Ever since the Pandemic, people have lost the opportunity to socialize and to network. Trapped within the confines of their own homes, their only escape was to play video games and interact with other people online.
And it’s no wonder why the online gaming industry has been predicted to be worth $79 billion by the year 2025. But what else are the numbers showing for online gaming statistics? How many people are playing video games online right now? We’ll answer all of those questions and more in this article.
- More than 3 billion people are playing video games worldwide (1).
- Digital games revenue account for 83% of video game sales (2).
- Consumer spending in the US alone skyrocketed to $60.4 billion in 2021 (3),(4).
- Free-to-play games account for 85% of all gaming revenue globally (5),(6) .
- There was a total of 14.1 billion mobile game downloads during the first quarter of 2021.
- The PC gaming sector is expected to generate $46.7 billion in revenue by 2025.
- Nintendo is the largest company in the video game industry with a net worth of $85 billion (7).
- 22% of people who play online spend 61% to 80% of their time playing multiplayer video games (8).
An Overview of the Online Gaming Industry
Highlights of video game industry statistics that explain the growth of the online gaming industry:
- The Gaming Market currently has a value of $198.4 billion as of 2021, and is expected to hit $339.95 billion by the end of 2027, citing a 8.94% CAGR between 2022 and 2027 (9).
- 4.95 billion people all over the world use the Internet, which is 62.5% of the entire global population (10).
- 63.1% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 own a laptop or computer (10).
- 20.3% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 own a gaming console (10).
- 96.2% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 own a smart phone, while 34.8% own a tablet (10).
- 4.8% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 own a VR device (10).
- An average of 6.58 hours was spent using the Internet for people between the ages of 16 and 64 (10).
- An average of 1.12 hours was spent playing video games online on a console (10).
When countries implemented nationwide lockdowns because of the pandemic, a lot of people, gamers and non-gamers alike, took to video games to spend time with friends and to ride the tide of the Pandemic.
Several video gaming platforms generated hundreds and thousands of new users and online traffic, with several video game companies experiencing a spike in player count and revenue for 2020 and 2021.
What’s The Current Online Gaming Behavior of Users?
Positive experiences were reported by US gamers while playing video games online, citing the common experiences as follows (11):
- Helping other people, or receiving help
- Making new friends
- Felt a sense of belongingness within a gaming community
- Discovered new interests
- Learned interesting topics
On the other side of the spectrum, negative experiences were just as common when playing video games online. According to a survey, these were the common forms of harassments in the gaming industry (12):
- Being called offensive names
- Targeted by trolling or griefing
- Personally embarrassed
- Physical threats
Gamers who were on the receiving end of harassments experienced the following (13):
- Feeling upset after playing
- Feeling less social or isolated
- Contacted the game company to report the harassment
- Had depressive or suicidal thoughts
- Personal relationships disrupted
- Called the cops/authorities
Surely, playing video games online is not without its risks. While the upside of forming bonds with strangers from around the world is the biggest draw of playing online games, video gaming harassment is equally prevalent in online multiplayer games.
Another risk in playing online games is gaming addiction, and there have been several studies already exploring the complexities and downsides of being an online gamer, or just as a PC gamer in general. It’s worth noting that gaming addiction has been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual For Mental Disorders-V (DSM-V) by the American Psychiatric Association (19).
According to the DSM-V, Internet gaming must cause “significant distress or impairment” in a person’s life, but this condition is only limited to the gambling aspect of gaming. It doesn’t necessarily include Internet usage, social media use, and smartphone use.
The proposed symptoms for Internet gaming disorder (or gaming addiction) are as follows:
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when gaming or Internet is taken away or not possible (irritability, sadness, anxiety)
- Spending more time to play video games to satisfy the urge
- Inability to quit or reduce time playing video games
- Giving up of other activities, or loss of interest to other activities enjoyed prior to taking up gaming
- Lying to family members about time spent playing video games
- Playing video games to relieve negative emotions such as hopelessness, feelings of depression, or guilt
- Lost a job or relationship because of gaming
Internet gaming disorder, together with caffeine use disorder, is still subject to further research. But even without these conditions, gambling remains to be one of the biggest problem for the global console market, and now several governments are taking up arms to regulate the video game industry.
For example, one of the biggest issues that an average gamer faces in China is the absence or removal of loot boxes in their video games.
While loot boxes can be earned as you play certain games like Overwatch, there are instances where loot boxes are made for sale by those who create games themselves. The Chinese government has considered loot boxes in video games as gambling (17), and have regulated them accordingly. In most cases, loot boxes reward you with aesthetic features like skins, in-game currency, and other items. Spending money on loot boxes to get skins doesn’t really change the way you play the game.
On the other hand, those who played games to continuously earn these loot boxes face a disadvantage when they’re faced against those who’ve spent money on these digital items. The recent controversy of Diablo Immortal being a huge pay-to-win video game and the tendency for their users to spend a lot of money on them is a good example. One Diablo Immortal player has been reported to spend $50,000 (18) or so for the video game, giving them a huge advantage over those who play the game for free.
The Impact of Covid-19 On The Online Gaming World
A survey from 2020 reported that a significant portion of new gamers from different countries played video games as a form of social activity (14). Gamers in Europe reported that playing online multiplayer games made them happier and reduced their feelings of anxiety and isolation (15).
A Look At Online Gaming Industry Statistics
- Digital market revenue is expected to hit $360 billion by the end of 2022 (16).
