For the first time in its history, the gaming industry has seen its user base shrink this year, with the number of gamers plunging by 150 million globally. Most of that user drop came from only three markets.
According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, the world`s leading gaming industries, China, the United States, and Japan are expected to lose 115 million gamers in 2022, or 76% of the total user drop.
China Lost 104 million Gamers in 2022, 15X more than the US
Unlike many other sectors, the gaming industry has seen its revenues and users surge in the past few years, showing impressive resilience to global economic shocks. However, that changed in 2022, as the entire market faced many challenges, including inflation and regulatory issues in China. As a result, the number of people playing video games dropped to 2.46 billion, down from 2.61 billion a year ago, according to Statista data.
The world`s largest gaming industry, China, is facing an eight-month freeze on approving new titles, stricter government censorship of game content, and tighter rules restricting playing times for minors, all affecting the user base and revenues. According to Statista, the country had 780 million gamers last year, 30% of the world`s total. But, after the latest push by the Chinese regulators, the number of gamers is set to plunge by 104 million to 676 million in 2022. The negative trend will continue in 2023, with the country losing another 40 million gamers.
The United States, as the world`s second-largest gaming industry, is expected to lose 6.6 million gamers this year, 15 times less than China. However, Statista expects the US market to recover in 2023, with the number of users rising to 161.9 million, up from 156.5 million this year.
More than 65 million New Gamers in South Korea
Japan is expected to count 73.3 million gamers in 2022, 3.7 million less than a year ago. Just like the United States, the Japanese gaming sector will also see its user base partially recover in 2023, with the number of gamers rising to 75.2 million. However, all three countries will remain below the 2021 user count all-time high.
The Statista data also showed that South Korea is the only one among the top five gaming markets defying the user drop. In fact, the number of gamers in one of the world`s largest gaming nations is set to jump by 65 million to 410.4 million in 2022. The impressive growth will continue next year, with the number of gamers rising by another 37 million.