The Canadian gaming market enjoyed another positive year in 2017. With the stats showing the market is now buoyed by more than 20 million players, gaming companies raked in just shy of $2 billion. Based on those numbers, Canada is now the tenth largest gaming market in the world according to Newzoo’s research, but what does this culture look like on the ground? Perhaps the most interesting trend that emerged from 2017’s gaming economy was the advent of women players. Although the number of women playing has gradually increased globally, Newzoo’s team noted something even more intriguing. As it stands, 44% of PC gamers in Canada are female, but 12% of that group is aged between 51 and 65.
Expansion and Innovation Has Brought New Players into the Industry
Even though that’s still a relatively small portion of the overall gaming market, the fact that anyone, male or female, is playing PC games at 65 is impressive. What this suggests is that gaming has now become a mainstream activity. Gone are the days when so-called “geeks” would huddle around a computer and enjoy the latest released. Today, through a combination of promotion, innovation and accessibility, everyone enjoys playing games. Indeed, one of the biggest influences on this new generation of gamers is eSports and live streams.
Thanks to websites such as Twitch, gaming is now a form of passive entertainment. Looking at the stats from Newzoo, 57% of gamers watch live streams for tips and tricks. However, this means 43% are tuning in for the entertainment value. Indeed, when you bring eSports events, things become even more interesting. The recent collaboration between Major League Soccer (MLS) and EA Sports has led to the creation of the eMLS Cup. This crossover event is not only a sign of the times but a clear route into gaming for the casual sports fan.
Gaming is Following the Same Path as the Casino Industry
In fact, these kinds of live/online collaborations have already proven successful in other markets. Take, for example, the Canadian casino industry. Today, casino games generate $16 billion in revenue according to the Canadian Gaming Association, and much of this is due to the rise of online platforms. At the turn of the millennium, prior to the growth of online betting, Canada’s casino industry had stagnated. During a review of the county’s betting industry, Statistics Canada noted that casino revenue rose from $2.7 billion in 1992 to $11.3 billion in 2002.
Within that decade, online gaming offered a way for casual players to experience everything from video poker to blackjack. Today, there is a myriad of betting options on the internet. As well as the actual casinos, you’ll find third-party operators offering reviews and guides to video poker games and more. This access to expert guides and independent ratings has made online casino gaming more inviting for the average player. The upshot of this has been more people betting online and, in turn, more people betting in live casinos.
Gaming is Becoming a Universal Pastime
The gaming industry is now undergoing a similar movement. As events such as the eMLS Cup fuse live and online activities, gaming has developed a wider appeal. Then, when you combine this with streaming platforms and review sites, you get an industry that’s more accessible than ever. Although the main demographic is still young men aged between 18 and 25, the data shows that more groups are now finding their way into the mix.
As we’ve seen in the casino industry, this can only be a good thing. By welcoming more players, whether they’re 25 or 65, gaming will continue to grow in Canada and that means more revenue, more action and, importantly, more innovations.