2014 Global Gaming Stats: Who’s Playing What, and Why?

Posted by Lisa Galarneau on January 16, 2014 in Game News -- Share:

In this follow-up to Conor Murphy’s 2012 article Stereotype-defying Gaming Statistics, we’ll look at the global gaming landscape and highlight some of the shifting trends that will affect how 2014 shapes up in terms of games.

The Top 10 Gaming Trends

1. Women are playing more and more games, and so is the older generation
It’s a relatively small increase but women now account for 47% of U.S. gamers, up from 42% in 2012.  In short, the gaming population is becoming more and more diverse, and developers have taken notice.  Older gamers are also fanatical (29% of gamers are over the age of 50), though one interesting trend is the creation of game communities specific to older gamers.

2. Gaming families and friend networks are the norm
Out with the lonely, solo gamer stereotypes!  Gamers have grown up to have gamer kids and families are gaming together, though there is still room for growth: over one-third of parents play games with their kids regularly (at least once a week) and over one half play at least once a month. 16% of kids play with parents, 40% play with friends, 17% play with their spouse or significant other and 34% play with other family members.

However, 89% of parents are more involved than ever in their kids’ purchases and play.  The Entertainment Software Association notes: ‘In barely more than a generation, video games transformed from a diversion for the few into a mass medium, helping people live, learn, work, and of course, play.’

3. Revenue from games and game content is up and on par with the movie industry
It’s been a few years now that game sales ($24 billion) have outpaced movie box office sales (just $10 billion per year), but now games are a serious competitor to the entire tv/film industry with game play now eating into even mainstays like television viewing.

4. Games are going more and more mobile
In the U.S. mobile penetration is 101%, meaning there is at least one phone for every American, partly due to the fact that many mobile phones are now more powerful than even the PCs we used in the 1980s and 1990sA total of 48 million people play games on smart phones and tablets.

5. Casual, casino, mobile and social games are becoming as popular as other PC and console games
46% of teens play games on mobile devices, and 71% use dedicated gaming devices.  It is anticipated that future growth in mobile games will involve more multiplayer gaming options.  Forbes Magazine notes that ‘The future of gaming isn’t proprietary hardware, it’s in user-choice and cross-platform playability’.

6. Free to play business models have redefined the marketplace
Many games are free to play or try, which has been a big shift away from games that were only available for purchase or by subscription.  This makes a variety of games available so players are now trying more and more games rather than sticking to one or two.

7. Video game violence is more of a problem for the media than for gamers or their families
A lack of causal data linking games and violence is having an effect on public perception.  And with 91% of games developed geared towards teens and kids, there are many options available outside of mature games.

8. Variety is the spice of life
Big Fish distributed 250 new games in 2013 and continues to expand their offering with novel titles like FarmUp, WhoAmI, The Agency of Anomolies: Mind Invasion, and Rebuild the European Union.  With over fourteen different genres to choose from, and readily accessible games, Big Fish is at the forefront of expanding gaming to new audiences.

9. Asia is still the hotbed for gaming
China saw a 34% increase in games revenue in 2012, and online gaming made up a whopping 94% of the pie.  One interesting difference is that the landscape is dominated by social games that involve both cooperation and stealing items or resources from friends.  In Japan there is still quite a lot of arcade play of titles like Pachinko and mobile is extremely popular due to long commutes by train.

10. The only thing that is ever guaranteed is more change
In our global population of over 7 billion, only about two and a half billion people use the Internet.  However there are over 6.5 billion mobile subscribers world-wide.  South Asia, Central America, the Middle East and Africa are the most under-represented regions in terms of online access (largely due to a lack of broadband infrastructure), but that is changing quickly.

The Data

U.S.

  • 58% of Americans play video games
  • Average age of players: 30
  • 62% of all gamers are adults
  • 68% are above 18 and older
  • 45% are female (up from 42% in 2012) and are usually over 18
  • Average of 2 gamers per household
  • 51% of households own at least one console
  • Average age of purchaser: 35
  • 77% of gamers play at least one hour a week
  • 36% play games on their smart phone
  • Parents are involved in their kids’ game purchases 89% of the time
  • 79 percent of parents place time limits on video game playing, compared with 78 percent who limit Internet usage and 72 percent who limit TV viewing

UK:

  • The average UK gamer is 35
  • Most are male
  • Plays for almost 3 hours a day
  • The average gamer fights with their partner over their gaming hobby twice a week, with some 15% of people saying they’ve broken up over the amount of time spent gaming.
  • The UK is just behind the U.S. in terms of iPad game purchases.

Other Countries

  • The world-wide video game industry grew 9% in 2013 and now exceeds $76 billion with projections it will reach over $86 billion by 2016.
  • The European market for games is almost $20 billion.
  • Japan and China lead the pack when it comes to iPhone/iPad games.  Russia is also a major user, ranking #6 in the world.
  • The games industry in India grew 16% in 2012, to $227 million.
  • 91% of all people on earth have a mobile phone
  • 56% of people own a smart phone
  • 50% of mobile phone users use mobile as their primary Internet source
  • 80% of time on mobile is spent inside apps or games

Other Stats

  • Consumers spent 20.77 billion dollars on video games, hardware and accessories in 2012.  In 2014, this number is predicted to be $24 billion.
  • 40% of game sales included digital content, subscriptions, apps and mobile games
  • 120,000 people are employed in the video game industry across 34 states
  • 43% of tablet owners spend more time with their tablets than their TVs or PCs, and 84% of tablet owners spend most of their time playing games on it.

Sources:

  • http://www.theesa.com/facts/index.asp
  • http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/The_Transformation_of_the_Video_Game_Industry.pdf
  • http://fr.slideshare.net/slideshow/view?login=wearesocialsg&title=social-digital-mobile-around-the-world-january-2014
  • http://www.vg247.com/2013/07/04/survey-finds-average-uk-gamer-is-35-male-plays-for-almost-3-hours-a-day/
  • http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/esa_ef_2013.pdf
  • http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/The_Evolution_of_Mobile_Games.pdf
  • http://www.theesa.com/games-improving-what-matters/Games_and_Family_Life.pdf
  • http://services.google.com/fh/files/blogs/AdMob%20-%20Tablet%20Survey.pdf
  • http://www.margaretwallace.com/state-of-video-game-industr/
  • http://www.reportlinker.com/ci02073/Video-Game.html
  • http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/

Written by

Dr. Lisa Galarneau is a socio-cultural anthropologist, futurist and games researcher. She's been playing video games since 1981 (Pong!) and loves adventure-style games, RPGs, online games, simulations and anything novel. Her love for games has been passed onto her gamer kid, and she spends a lot of time observing and pondering the future of games.

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