The first video games were created in the 1950s and 1960s.

Of course, these original games were very simplistic with incredibly blocky and slow graphics.

Examples of such games are Tic Tac Toe and Bertie the Brain. 

The gaming industry really started to grow in the 1980s as home computers started to become more commonplace. 

However, it was the 1990s that saw big advancements in the industry and turned it from a niche market into one of the largest industries in the world. 

The question isn’t so much how many people play video games as how many people don’t.

That’s how popular gaming has become. 

The beauty of gaming today is the multitude of ways in which it can be done.

Games can be played on your PC, a game console, a mobile phone, or even virtually. 

It’s the processing power and size of the memory which control the sophistication of your game.

That’s part of the reason why gaming PCs are becoming so popular. 

Let’s take a look at the latest stats on video games today, you may be surprised. 

Key Statistics

  • Estimates suggest there are over 3 billion gamers globally
  • The gaming industry is worth $385 billion
  • 52% of gamers have a gaming subscription
  • The US has three times more esports players than any other country
  • 55% of US gamers are male
  • 38% of gamers are aged between 18-34 years
  • 66% of gamers do so to relax
  • Casual games are the most popular in the US
  • China has more gamers than any other country
  • Mobile games have a 40% share of the gaming market
  • PlayStation has the most popular game console
  • On average, gamers spend eight and a half hours gaming every week
  • The average gamer spends $84 on in-app purchases annually

How Many People Play Video Games? Top Statistics

How Many People Play Video Games

1. Estimates Suggest There Are Over 3 Billion Gamers Globally

Video gaming has become increasingly popular in recent years.

This is reflected in the numbers.

In 2015 the industry had 2.03 billion gamers.

Thanks to steady growth each year by 2020 it had reached an impressive 2.81 billion players. 

While 2021 took it close to the 3 billion threshold, it didn’t surpass it until 2022 when the industry reached player numbers of 3.09 billion.

In 2023 is expected to reach 3.22 billion players, extending to 3.32 billion gamers during 2024. 

The figures are likely to keep going up, illustrating just how popular video gaming has become.

At this rate, it will surpass 4 billion members by 2030.


2. The Gaming Industry Is Worth $385 Billion

The gaming industry consists of several different elements, such as standard video games, esports, and multiplayer/online games. 

It’s a wonderful world where anything is possible. 

Gaming producers, advertisers, and associated industries know the industry is huge and getting bigger.

It’s currently valued at $385 billion.

Roughly a third of this amount, $106 billion, is a result of the esports sector. 

No other area is growing as fast. 

Consider this, in 2020 the gaming industry was valued at just $165 billion.

That’s less than half of its value today. 

At the time it was approximately seven times the GDP of Afghanistan.


3. 52% Of Gamers Have A Gaming Subscription

In a sign of how dependent people are becoming on the internet, the latest figures from Sony and Microsoft indicate that 52% of gamers subscribe to at least one gaming service.

It’s generally because modern video games encompass an online element.

This allows players to play against other gamers around the world, without leaving home. 

Interestingly, the results show that 74% of US players with game consoles are subscribed to online gaming.

In contrast, just 66% of US PC gamers have a gaming subscription.

In real terms that means 2.29 billion console gamers have a subscription and 2.04 billion PC gamers. 

These figures allow for the fact that some players have more than one type of machine.

The latest figures from Sony show that there are 100 million Xbox liver users subscribed.

That’s significantly more than the 39 million users in 2016.


4. The US Has Three Times More Esports Players than Any Other Country

Esports are effectively sports in an electronic world.

It may not meet the classic definition of sports involving physical exercise.

However, it is every bit as competitive. 

It can involve players in teams against other teams, or one-on-one competitions to find out who is the best. 

It’s incredibly competitive and there are some impressive prizes. 

The US currently has 4,283 active esports players.

That’s roughly the same as China, Brazil, and France combined.

China takes the second spot with 2,027 esports players.

Brazil gets third with 1,507, and France completes the top four with 1,138 players. 

South Korea and Germany are the only other countries with over a thousand players. 


5. 55% Of US Gamers Are Male

Gaming used to be a predominantly male-orientated activity.

However, times have changed and today there is a roughly even split. 

The latest figures show 55% of gamers in the US are male, meaning 45% are female. 

It’s a split that has gradually equalized over 15 years.

For example, in 2008 60% of US gamers were male and 40% female. 

By 2015, male gamers were down to 56% and females up to 44%.

In 2019 54% were male gamers, and by 2021, male gamers are 55% of players, with females taking 45%.

The only question is, how long before female gamers outnumber males? 


6. 38% Of Gamers Are Aged Between 18-34 Years

In the past gaming was seen predominantly as something that teenagers and young adults did before they grew up. 

As the latest Ipsos survey shows, times change.

Today, just 20% of gamers are aged under 18.

The largest proportion of gamers are aged between 18-34, 38% of online gamers fall into this category. 

Just 14% of gamers are between 35-44, and 12% are aged between 45-54.

