Bolstered by the global pandemic and the growth in the number of mobile games, video games will continue to grow in the form of e-sport competitions, charity events, the metaverse, NFT, virtual and augmented reality, and more. We reveal everything in this dedicated article!
Video games and their market: what’s at play
Key figures for gaming
According to Accenture's "Gaming: The next super platform" study, the global video game market for 2021 alone included:
- $300 billion
- 2.7 billion players
- 500 million new players in the last three years
Where are the largest numbers of players?
- China: 929 million (35%)
- United States: 219 million (8%)
- Japan: 75 million (3%)
- United Kingdom: 40 million (1%)
Each week, the average player spends about...
- 16 hours of play time
- 8 hours watching or participating in video-game streams
- 6 hours exchanging with the gaming community on forums and other platforms
Mobile gaming: the number one source of revenue for the video game market:
The rise of mobile games is the number-one source of revenue for the video game market ($83.7 billion), followed by PC games ($41.4 billion) and console games ($39.9 billion).
This trend has pushed companies like Netflix to launch their own mobile games. Today, several games are available directly from the Netflix mobile app, in the "games" section including Bowling Ballers, Stranger Things: 1984, or Shooting Hoops.
Other companies have followed suit by making their PC or console games available via mobile platforms:
- Nintendo with Mario Kart: + 50 million downloads on the Play Store
- Riot Games with League of Legends: Wild Rift or TFT: Teamfight Tactics: + 10 million downloads each on Play Store
- MiHoYo with Genshin Impact: +10 million downloads on Play Store
- And many others...
The video game community is growing and diversifying
If the video game market is still on a meteoric rise, it's because its community has been growing with it over time—and for a very long time. Today, there are 2.7 billion gamers, and in the next few years, it's expected to grow by another 400 million, pushing back the clichés even further! Although the average age of video game players worldwide is 32 according to Accenture, there is no longer a typical profile:
- Today, children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents from all over the world play video games via tablets, smartphones, PCs, and consoles.
- Women are also becoming more and more numerous. According to Accenture, 46% of gamers are women, and one of the reasons for this phenomenon would be the adaptation of video games on mobile.
The video game market: have everything at your fingertips without ever leaving home
To play on a console or PC in days of yore, you had to go to a store, then wait until you got home to start playing. Today, however, video games come directly to you, as they’re becoming more and more accessible. If you have an internet connection, like the estimated 4.6 billion active internet users this year, there are hundreds of thousands of games available on platforms such as Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store, and Uplay—enough to satisfy gamers looking for something new!
Companies like Microsoft or EA games even allow their users to choose a subscription to rent all types of games for several months:
- Game Pass on Xbox, PC and cloud: depending on the subscription you choose, this pass gives you access to a library of quality games on all kinds of connected objects: phone, tablet, console, and PC;
- EA Games' EA Play: which provides access to free trials of new EA games, members-only content, discounted prices, and more.
Growth in the video game market: what does it mean?
Twitch and YouTube: More and more traffic on video game streaming platforms
The world of video games is not only about playing. It's also about experiencing great moments collectively and online through streaming platforms!
Since the implementation of the various lockdown periods around the world, there has been a growing rush on streaming platforms such as Twitch and even YouTube.
According to Accenture, no fewer than 405 million people follow the top 10 gaming influencers on YouTube. In the same vein, statista.com's "Number of active streamers on Twitch worldwide from January 2018 to September 2021,” chart records a peak of 9.89 million active streamers on Twitch during January 2021. Among them, Ninja (or Richard Tyler Blevins by his real name) already counted more than 16.9 million followers in September 2021, making him the biggest streamer on the platform!
The growing, tight-knit community of gamers
The social side of the gaming community
For a few years now, a whole social phenomenon has developed around video games. And this phenomenon isn’t about to stop anytime soon!
According to Accenture and its survey, video games are known for creating virtual bonds:
- 84% of gamers say that video games allow them to meet people who share common interests
- 80% of gamers believe that video games allow them to meet new people
- 77% of gamers find that video games help them stay in touch with their friends
These figures show us that the social interactions that arise from the world of video games and its community are essential. They bring both a certain conviviality for the average player, but also a daily presence to people who are sometimes more introverted and who wish to remedy their solitude.
Gaming is also about sharing great moments online with friends or members of the same guild (= group of people who regularly play multiplayer games together). That's why gaming social networks have seen a real increase in their user numbers. For example, between May 2017 and June 2020, Discord users grew from 45 million to 300 million according to Statista.com.
This growing trend doesn't just apply to the use of social gaming networks. It also applies to the purchase of consoles and the games associated with them: no fewer than 12 million Nintendo Switch were sold between April and September 2020.
Going hand in hand with the rise in sales of the Nintendo Switch, there were almost 21 million copies sold for Animal Crossing: New Horizon between April 2020 and March 2021. Players took advantage of the multiplayer mode (up to 8 simultaneous players on the same island) to connect with each other and visit one another on their respective islands—a nice way to cope with the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Other multiplayer games such as Among Us from US company InnerSloth have also boomed dramatically. According to The Guardian, more than 100 million players were registered in 2020 in total—including 60 million daily active players by the end of September 2020.
One could almost think that these multiplayer games have managed to fill some of the social void felt during the early confinements.
Gaming events that are growing in size
More and more events are being set up and are totally changing this masculine and closed image of the gaming community, since they bring together an audience of all ages, genders and backgrounds around common causes and interests. We are witnessing a true democratization of gaming.
