The gaming industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Not only are more games being released, but also more and more players and game makers are. You can read here what that growth looks like, what the causes are and what consequences it entails.
The gaming industry is growing enormously and in all kinds of areas. It has grown more than any other entertainment industry in the past year. This concerns games that are played on game consoles, such as the PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox, but also real money slots games for computers, tablets and smartphones.
First of all, more and more new games are being developed. This number is growing exponentially. Where in 2014 about 1,300 games were put on the market, in 2020 there were almost 10,000. Naturally, the turnover will grow along with this. In the Netherlands, for example, approximately 1 billion euros was spent on games in 2020, which is almost double the expenditure in 2015. Much more was bought and played, such as Animal Crossing, Mario Kart and Among Us. This increases the economic value, but also increases the cultural recognition of games. It has more and more interfaces with and is increasingly used for other cultural domains.
Second, the number of gamers has skyrocketed in recent years. From 2015 to 2021, nearly a billion players have been added. This growth has been particularly strong in recent years, due to the pandemic. Several studies are being conducted into how many more people have started gaming. For young people between the ages of 10 and 20 this is 58%. 54% of 21 to 35 year olds, 49% of 36 to 50 year olds and 43% of 51 to 65 year olds have increased their gaming activity. Research has been conducted into the increase in children in western countries such as Italy, the United Kingdom and France. This shows that about 73% of children aged 6 to 10 and 84% of children aged 11 to 14 play games. From the age of 15, the use drops.
There are several reasons for the growth of the gaming industry, but the corona pandemic has contributed most to this in recent years. People sought refuge in games, as a result of which worldwide turnover increased by more than 20%. The main reason for this is that people have started to play games as a form of relaxation. In addition, we simply had more time to spare because many other leisure activities were canceled. In addition, it was more difficult for us to physically see each other, which resulted in the sale of more social games that you can play with friends online.
Another reason for the growth of the gaming industry is that video games are becoming interwoven with other parts of the cultural sector and they are being used for more purposes than just entertainment. Think of applied games that are used in schools, during training, as marketing, in healthcare and to create awareness. For example, there are games that teach employees how to act in certain situations or that promote recovery from brain damage. Games are also regularly used for learning, such as teaching children to read. With a game, for example, they learn to recognize words in a fun and casual way.
When you think of the influence of games, you mainly think of their negative consequences. These are the most exposed in the media. However, if you keep the goals described at the beginning of the article in mind, gaming also has many positive consequences. It can help to achieve the underlying goals, such as training certain skills. In addition, gaming has a positive effect on, for example, eye-hand coordination, reaction time and working memory. You train your patience and problem-solving skills. In addition, the English language is used in many games, so that many children are already learning English words today. Gaming is also very educational.
Although there are also positive consequences, the negative consequences of gaming should not be underestimated or downplayed. If you game a lot, then you sit for example a lot and often for a long time. This can lead to an inactive lifestyle and have major health consequences.
This poses many risks, especially for children and young people. Gaming can also cause behavioral problems, a reduced social life and poor sleep quality. In the worst case, you can create a gaming addiction. It differs per child when gaming behavior becomes problematic, but according to the DSM-5 you speak of a gaming addiction if you game for more than 8 to 9 hours a week.
Finally, many online games allow you to get in touch with others. Many games have a chat function. This can be fun and social, but it also carries risks. People can create a fake profile and have wrong intentions with the contact. This can lead to unwanted or transgressive sexual behavior or extortion.