There will be 3.2 billion gamers in 2022, but revenue is set to fall for first time in 15 years

If you’re old enough to remember when gaming was considered more of a niche pastime, especially among those over the age of sixteen, it might bring a smile to your face to know that 3.2 billion people, almost half the world’s population, will play games this year. They’ll spend a combined total of $184.4 billion on their hobby, and while that is down slightly compared to last year, it’s the result of the pandemic-induced gaming boom of 2020/21.

Newzoo’s latest Global Games Market Report shows that the number of people playing games around the world is up 4.6% this year. That’s especially impressive given how more people were gaming during the lockdowns when stay-at-home entertainment, such as video games and streaming, exploded. Not only were more people trying games for the first time, but lapsed players were also returning.

The Middle East & Africa saw the largest jump in players, up 8.2% to 488 million this year, followed by Latin America with 4.8%. North America saw the smallest rise (2.6%).

The pandemic also saw a huge jump in games revenue—growth between 2020 and 2022 was $43 billion more than Newzoo predicted. Unlike player numbers, that hasn’t been sustained post-lockdown, with the $184 billion figure down -4.3% YoY; the first decline in 15 years. However, it’s important to note that gaming has still managed to weather 2022’s economic turbulence better than many other industries.

Almost half of all global game revenue came from the Asia-Pacific region ($87.9 billion), while North America was responsible for just over a quarter ($48.4 billion).

As usual, most of the money came from mobile games, which generated 50% of the overall revenue, or $92.2 billion, in 2022. It was followed by console games with 28% ($51.8 billion), downloaded/boxed PC games on 21% ($38.2 billion), and browser PC games with 1% ($2.3 billion). The report shows that non-browser PC games saw the smallest yearly decline, down by just 1.8%.

It’s expected that both the number of worldwide gamers and the amount they spend will increase year-on-year going forward. Newzoo predicts more than 3.5 billion people could be playing games by 2025, spending around $211.2 billion.