What is Making Gaming Such a Popular Hobby?

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It seems that almost everyone plays games today. In addition to the traditional players of console games, there are many others that enjoy different types of content on a plethora of platforms. 

The numbers vary, depending on which study you read, but the overall trend is mostly the same, no matter who you ask. According to Exploding Topics, there are currently around 3.09 billion active players of video games in the world, 1 billion more than 2016, with forecasts suggesting this would rise to around 3.32 billion by the end of 2024. 

From a sales perspective, things are looking up too. The global gaming market is currently estimated to be worth around $197 billion with analysts predicting that it will surpass $268 billion in 2025. 

Whatever way you look at it, gaming is a hobby that has been growing in popularity for some time and will likely continue to do so for some time. But what is behind this rise of gaming as a hobby? Let’s take a look. 

Changing Demographics

It wasn’t that long ago that video gaming was predominantly the domain of young men. While there were people outside of this demographic interested in playing too, the vast majority of gaming content was created for and marketed to guys under 30. 

Apart from being wrong from a moral perspective, it was also a bad business decision. The reality is men and women enjoy playing games just as much, so by marketing content to only young males, publishers were losing out on a lot of cash. 

More older age groups are also taking up gaming as a hobby. This is partly down to content designed specifically for them and also the fact that the men under 30 from the last couple of decades are now men over 30, evening out the demographic split further. 

More Variety in Gaming

On top of that, not everyone finds hours-long sessions of zombie shooting appealing but they do enjoy other types of gaming content. In the last two decades, we’ve seen publishers create a much wider mix of games including casual, hyper-casual, and MMO games. 

For example, online card rooms like PokerStars offer a range of poker games for real money via their computers and mobile devices. The selection of variants and game types allows card rooms to cater to casual fans of card games and the more seasoned poker pros.  

Similarly, Steam has a wide range of content including popular first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty as well as other genres like simulation titles Lawn Mowing Simulator and RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, and puzzle games Papers, Please and Sherlock Holmes. 

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Different Pricing Models

For most of the time we’ve been able to play video games at home, players have been required to pay for an entire title upfront. However, this meant a large group of players were excluded since it can be difficult for some to shell out $50 or more for a single game. 

However, with the advent of free-to-play games that allow players to download and begin playing without spending a single penny, many more people have been able to take up the hobby. 

Of course, many people choose to spend just as much (or more) in the form of microtransactions to get the most out of the games they choose to play. However, for those that don’t have this kind of disposable income, the immersive world of video gaming is now available to them. 

Free-to-play games do more than just make games more accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. It also makes it easier for players to try out titles they may not have otherwise purchased since $50 is a lot to spend on a game that you later find out you don’t like. 

But since it’s possible to try many games out for free, players can take more chances on new genres and formats and then spend money on in-game microtransactions when they find something they love. 

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