Gaming industry is rising - All about gaming in this month’s IOL Tech digimag

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Jul 1, 2021

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The lockdown has taken gaming to a new level. There are now as many gamers as there are people who watch TV. And this means that brands now have a huge potential in reaching new customers.

The gaming industry saw a sudden growth in 2020 with usage reaching 87% from global internet users between Q4 2019 and Q2 2020. The numbers were unexpected as the same sector saw a huge decline before Q4 of 2019.

Interestingly, the numbers have not budged towards the end of 2020 and it appears that these trends will stay for a good period. It is also being anticipated that its worth will reach $250 billion by the year 2025.

Traditionally, gaming was always linked with young males but as of Q2 2020, reports suggest 92% of females aged between 16 and 24 playing games on any device. The same also grew for 55 – 64 year-olds from 57% to 67%. Smartphones are also contributing to the gamer’s growth. Users no longer have to purchase an expensive device. Instead, they can play just about any game on their phones. The use of smartphones for games is more notable in females – especially in the regions of North America and Europe.

Gaming giants are no longer each other’s biggest competition. Instead, the industry is widening and includes the social media and ecommerce behemoths who are making gaming a strategic priority. Roughly 2.5 billion people play games, even if many of these don’t count themselves as ‘gamers’, and so it’s little surprise that Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple are making big bets on gaming.

Companies like of Amazon, Google and Facebook are in prime position to take a slice of the gaming market, especially as it moves towards cloud-based play.The COVID-19 pandemic has given the gaming industry an additional boost, as people turn to gaming to help pass the time in lockdown. In the US alone, gaming sales rose by 37 per cent to August 2020 year-on-year, to US$3.3 billion (A$4.4 billion), according to market research firm NPD Group. In Australia, sales of gaming consoles soared by 285.6 per cent in a one-week period during March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Virtual reality (VR) is a branch of gaming that has been making firm inroads beyond entertainment. Its use in fitness programmes has been growing – for example, letting cyclists complete the Tour de France route virtually on a stationary bike, or giving runners a chance to sweat it out on the Boston Marathon course from the comfort of their own home. The use of gaming technology is on the rise in the health sector as well, including as an aid for physical rehabilitation.

As the gaming industry rises, there’s a need to integrate gaming into mainstream society from sports to education and even work.

In this issue of IOL Tech, we share some good news about a young South African who will take part in a global gaming competition. We also share some advice to be considered by those who are keen to take their gaming space to another level.

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