thing to keep in mind if you are looking at which games are most popular.

9. The Console Gaming Market Reached almost $50 billion in 2021

Console gaming has always been huge. The home gaming market was for the most part reliant on consoles. While there has always been a contingent on PC gaming, consoles were what people mostly thought of when it came to gaming.

Though now console gaming is on something of a decline, down 8.9 percent from last year. This can be attributed to the rise of mobile gaming, PC gaming being much easier, and the shortage of new consoles making sales of games difficult. It could be a temporary trend and rebound when consoles are more widely available, or the start of a larger trend.

However, in the grand scheme of things compared to mobile gaming, console gaming might be dwarfed, but it will have its place in homes for at least several console generations to come.

Mobile Gaming

One cannot overstate the importance of mobile gaming or its growth. If there is anything to take away from this article, please take away that mobile gaming is on the rise and is a juggernaut. This was true years ago. With that in mind, here are a few statistics about the current state of mobile gaming. 

10. Players Downloaded 82.98 Billion Mobile Games in 2021

Much like how people can easily download dozens of apps each year, mobile users will commonly download many games. After all, the number of games downloaded means that the average person downloaded more than 10 games. And not every person has a smartphone, much less plays mobile games.

People are rather likely to jump around from game to game until they find one they like. They might also play a few different games at any point in their life. The shelf life of the average mobile game isn’t very long. For every Pokémon Go, many, many more games do not make the cut. People will download them, try them once, and then uninstall them. It is simply the natural life-cycle of the mobile game.

11. There will be 3.7 Billion Mobile Game Players by 2023

Based on current estimates, there will be about 3.7 billion mobile game players by 2023. More people are getting smartphones, games are getting better and more accessible, and the social aspect is appealing. There’s not much more to it than that. The exact total will likely differ, and this will be a difficult thing to track precisely, but truly the impression is all you need. Gaming is part of world culture, and mobile games are the gateway for most people.

12. 85 Percent of Mobile Gamers Do Not Identify as Gamers

Being a “gamer” is kind of a loaded term. It often gives an impression of someone obsessed with games or someone who makes it a major part of their lifestyle. Many people who would call themselves such might treat it as a part-time job. As such, there might be a stigma or seriousness attached that many people would prefer to avoid, lest others get the wrong idea.

We’re using the broad definition of gamer in this piece, but note that most mobile gamers don’t think of themselves as gamers.

13. Mobile Game Spending in 2021 Reached $116 Billion

Mobile gaming is the cash cow of the industry, growing in importance every year. In 2022 revenue will easily top $110 billion again, possibly more depending on the mobile games that release or get major updates. Spending is easier, encouraged (for better or worse), and more common than ever. And while mobile game spending will come from a proportionally small number of people, overall the spending is going up.

Livestreaming, Video, and the Gaming Ecosystem

Games are more about just playing them these days. There’s an entire ecosystem around games that make them something of a lifestyle. Livestreaming is huge on Twitch, and gaming content has found a home on YouTube. Given that both of these influence people to buy and play games to a great degree, and influence public gaming discourse, we thought we would talk about them a bit.

14. There were 2.78 Million Average Concurrent Twitch Viewers in 2021

Twitch, the main gaming Livestream platform in at least the United States (and most of the Western world), attracts a large audience. There are millions of people watching at any one time. And if you were to go onto the site now, you’d find thousands of people streaming at any one point. There’s something for everyone (or at least every gamer).

What is also interesting is that the number of average concurrent viewers on the platform keeps growing. Part of this is certainly the expansion of the site into some new grounds and the increased popularity of gaming in general. Yet there’s something about the experience itself that draws many people in. In any case, do look at the growing numbers and decide for yourself where things are going.

15. YouTube Viewers Watched More than 100 Billion Hours of Gaming Content in 2020

Gaming content is popular on YouTube, and that’s an understatement. That equates to more human lifetimes than most people could comprehend. People love to watch it (or at least keep it on in the background), and therefore content creators are incentivized to keep making it. The algorithm and some issues with YouTube can slow things down, but overall there’s a video on every game out there, ranging from tips to full playthroughs. Add stream archives to the mix and even the total hours watched don’t seem like all that much.

