By now, the majority of the population has grown up with some form of exposure to computer games. It is believed that the first computer game was invented in 1962 by a group of MIT programmers on a US$120,000 computer. It was called Spacewar and as the name suggests, featured spaceships, rockets and missiles. A lot has happened in the 55 years since then, particularly in the last 20 years as hardware has become more economic, software more advanced and the internet has allowed personal gaming to become socially interactive and spread globally.
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We are now in the age where gaming is not just a pastime for children or home entertainment for adults. It has become a sport, complete with world championships tournaments, players or gamers who compete to win millions of dollars in prizemoney and adoring fans who watch these gamers live, on TV or over the internet.
In Australia alone, we spent A$3 billion last year on gaming products, downloads and subscriptions, according to the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association. Mobile gaming grew at 14% for the year and contributed to almost A$1 billion of gaming sales.
However, these numbers pale in comparison to statistics from nations where gaming is an entrenched sport. 155 million Americans play video games for more than 3 hours a week and the average age of a U.S. gamer is 35 years old according to the U.S. Entertainment Software Industry. In China, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that there are about 534 million gamers or about 20% of the world’s 2.6 billion gamers as per Electronic Arts.
Newzoo Resources suggests the global gaming industry was worth US$100 billion in 2016, with China accounting for 25% of global sales and the rest of Asia accounting for another 22%. The U.S. accounts for 24% as does Europe, Middle East and Africa. Mobile makes up more than 36% of gaming sales and this figure is expected to reach over 44% by 2019 as the gaming industry grows to a US$119 billion global industry.
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