When it comes to examining the origins of video gaming, two countries tend to dominate discussions. Japan and the US played a massive role in the industry’s formative years, both in terms of the development of top-quality hardware and the creation of some truly iconic characters.
However, it is fair to say that the world of video gaming looks a lot different these days, as it has become a pastime that is seemingly no longer defined by locations or geography.
Video gaming’s position as a global industry was highlighted by figures from Newzoo back in May. The market intelligence organization stated that the worldwide games market is expected to generate revenues of $159.3 billion this year alone, with that figure reaching more than $200 billion by the end of 2023. It also estimated that there are 2.7 billion gamers on the planet.
The worldwide popularity of the pastime may be a reason why the sector has seemingly taken steps to reduce its emphasis on geographical limits or restrictions. For instance, there appears to be an increasing focus on launching new games or hardware at the same time in many regions, with GameRant suggesting that may well be the case with Sony’s upcoming PS5.
The shift away from location-focused activity has also been seen in iGaming, as online casino brands within that space now operate in many different regions across the globe. For example, as NetEnt Games’ Finnish site outlines, many operators give online slot players in that country the chance to access ilmaiskierroksia – or free spins – without making a deposit. Many of these brands do the same in other regions, with the offers being a key part of their promotions. As NetEnt adds, it also means that new and old members can sample their titles without facing any risk.
eSports is another part of the gaming world where geography seems to have been removed from the equation.
Another report by Newzoo predicted that global revenues within the area could reach $1.1 billion this year, with the world of competitive gaming having a total global audience of around 495 million people. However, it is interesting to note that many teams within the space do not tend to be defined by geographic location, which is of course something that is common in traditional sports like soccer or basketball. For example, as eSports Earnings highlights, The International 2019 winners OG do not include a location within their name, while the side also featured players from a range of countries including Australia and Finland. Competitions like Overwatch League have gone on to feature teams based in specific areas, but they are generally in the minority in that regard.
For the first time in Dota history the reigning champions have defended their crown. The team that defied the odds to win last year, has reclaimed the Aegis of Champions in The International 2019. OG close the Grand Final series in a commanding 3-1 finish. #Dota2 #TI9 pic.twitter.com/ESaHeRjkpP
— The International (@dota2ti) August 25, 2019
So why have such trends emerged? A multitude of factors may have played a role, but a key one simply may be that the community as a whole is no longer defined purely by location. Players are now able to play with – and against – friends based all over the world, while they can also connect and share experiences via social media. As such, it perhaps makes sense that they get the chance to experience activities at the same time and without any emphasis on where they live.
A global powerhouse
All in all, it is interesting to see how gaming has become a global powerhouse in recent decades and chosen to seemingly not allow itself to be defined by location.
It will be fascinating to see if this trend continues and how it might even manifest itself in new ways going forward.