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Online Gaming Growth Shows No Signs of Slowing

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The European games industry is changing and starting to reach a wider audience than ever before. That is not to say that the traditional image of a gamer doesn’t still hold true, but the statistics are making some fascinating reading.

The global gaming industry is big business. The latest figures are expected to show that the 2.2 billion gamers across the world will generate an industry income of $108.9 billion at the end of 2017. These figures are then expected to rise year on year, with different sectors driving the growth.

Video Games Retail Display by Coolcaesar (CC BY-SA 3.0)

These sectors can be split into the following areas: boxed/downloadable PC, browser PC, tablet, smartphone, and console. The biggest growth is expected to come in the smartphone category, with a rise of 11% in its market share between 2016 and 2020. This amounts to an increase in income from $38.6 billion to $64.9 billion. That is quite a staggering increase, but it is clear to see where this additional growth will come from. Mobile gaming giants in China are the reason behind that global growth, with mobile gaming bringing in $46.1 billion.

These are impressive figures; however, in Europe, there is also an increase of a different nature. The age of gamers is typically thought to be 18-24, but the latest figures are showing an increased amount of gaming amongst the older demographic and what is even more interesting is the amount of time the different age groups spend playing.

In 2012, 36% of people aged 33-44 said they spent time playing games. This figure rose to 46% in 2016. In gamers aged 45-64, the increase was from 21% to 27%, with the average hours a week spent gaming in this age group at a staggering 7.5. This was more than the 33-44-year-old age group, who averaged 6.5 hours of game time per week.

The game industry would have also been very interested to note that amongst its core audience, i.e., those aged between 18-24, the change in gaming habit to increasing use of smartphone and tablets between 2012 and 2016 was 27% to 40%.

Mobile game by FriscoFoodie (CC BY-SA 3.0)

So what this tells us about the European games industry that it is in a very healthy state, with more people playing for long but the way people interact with games is changing.

The European online gambling and betting market is also thriving and according to the EGBA (European Gambling & Betting Association), represents almost half the global market. The market is still growing, although this growth has slowed as new regulations have come into force.

Online gambling’s gross gaming revenue (GGR – stakes minus winnings) is expected to rise from €16.5 billion in 2015 to €24.9 billion in 2020. The demographic that plays online tend to be younger and are drawn to this sector due to convenience and the variety of games offered. 32Red, for instance, offers online players a choice of 172 slot games, 17 live casino options, ten roulette sims, 27 forms of blackjack and 28 other featured games. Similarly, operators such as SlotsMillion and Wizard Slots also offer a large variety of thematic slot titles, often inspired by relevant pop culture icons. It is no wonder then that online is set to increase its market share of the total European gambling market from 17.5% in 2015 to 22% by 2020.

The UK analysis also shows some interesting statistical data around the habits of gamers. The UK is the fifth-biggest global market for gaming behind only China, USA, Japan, and Germany. The 2016 consumer spend in the UK on gaming was £4.33 billion. The income breakdown sees the online and digital market bringing in the highest revenue at £1.22 billion. The total number of people in the United Kingdom that actively play games is around 32.4 million.

The gambling industry in Great Britain brought in a total of £13.8 billion from April 2016 to March 2017, which is a 1.8% increase on the previous year. Of this figure, £4.7 billion came from the online or remote sector, the space in which 32Red and the casinos above operate, which was a massive 10.1% increase from the same period a year before.

So across Europe, it is clear to see that online gaming is at a very healthy point in its history with growth projected to be steady through to 2020. There will, of course, be new innovations in this sector which could also see a more rapid increase than current figures suggest, but as long as there is a convenient option with plenty of choices, gamers are going to play.

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