Video games have come a long way since their inception, with retail gaming revenue in the United States totaling $4.34 billion in April 2022. Gamification is a huge trend for the future of video entertainment, and AR and VR are taking gaming beyond any previously imagined possibilities – to the delight of video gamers.
Today’s gamers are diverse in age, gender, and motivation. And most important of all, video gamers hold serious market power.
So, what do brands need to know about modern video gamers? What are their likes, dislikes, and key demographics?
Here are six statistics on video gamers in 2022.
1. Mobile Games Dominate the Market
Video gamers have more channels and gaming systems to choose from than ever before, but mobile games come out ahead as the clear leader in the industry. Mobile games currently have a market volume of $164.10 billion — greater than any other game type. In fact, mobile gaming apps accounted for 45% of global video game revenue in 2022.
The most popular mobile games range from free-to-play battle royale games like PUBG Mobile, to AR games like Pokémon Go, to endless runner games like Subway Surfers. The trend signifies the evolution of smartphone technology, as well as the increasing amount of time modern consumers are spending on their mobile devices. Astoundingly, the average person spends one third of their waking hours on mobile apps.
2. Most Gamers Are Age 18-34
Throughout the decades, video gaming has mostly been seen as a hobby for kids. And while teenagers still make up a large percentage of the demographic, the tides are changing.
Believe it or not, the bulk of today’s video gamers are adults, with the average video gamer being 33 years old. The largest segment of video gamers (38%) are ages 18-34, meaning many participants have graduated from high school and college. The number of even older gamers is growing, too, with 14% of gamers being between the ages of 25 and 44, and 12% of gamers being between the ages of 45 and 54.
In an interview with USA Today, Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, noted, “The fact we’re seeing more people over 45 years old playing than under 18 just speaks to the growth and adoption of gameplay and how people even later in life continue to gravitate towards games.”
3. Gamers Love Puzzles
In 2022, the definition of video games is changing. Even puzzle apps like the viral Wordle game are considered video games, and puzzles are the most popular genre of all. In the 2022 Essential Facts about the Video Game Industry report, 65% of participants said puzzles are their preferred type of video game.
What’s driving the puzzle mania? According to the same survey, the vast majority of older players like puzzle games because they “use their brain,” and all ages play them because they’re fun and pass the time.
4. Video Games Bring Joy
Whereas video games were once seen as little more than a time-suck, the true benefits of the activity are now coming to light. Video gamers say they play for a host of reasons, with 93% agreeing that video games “bring joy through play,” bring together different types of people, and create a strong feeling of community among players.
The vast majority of gamers also cite video games as a source of mental stimulation and stress release, as well as an opportunity to build problem-solving skills and learn conflict resolution.
It’s not just gamers who see the bright side of video gaming. According to the American Psychological Association, researchers are finding some positive benefits. One article stated, “While one widely held view maintains that playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception.”
5. Female Gamers Take Center-Stage
Now that the video game industry includes mobile games, the gender demographics of gaming are changing, too. What was once a male-dominated activity is now majority-female — in the mobile game world, at least.
A study by influencer marketing agency Mediakix found that 63% of mobile gamers are women, while just 37% are men. These lady gamers are also playing more frequently than men. A reported 60% of these women play mobile games every day, whereas just 47% of men who are mobile gamers play daily.
In 2021, women made up 45% of all gamers — a 4% increase from the previous year — proving that the number of female gamers is increasing across other platforms in the industry as well. These women play all types of game genres, and say they’re motivated by competition, achievement, and social interaction.
6. Game Monetisation Opportunities Are Growing
The video game industry used to have one main source of revenue: Gamers would head down to their local GameStop or Walmart and pick out a physical game or console, then come back for another game or two a few months later.
Today, gaming monetisation strategies are more extensive than ever – and they have to be. Supply chain uncertainties, reduced consumer discretionary spending and fewer game releases have contributed to a slight downturn in revenue this year. Video game brands make money with digital downloads, subscription services, downloadable content, in-game purchases, add-ons, and more. A 2020 report found that paid downloads are the most common video game business model, and free download titles were second most popular.
Advertisers are also finding new ways to capitalise on the growing video game market, using product placement, banner ads, metaverse branding, brand partnerships, and more to promote their products and services. The diverse marketing opportunities offer a big potential payoff: In-game advertising revenue is expected to grow to $17,591.6 million by 2030.
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