The global gaming industry is huge. Now a bona fide form of home entertainment, playing games is a hobby and profession for billions of people across the world. Experts have forecast that by the end of 2021, the industry could be worth as much as $175.8 billion – not bad for a market that was once considered a niche industry.  

As gaming takes further steps into advancement with the integration of new, exciting technologies, let’s take a look at some fascinating facts about this thoroughly modern industry. 

1. There are almost 3 billion gamers in the world 

According to the latest research from Newzoo, the gaming audience in 2021 has risen to a massive 2.9 billion players worldwide, 1 billion of which are online gamers.   

China, South Korea and Japan are recognized as having the largest proportion of gamers, particularly in the online realm. However, recent developments in India’s gaming scene – particularly across mobile – has meant that the country is now ranked in the world’s top 5 for gaming audiences.  

2. Video games are expensive 

Video games are expensive to produce; development costs and marketing costs all add up and it can cost hundreds of millions to launch a game into the global market.  

Take Grand Theft Auto V. It may be one of Rockstar Games’ best-selling games of all time, but it took a whopping $291 (2020) to develop and promote, making it the most expensive video game ever created. 

Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is ranked a close second. The game cost just $50 million to develop. However, Activision spent a considerable $200 million on marketing activities.  

3. But they’re also immensely profitable 

Given that they’re part of an industry that’s as lucrative as it is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the world’s top gaming companies generate some pretty hefty profits every year.  

In 2021, Sony takes the top spot as the world’s biggest gaming company. The Japanese tech giant pulled in $25 billion in revenues in 2020, with the PlayStation 5 console the most profitable release of the year.  

4. Gaming genres are as diverse as gamers 

Once upon a time, there was a stereotypical idea of who your average gamer was, and, due to the limited number of games that were available on home consoles, you had a pretty good idea of the type of games they were playing.  

Here in the 21st century, however, stereotypes about who plays games have been shattered and the modern gamer is as diverse as gaming genres are themselves. Firstly, there are now almost as many female gamers as there are males, with women and girls accounting for 45% of the US gaming audience.  

Gaming is also an activity that’s enjoyed by people of all age groups. According to the Pew Research Centre, gaming is hugely popular with men and women in the 20 to 49 and 50 to 64 age groups. Even a quarter of people aged over 65 in the US play video games, many of whom began gaming to improve their cognitive abilities.  

Gamers today are also spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of games that are available. 62% of gamers enjoy puzzle games, while 49% like to lose themselves in action/adventure games like Minecraft. RPGs are still one of the most popular verticals, appealing to 39% of the global gaming audience, while sports games and racing simulation games also appeal to 32% of gamers. In 2021, iGaming verticals also have an immense global reach. Online casino platforms are seeing more users than ever before, boosted by the popularity of titles like Starburst and Tomb of Ra.

5. The best-selling gaming device may surprise you 

Here in the digital era, there are all manner of gaming devices and consoles available. Even our smartphones have been turned into pocket computers, with 68% of smartphone and tablet owners playing games on their devices.  

With cloud gaming now on the horizon, Virtual Reality headsets in the mainstream, and next-gen consoles offering up cross-platform support, it would be easy to assume that one of today’s high-tech releases would take the crown as the best selling gaming device.  

However, even Sony’s next-gen wunder-console can’t beat the PlayStation 2 when it comes to global sales. Yes, this humble console that was released at the turn of the millennium still stands as the world’s most popular games console, having sold over 155 million units since March 2012.