New Ideas in Gaming

It used to be that you either rented a video game from the store or just went to the store, bought the game, and put the cartridge or disk into the appropriate device. No longer is this the universal case. Now we have different methods of buying a game, renting it, and accessing it alone and with others. Here are some stats on new ideas and technologies that you should be aware of:

16. Xbox Game Pass Has at Least 25 Million Subscribers

The subscription service might be the future. One of the biggest things in gaming to come out of the last three years is the Xbox Game Pass, a service that allows users to download and play games from a large library for about $10-$15 a month. Given the games involved and the price, it is an amazing deal for most gamers and is clearly a way to get more people inside the Xbox ecosystem. Those who are cautious worry about ownership over games and whether there will still be the option to even buy and own the games in the future. Though proponents say it allows people to try games they otherwise wouldn’t bother with.

And while Game Pass might be the clear market leader with more than 25 million subscribers and almost certainly the best option for most users, other companies are certainly trying to get in on the recurring revenue stream. PlayStation Plus has been around for some time, and Sony will likely try to expand it to compete. Nintendo’s online service includes classic games and more features (for an additional price). We will likely see adjustments to the idea this year, as well as expansions and a few newcomers.

17. Cloud Gaming Wasn’t as Successful as Companies Would Have Liked

In the last couple of years, one of the bigger investments and hopes for the industry was cloud gaming. Stadia, perhaps being the poster child for a pure cloud gaming platform, was the thing to watch. And there are perhaps around two million Stadia users currently. That might not be enough to support a platform with a massive infrastructure compared to other types of content delivery.

It may be too early to say whether certain types of cloud gaming will be a success, but companies are running into speed bumps. Not everyone has great internet for it, and most people who enjoy games would rather spend just a little more on a reliable console. It’s experimental, but it’s still finding its place.

Gaming in the Future

So, based on the above, where are we going with gaming? What are some of the trends to look out for and some of the best options for people in the future? 

  • We will see more of the same, in many regards. What is happening is obviously working on the whole, and while there are flops for games, this is the case in any industry. Most of the same tried-and-true mechanics will remain, and any changes to market demand will be slow. After all, it can take more than half a decade to make a game, and production can start slowly. There may be a new genre that takes the throne (such as the FPS or the battle royale), but you’ll still see the types of games one finds today five years down the line, if more advanced.
  • If you haven’t deduced it already, mobile gaming is only going to get bigger and become a part of people’s lives in one way or another. Some may see it as a social ill (and there may be an argument for that) leading to more government regulation, but there is a lot of money at stake. It could go in some ways like gambling (this is already the case in some countries) or people could simply grow wiser about the tricks that mobile games use. In either case, we are confident that changes are coming, and we might start seeing more diverse games and revenue models in the space.
  • As always, there will be some studios trying to push the envelope when it comes to graphics, and the same when it comes to sound design or other technical aspects of a game. There is always something in development that seeks to be the greatest thing ever. Whether it is successful in doing so or not, we can expect attempts to break the cutting edge, both on new hardware and current hardware. Will there be pushback against hyperrealism? We won’t know until we see it.
  • Last but not least, changes within and around video game development and publishing itself might play a huge role in the coming years. The workplace is changing in most industries, especially those related to technology. Will we see a greater degree of remote work in gaming industries, or will there be a return to the studio model that most are used to? Similarly, will game developers unionize as has been speculated (if hoped for) by many? These are the two threads you might want to keep your eye on the most, especially since there is no clear answer.

Conclusion

Gaming is an inescapable part of the future, and we hope that it’s an enjoyable part of your life if you are interested. The demographics and numbers of gaming are constantly changing, and it's interesting to see where the industry is headed. You might be a gamer yourself, a bystander, or a family member of someone who enjoys a regular gaming session. Whatever the case, we hope that these statistics give you a better handle on things and that you come back as needed.