- The digital market’s largest segment is video games, with a market volume of $208.60 billion (projected) (16).
- Most of the revenue generated by the digital market is projected to come from the United States at $110.3 million by 2022 (16). Most likely this will be a combination of game purchases for mobile devices, casual games, social network games,
Within the video gaming industry, it doesn’t come off as a surprise to say that the most popular genres, or shall we say the biggest contributors to the video gaming addiciton statistics, are MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), FPS or first person shooter games, and different console games (e.g. fighting, platforming, puzzles).
Gamers spend a lot of time in any one of these video games:
- League of Legends
- World of Warcraft
- Call of Duty
How Many Gamers Are There In The World?
- There were 2.94 billion active video gamers reported in 2021 (20).
- That number is set to increase to 3.09 billion by the end of 2022 (20).
- Asia Pacific holds the biggest share of gamer distribution in the entire world at 55% (21).
- As of November 2020, the average age of female gamers with the highest share worldwide is 21 to 35 years old (17%) (22).
Gone are the days when gamers were simply a minority, no more than the population of people who’re interested in stamp collecting or any other niched hobby. Gone are the days when the industry itself was dominated by male gamers.
Nowadays, female gamers are on the rise and contribute to the global gaming revenue in terms of game purchases, subscriptions, and more. As of November 2020, the share of gamers worldwide by gamers is at 50% male gamers and 50% female gamers (22).
How Many People Play Online Games?
- Tencent’s annual revenue for online gaming alone reached $174 billion in 2021 (23).
- The online PC gaming market value is projected to hit $45.6 billion by 2022, and projected to reach $46.7 billion by 2027 (24).
- The free-to-play video game market is expected to generate $106.3 billion in revenue by 2022 and $112.02 billion by 2023 (25).
It’s hard to put an exact number of how many people play video games online, mostly because one person could end up playing more than just one video game. But to paint a picture of just how many gamers are there playing online, we’ll look at the online gaming statistics for revenue and market value instead.
It’s not exactly the number that we want to figure out how many play video games online, but the amount of money being spent on mobile games, PC games, and console games should be more than enough to let you know that the gaming industry has a lot of gamers right now playing online.
What Is The Most Popular Online Game?
The top PC games in the world right now as of April 2022 in terms of monthly active users are:
- League of Legends
Most of these video games, like Fortnite and Minecraft, are also included in console gaming statistics as one of the most popular console games in the market right now. Of course, mobile gaming is also relatively huge as we’ve seen from the revenue that Tencent’s generated over the last year.
Mobile gamers were known to hover towards games such as:
- PUBG Mobile
- League of Legends: Wild Rift
- Diablo Immortal
What Are The Biggest Movers and Trending Games Right now?
The top ranking video games in the gaming industry is fairly consistent all throughout the year. While there were some games that moved up and down frequently, these titles were consistent enough to stay at the top (26):
- Fortnite Battle Royale
- Fall Guys
- League Of Legends
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Call of Duty: Warzone/Vanguard
- Grand Theft Auto V
- APEX Legends
The video gaming industry wouldn’t be where it’s at right now if it wasn’t for any of these video games. Roblox and Minecraft are big amongst children, so much so that parents play video games right alongside them.
Call of Duty franchise, Fortnite, and Apex Legends are the top shooter games right now, be it PC gaming or gaming consoles. League of Legends in itself dominates the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre
What Are The Most Played Online Games?
- PUBG – 1.20 billion players
- CrossFire – 1 billion players
- Dungeon Fighter Online – 850 million players
- Minecraft – 738 million players
- QQ Speed / GKART / Speed Drifters – 700 million players
- Pac-Man Google Doodle – 505M players
- Candy Crush Saga – 500M players
- Among Us – 500 million players
- Microsoft Solitaire – 400 million players
- Mini World – 400 million players
This list is based on player count and registered accounts per game (27). It also considers the highest number of players logged in any given day since the game was released. The actual count of these video games may or may not reflect the actual number of people play video games on this list.
What Are The 10 Most Popular Games Played Online?
These are the 10 most popular online games for 2022 (28):
- PUBG – 100+ million active players – PUBG Corporation – Released 2018
- Minecraft – 95+ million active players – Mojang Studios – Released 2011
- Apex Legends – 50+ million active players – Respawn Entertainment – Released 2019
- Fortnite Battle Royale – 45 million active players – Epic Games – Released 2017
- CS: Global Offensive – 35 million active players – Valve Corporation – Released 2012
- Hearthstone – 30 million active players – Blizzard Entertainment – Released 2012
- League of Legends – 27 million active players – Riot Games – Released 2009
- Call of Duty Mobile – 15 million active players – TiMi Studios – Released 2019
- Among Us – 8 million active players – InnerSloth LLC – Released 2018
- Call of Duty Warzone – 6 million active players – Activision – Released 2020
There’s no doubt that PUGB remains one of the most popular games for 2022, be it on PC or on Mobile. Dubbed as the king of battle royale shooter games, PUBG is famous for its huge playerbase for a single map (at 99 players maximum). Combined with sandboxing elements and real-life scavenging, the players take up arms against other players by raiding and killing with whatever items they have.
Fortnite and Apex Legends follow in the same footsteps as PUBG and are two of the most popular battle royale shooter games of all time. Fortnite has its appeal with the building aspect, while Apex Legends has you playing different toons with different abilities. Much like PUBG, the goal is to survive the entire round against an entire army of people playing the same video game.