22:58 GMT27 February 2020
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    Gaming is perceived by some as a waste of time or simply a hobby to keep both young children and adults occupied for hours on end. However, in a relatively short space of time, it has become a global phenomenon and multi-billion dollar industry.

    An industry that celebrates its national day on September 12 is expected to generate a staggering US $108.9 billion alone before the end of the 2017.

    Latest Global Games Market Report figures suggest the popularity of the gaming craze shows little sign of letting up anytime soon with an estimated 2.2 billion gamers regularly plugging in their headsets and powering up their consoles.

    Matt Barr, Games Studies lecturer at Glasgow University, told Sputnik he was not surprised by the figures.

    "As a relatively young industry, the rate of innovation has thus far been pretty incredible – there’s always something new and exciting around the corner to keep players interested."

    Such is the remarkable appeal of the rapidly developing gaming culture that it now has — in the United States as well as several European countries — its own national day to celebrate its very concept. Indeed if anyone is wondering why so many of the streets are empty on September 12 — chances are people stay inside paying homage to National Video Games Day. 

    Growth is projected to continue in the coming years ahead, having already increased by 7.8 percent during the last 12 months alone. Digital game revenues are expected to account for almost US$95 billion, or 87 percent of the global market, according to the Global Games Market Report.

    Mobile is proving to be the most lucrative sector with smartphone and tablet gaming increasing 19 percent year over year to US$46.1 billion, claiming 42 percent of the market.

    "We can’t ignore the huge influence that mobile phones have had on the games industry. Billions of people are now walking around with capable games machines in their pocket – infinitely more capable, in fact, than the consoles my generation grew up playing. And these phones are almost permanently connected to some marketplace – such Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store – filled to the brim with games to be downloaded and played at the touch of a button or swipe of a screen. Games have never been more accessible to more people," Mr. Barr told Sputnik.

    ​Analysts predict this rise will continue until 2020 when mobile gaming will account for more than half of the total games market.

    Both PC and console game markets are also proving major moneymakers, generating US$29.4 billion and US$33.5 billion during 2017, respectively.

    Gamers in the Asia-Pacific market is, by far, the largest region with the Chinese expected to be responsible for almost one quarter of global revenues during 2017, spending more than US$27 billion.

    If current trends continue — few surprisingly are suggesting otherwise — then the whole industry is expected to reach sales of US$128.5 billion by 2020.

    Everyone Does It

    Mr. Barr revealed there is also greater social acceptance, saying that parents of today have grown up playing games, and continue to play them with their kids.

    "Our politicians play games. Celebrities play games. People have begun to realize that games are not antisocial and that they are not only played by teenage boys. The social aspect is hugely important to games’ continued appeal, especially when coupled with near-ubiquitous broadband. If you’re short of time, perhaps you have kids at home and you don’t have much of your evenings to yourself, a great way to socialize with your friends is by playing a quick game of Rocket League or something online once the kids have gone to bed," Mr. Barr said.

    ​The gamer demographic has really diversified over the years, the academic explained, with more adult women play video games than teenage boys.

    "Mobile has a big part to play in that – there are many folk who don’t call themselves 'gamers' but will happily play Candy Crush for 15 minutes a day on the bus. But also the games industry has worked hard to appeal to a broader audience. Nintendo’s Wii really broke down some barriers with its simple-to-grasp motion controls, and the marketing of their handheld consoles like the DS and 3DS has been targeted at, for example, older women as much as kids."

    ​Britain remains an active and influential player in the video games market, generating US£4.33 billion in 2016, with games software sales exceeding US£3 billion for the first time.

    It is now estimated to be the sixth largest on the world stage in terms of consumer spending, behind China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and Germany.


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