The numbers drop further as people age, 9% are aged between 55-64 and just 7% are older than 65.

Of course, as the current gamers age, these percentages may change.

It will be interesting to see how many online gamers are over 65 in 30-40 years. 


7. 66% Of Gamers Do So To Relax

Gaming is fun, a chance to let off steam and unwind, perhaps even forget about the stressful activities of the day. 

This is one of the reasons why online gaming is becoming more popular; modern lives are extremely stressful, and it can be difficult to find time to relax. 

According to the latest studies, 66% of gamers agree.

That’s their primary reason for gaming, to relax, unwind, and decompress. 

52% of respondents play games to fill time while waiting for something and 51% find games give them a way of escaping.

Even if that only lasts a short time. 

Interestingly, 48% of gamers simply want some alone time and playing games provides this.

A further 37% like being able to solve problems and 33% find gaming comforting.

It is, after all, something familiar and reliable. 


8. Casual Games Are the Most Popular In The US

Casual Games Are the Most Popular In The US

There are many different genres of games.

It’s guaranteed everyone will find something that appeals, no matter how small the niche is. 

However, what may surprise you is that casual games are the most popular.

That’s games like Candy Crush and Pinball Clash, easy to access and play at any time. 

The Ipsos survey found that 63% of respondents played casual games.

Surprisingly action and shooter games were tied in second, 39% of people play these types of games. 

37% of gamers play racing games, while 33% enjoy family games.

Just 31% are keen on adventure games. 

That’s a clear indication of where the market is heading, but not necessarily the games that generate the largest income. 


9. China Has More Gamers than Any Other Country

In some ways, it’s not surprising that China has more gamers than any other country.

Roughly 1.4 trillion people are living in the country.

The only other country that comes close is India with roughly ten thousand million less. 

In contrast, the US has roughly 338 million people. 

Of these people, roughly half of US citizens are gamers.

That’s 170 million gamers in the US.

However, China has gone from 196 million gamers in 2010 to a staggering 665 million gamers in 2020.

Interestingly, the averages for both coin tries are similar, roughly one in every two people is a gamer. 


10. Mobile Games Have A 40% Share Of The Gaming Market

Despite the long history and popularity of game consoles, smartphones are dominating the gaming market. 

According to the latest research, 40% of sales in the gaming industry are connected to smartphone use.

Console games take a healthy 28% share of the market, leaving 32% to be shared among PC games, tablet games, and online games. 

(NPD Group)

11. PlayStation Has The Most Popular Game Console

There are three main game consoles, the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Xbox. 

The Switch tends to be seen as a console for the family, leaving the Xbox and PlayStation to compete against each other. 

According to the latest figures, it’s a battle that PlayStation is winning.

As of 2020, it had a 57.5% market share.

Surprisingly, the Switch beat the Xbox with a 42% share of the global market.

Game console sales contribute significantly to the profitability of their respective organizations.

In 2020, game console sales were over $92 billion.

That was an increase of 17.43% on the 2019 figure. 

Sales have decreased slightly since but it’s expected that the revenue for game consoles will surpass $100 billion by 2025.


12. On Average, Gamers Spend Eight And A Half Hours Gaming Every Week

A recent survey by Techreûblic highlighted that the average gamer spends over an hour a day playing games.

The figure currently stands at eight-and-a-half hours a week.

In many cases, this includes longer blocks of time at the weekend. 

The amount of time spent gaming is increasing.

In 2020 gamers spent an average of seven-and-a-half hours gaming.

With the current focus on digital technology, this figure is likely to increase further. 

This figure can be broken down into countries.

In China, 52% of gamers play for over 6 hours a week.

The US has a slightly lower rate with 44% of gamers spending over six hours gaming a week. 

17% of Japanese gamers and 24% of South Koreans spend over six hours a week on games. 


13. The Average Gamer Spends $84 On In-App Purchases Annually

The Average Gamer Spends $84 On In-App Purchases Annually

A survey by Statista in 2019 showed that the average gamer spends $84 on in-app purchases and $61 on mobile games per year.

The most popular games to spend money in were Grand Theft Auto V, League Of Legends, and Fortnite.  

It’s worth noting that $4.5 billion was spent on VR games during 2020.

It’s still difficult to say how popular this type of gaming will become. 

Most gamers pay by credit or debit card.

However, a small percentage, (16.4%) prefer PayPal, and a few (8.1%) opt for payment via digital wallets. 

The game may be free to install but the creators know how to make money with in-app purchases. 


Summing Up

The statistics don’t lie.

How many people play video games?

The answer is billions of people around the world.

In general, one in every two people are gamers. 

This works for individual countries and on a global scale.

After all, over 3 billion gamers in the world are more than half of the people with access to the internet, where most games are based. 

The number is rapidly approaching half the entire population of the planet. 

If you’re in the gaming industry it’s time to pay attention to the markets which are growing fastest.

The right investment could prove very lucrative.

After all, over 3 billion gamers can’t all be wrong!


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