Soccer, football, and tennis matches aren’t the only events bringing the public together in large stadiums around the world. Enter e-sport competitions! They allow the players and the public to live great collective moments in an unparalleled conviviality.
For example, the League of Legends World Championship organized by Riot Games takes place annually: for almost a month, professional players from all over the world compete against each other in teams. The tournaments are broadcast live on live streaming platforms, such as Twitch, and are viewed by millions of viewers around the globe. This year, the peak of 4 million simultaneous viewers was reached!
The final round brings together an energetic and passionate audience both physically and virtually (since it is broadcast live on live streaming platforms)—not only for the competition, but also for the artists featured during concerts organized for the occasion.
The locations of the last League of Legends World Championships were in Iceland (2021), China (2020), France (2019), Korea (2018), China (2017), the USA (2016)...
Yet other big events, this time with a more charitable spirit, have been created in the last few years. We can think of the Z Event, a French charity marathon broadcasted on Twitch which has become very popular!
The goal? Streamers make 50 hours of live performances to raise record amounts of money for charities each year.
This year, more than 10 million euros were donated to Action contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger in English) thanks to:
- 51 streamers
- 3 hours of concert
- 56 hours of live streaming
- A peak of 1 million simultaneous viewers
Video games in movies
What if we told you that video games didn't just stop at their mobile versions? There are now movie adaptations of our favorite games!
One thinks directly of the series "Arcane,” released on Netflix in 2021 and based on the game League of Legends. But long before that, there were already video games adapted to the big screen: Dofus, Street Fighter, Professor Layton, Warcraft, Need for Speed, Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider, and many more!
Video game trends in 2022
On-demand gaming and cloud gaming development
In recent years, cloud gaming has been gaining in popularity. Not only does it allow participants to play any game wherever and whenever they want, but it also brings our old machines back to life.
Cloud gaming: how does it work?
Your game is hosted, stored, and run on remote servers in one or more data centers with sufficient power to offer you the best possible gaming experience.
These servers are then responsible for the interpretation of your actions/commands as a player—but also for the execution of the game, the response time, and the quality of the graphic and sound retransmissions of the game on your screen.
Two very good examples of cloud gaming that allow you to play on computer, tablet, phone, and other platforms at any time depending on your subscription:
The release of new gaming devices: smartphones designed for video games
So, our smartphone is no longer just for calling, texting, listening to music, or watching HD videos. Now, it can even become a game console in its own right.
Unlike cloud gaming, which brings our old machines back to life, new technologies are being launched on the market: gaming smartphones or phones mainly dedicated to video games. Equipped with specific components and adapted processors, they’re able to run the most powerful and energy-consuming games on your device without making it flinch.
Virtual and augmented reality, NFT, and online shopping
Virtual versus augmented reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are two ways of playing that are already well established in the video game market through:
- Games like Pokémon Go, Harry Potter Wizards Unite, or Jurassic World Alive (augmented reality)
- Virtual reality headsets such as Oculus, Vive, or PSVR (PlayStation Virtual Reality) all launched in 2016
While they allow their users to literally immerse themselves in their favorite games and live a 100% immersive experience, they have not yet said their last word! Their use is becoming more and more common, especially in e-sport competitions such as the 2017 League of Legends World Championship in China. Riot Games allowed the audience to live an extraordinary experience thanks to augmented reality glasses:
Looking further ahead, augmented reality could eventually become a way to access important information during competitions: player statistics, 3D maps, and other information on demand.
Another example of the use of these innovative technologies: the Facebook group (recently renamed Meta) recently introduced us to the Metaverse. Like the movie Ready Player One, this immersive virtual world launched last August combines virtual and augmented reality. Players create their avatars and share moments of conviviality with family, friends, and colleagues:
- "Horizon Home" allows its users to build their virtual home
- "Horizon Worlds" gives the possibility to create virtual worlds and interact within them with your own avatar
- With teleworking becoming the new norm since the start of the pandemic, the Meta Group's "Metaverse" gives its users access to virtual work desktops, allowing everyone to keep the social aspect of work through daily interactions
NFT and play-to-earn gaming
And finally, let's talk a little bit about cryptocurrency!
NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) are virtual and cryptographic elements that can be acquired and owned via the blockchain. Each token has a unique identification code with its own characteristics, making it distinguishable from other tokens, irreplaceable, and inimitable.
It is important to note that NFTs are used to represent real or virtual objects (images, videos or audios, game characters, artworks, virtual kittens,...) related to the notion of property. It is the latter that has value, the object in itself has no value. Files are not stored on the blockchain, it is not made to store files but transactions.
Before, we used to talk about "pay-to-play" games: you had to pay to access the game and play. From now on, we talk about "play-to-earn" games: the more you play, the more NFTs you earn, the richer you get. The integration of blockchain in video games allows participants:
- To provide a more immersive experience, as NFTs give players more control over game elements. For example, if they acquire an NFT in the form of a character, item, or virtual land, they gain exclusive ownership of it. These NFTs can be purchased or simply earned based on the player's level of advancement and frequency of play.
- To strengthen the use of the blockchain, since the NFTs acquired through these games are also virtual items that can be bought and resold via the blockchain.
Going hand in hand with this growing trend of NFT games, according to the Stratis blockchain platform's study, 72% of Game Designers are considering integrating NFT and blockchain into their games. This could revolutionize the world of video games!
To learn more
Did you like this article about video games and tech?
- The interview with Axel, a former student of our web developer course who developed a video game during a Game Jam
- C++ and Solar 2D, two programming languages used to create video games
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