Blizzard, known for World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, divides its global play regions into the Americas (North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand), Europe, (the EU, Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, and the Middle East), and Asia, (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.) Most gaming platforms divide the world into regions for a practical purpose, whether it is for e-sports playoffs or server capabilities, but what are the trends in gaming across the globe?
The Average Gamer
When it comes to the general gaming population of the United States, first-person shooters such as Halo and Call of Duty reign supreme. In Japan, this type of game is extremely unpopular, eschewed for a national preference towards arcade gaming. This can be attributed to country infrastructure: a mixture of population density and ease of transportation. The smaller living spaces of Japan make it difficult to gather at home to play games with friends. German gamers demonstrate a preference towards quiz and puzzle games, while India dominates the card-playing market. RPGs are massive in China, whereas racing games are popular in the West. The Latin American game market skews towards fighting games.
One of the big factors determining gameplay is server availability. Game servers are what connect people to the game, so if you live somewhere the game is popular, you have easy access. But if you decide you want to play World of Warcraft in South Africa, your nearest server is the EU server and you can expect plenty of lag.
China and the US are the world leaders in mobile gaming, accounting for half the world’s gaming market. The US-led for many years until Chinese mobile game revenue surpassed America’s in 2015. The countries have different game preferences. American gaming tends to be stationary, where Chinese gaming is mobile. American game setups are in a fixed location, while Chinese gamers are more likely to game while commuting. Americans are more likely than their Chinese counterparts to multitask when gaming. Mobile gaming is also extremely popular in Brazil for the under-40 demographic.
East and South Asia are a hot spot of professional gamers. Taiwan leads in League of Legends, while South Korea dominates the StarCraft scene. Professional gamers in South Korea are so popular that during the World Cup, they were brought in to meet South Korea’s football team as a morale boost for the footballers.
The internet has no country, making it difficult for nations to regulate. Online casinos have led to an onslaught of new legislation in countries around the world. Each treats them differently. Where you have to be 21 to play in most American online casinos, the UK age of play is 18. Online gambling in Ireland was only made legal in 2001 by the Horses and Greyhound Act and has grown to a billion-euro industry, with thousands of online games for Irish players available.
The global gaming market is a $100 billion industry. While understanding national and regional tendencies can give paint an approximate picture, these are, of course, averages that don’t account for the totality of a gaming nation. Gaming is an expanding market free from borders and open to anyone interested in joining.
Let us know your feedback and what popular gaming trends you follow in the comments below!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Nerd Stash. An avid gamer since I could walk and can be found in Ashland, KY, where he hopes to find inspiration and uniqueness in life by meeting awesome people, development friendships with companies, and become more nerdy.