Not so long ago, there was a time when playing video games was considered to be a niche activity. Indeed, this hobby was even thought of as being a realm of nerds and geeks, and something that was popular among people on the fringes of society. Well, thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Gaming is most certainly mainstream these days.
In fact, gaming has also become something of a cultural phenomenon over the last couple of decades, not to mention one of the most popular entertainment mediums. In fact, overall gaming revenues vastly outstrip those for the consumption of music or movies and TV, with empirical data from various market sources to prove that now being the case.
However, it’s also intriguing to see how statistics for games revenues are not only calculated, but also presented and published. You see, this is because the word “gaming” has various literal and abstract connotations, depending on the market segment or niche for which the word itself is used. And this makes it worthwhile taking a closer look at the two mainly associated meanings.
Mainstream Gaming Entertainment
Now that we know and recognise gaming as a mainstream entertainment pastime, the industry is absolutely thriving in Australia, continually and consistently attracting increasingly more participants. That’s abundantly clear when looking at statistical reports for 2023 published by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), highlighting that four out of five Aussies play video games.
The precise figure is actually 81% of adults, which is now the vast majority of the populace, underlining that Australia is very much a nation of gamers and therefore no longer a niche activity. Impressively, the adoption of gaming in people’s lives has risen dramatically in recent years, up from 67% when the last surveys and studies were undertaken in 2021.
Just as fascinating is that 94% of Aussie households have at least one gaming device. These include desktop or laptop PCs, consoles like the Playstation or XBOX, mobile and tablet devices, plus handheld such as Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck. According to IGEA figures published for the last financial year, overall spending on gaming reached $4.21 billion AUD in 2023. That was spread across games and software, plus hardware, peripherals and accessories.
While all of these numbers are certainly intriguing, and highlight the mass appeal which surrounds gaming in what has become a digital entertainment age, using the word “mainstream” for this particular sector entirely valid. Of course, the term itself means that an activity is normal or conventional, shared by the majority of people, but this also applies to the other gaming sector that we’re going to look at next.
Online Gambling and Casino Gaming
We often see the word “gaming” used to describe casino games, whether it’s the always popular pokies that are known as slots elsewhere around the world, poker and blackjack or similar card games, and also roulette or other games of chance. When played online the term “iGaming” is commonly associated with games based around betting and wagering. And iGaming is now by far the biggest and most popular niche that exists.
But when it comes to games based around gambling, knowledge is most certainly power. Reading through reviews covering the best mobile pokies, what instantly becomes apparent is the vast number of sites and apps that players Down Under can choose from. Therefore, it’s handy to have clear and unbiased expert opinions, weighing up all the pros and cons with accurate facts, as this helps people to make safe and sound decisions about where to play.
Having already taken a closer look at official figures covering revenues for the “mainstream” games industry, what about the iGaming sector? Well, just focusing our attention exclusively toward the boombing Australian online gambling market, the iGaming sector generated almost $7 billion AUD in revenues during the financial year between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, and the biggest growth is inevitably on mobile.
This clearly indicates that between the two gaming sectors, iGaming has cultivated the most popularity and reached a mainstream entertainment audience. Statistically speaking, Australia has more people who gamble regularly per head of population, compared to any other country on the planet, given that 81% of the adult population bets on sports or plays casino games. Therefore, it’s also fair to say that iGaming is very much a “mainstream” activity.
Whatever thoughts the word “gaming” provokes to each of us, it’s fair to say that both core segments of the industry in Australia are booming, indicated by the combined revenues worth $11.21 billion in 2023. Each are surrounded by different legislature and regulations, and that’s why we rarely see figures for each being unified in reports, although they clearly show the passion for gaming of either kind across the whole country.