The global gaming industry is massive and is bigger even than the film industry. Estimates suggest the worldwide video games market will be worth around $90 billion by the end of the year. However, this prediction was made before the emergence of Coronavirus and before people moved online in droves as a means for entertainment during lockdown. The final totals for this year are likely to be much, much higher.
A long way in a short time
Gaming has come a very long way from the relatively niche industries of the 70s and early 80s. As technology has become more prevalent in our homes — and gaming consoles/powerful computers have experienced tumbling price points — the rise of gaming has proven unstoppable. Estimates suggest there are now more than 2.5 billion video gamers worldwide.
The male/female demographics
Recent surveys and industry insights into the gaming industry point to around 46% of all gamers being female, which completely destroys the common misconception that gaming is a male-oriented, teenage-biased market.
In truth, gamers come from all ages and backgrounds and are almost equally represented across the sexes. While it’s true the greatest preponderance of gamers is still within the male 21-35 age group, females nonetheless make up an impressive percentage and are now commanding the attention of game developers, keen to cater to their particular tastes.
The male-female split between game types
While it’s true there’s almost complete parity between the numbers of males and females playing games, the same cannot be said for the types of games that appeal to each sex. Recent surveys have shown broad divides in the game genres popular amongst the sexes.
On console, the most played games by males were shooters, sports, then action/adventure games. For females, action/adventure came top, with strategy and arcade games in second and third.
On mobile — the fastest-growing sector of all — males had strategy, sports, then shooters as their first three popular games types. Females, on the other hand, preferred puzzles, strategy games and more arcade-type entertainment.
As a generalization, women tend to be attracted to games which invest more in character or emotional gameplay elements, whereas men are drawn to action-type games. The same can also be said for the rise in social gaming where players actively communicate with one another during gameplay.
The growing popularity of social gaming
This social element of gaming has not gone unnoticed and many online game developers are now trying to find innovative ways to include communication as a facet of their gameplay.
Online bingo is a good example, where developers are placing as much emphasis on the social aspects of gaming as they are on the actual playing of the game itself. Internet bingo is incredibly popular in Great Britain, and there are now several online directories listing the best Bingo sites UK.
Other online puzzle games have also been quick to jump on the growing trend of social interaction in games, with many other game types allowing players to talk to one another as they play. Popular games include puzzles, wordplay challenges and online quizzes, each featuring the same bundled chat functions to enhance the time players spend on the systems.
While social communication in gaming isn’t for everyone, it is growing quickly and even industry Titans like Facebook’s Oculus platform is moving increasingly into the realm of gaming with chat.
As more females get involved in gaming, and the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds continue to blur, we will undoubtedly see more social interaction appearing in games.