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Number of Gamers Worldwide 2019 & 2020: Demographics, Statistics, and Predictions

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How many active video gamers were there in 2019?
There were 2.47 billion video game players worldwide in 2019. The figure will rise to 2.6 billion in 2020 based on a 5.22% year-on-year growth forecast. The global games market had $148.8 billion in revenues for 2019, 48% of which came from the Asia Pacific market.

Source: Newzoo; Statista

Gamers are not the minority TV and film paint them out to be. Newzoo reports there were 2.47 billion gamers in the world by the end of 2019. Growth has been steady with an average of 5.9% Year-on-Year (YoY) increase. 2020 figures are forecasted to reach 2.6 billion gamers that will earn the global games market an estimated $165 billion.

Games revenues for 2019 reached over $148 billion with 48% of market earnings generated by the Asia Pacific region. Growth in APAC was driven by demand from its 1.3 billion gamers.

The rise of subscription gaming services and cloud gaming has opened income opportunities beyond the sales of game titles and gear. Independent game developers can develop and launch their games without the need for a game publishing company. Gamers, on the other hand, can earn from tournaments and streams from their social media channels.

This article explores the number of video gamers, the biggest gaming markets, and other aspects of the gaming industry by digging deep into the categories below:

Gamers’ Geographical Breakdown

Gamers make up a third of the world population and they are found everywhere. Leading the market in number of gamers and revenue is China.

China was a late starter in the gaming space with a small market compared to other mature gaming markets. The Chinese government actually enforced a 14-year ban on game console imports and sales amidst fears of the youth developing gaming addictions. The PC games market, not included in the ban, flourished.

PC-based gameplay soon gave way to microtransactions, and then social network games like the once overly popular Farmville, and eventually, mobile games in the vein of League of Legends.

Since 2015, a year after the game console ban was lifted, China has earned more gaming revenue than the US, with the figures reaching a record high in 2016 and then slowing down in 2018, when another government measure saw new games licenses being frozen due to renewed fears of gaming addiction among the youth.

Source: Statista; FinancesOnline market projection

Top 10 Countries By Gaming Revenue

The Asia Pacific region is well represented in the list with China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea placing in the top five. Combined revenues for the three countries surpass the revenues of the remaining countries put together.

Source: Newzoo

The Biggest Gaming Market

As of October 2019, China has 640 million gamers, the biggest number of gamers in the APAC region and the world. This translated to $36.5 billion in revenue for 2019. The license freeze in October 2018 slowed down the rate to 5.3% YoY growth compared to the 23% increase in 2017.

The US trails China with over 211 million gamers. The figures vary depending on the source and demographics counted but it is estimated that 67% of Americans play video games on various consoles with more than half playing on mobile phones.

Latin America and Southeast Asia are the fastest-growing gaming markets, with 253 million and 227 million gamers, respectively. Other important markets are the UK with $4.7 billion in market revenue and over 37 million gamers, and India with a gaming market value of $1.5 billion and a gamer count of 300 million.

Source: Newzoo; FinancesOnline market projections

China and the US are head to head in Newzoo’s Global Games report for 2019, with each country’s gaming markets worth $36.5 billion and $35.5 billion, respectively.

Source: Newzoo

The Southeast Asian region saw an enormous expansion in its mobile games segment. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are leading the way with $4.3 billion in revenues for the mobile segment alone.

Source: Newzoo

The biggest gaming markets per region include Mexico for Latin America with $1.8 billion in revenue, Turkey with $826 million for the Middle East, Germany for Western Europe with $6 billion, and Russia generating revenue of $1.8 billion for Eastern Europe.

Gaming Devices and Platforms

The games market can be broadly divided into five segments: browser PC games, console games, downloaded/boxed PC games, smartphone games, and tablet games. Smartphone games have the biggest slice of the pie with a 37% market share, followed by console games with 30%.

A contraction in the number of console hardware, peripherals, and titles sold worldwide led to adjustments in market projections for 2019 revenue — from $47.9 billion down to $45.3 billion.

The longer release cycle for new console models is a contributing factor to lower hardware sales. Gamers would rather wait for new console models instead of spending on current generation games.

Market Share per Gaming Platform

Mobile gaming makes up almost half of the total market with a combined smartphone and tablet gaming revenue of $68.2 billion. All segments have positive growth except browser PC games which dropped -15.1%.

Source: Newzoo

Source: Newzoo

Number of Gaming Consoles Sold

2018 saw gaming consoles sold limited to five models from three major console manufacturers – PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox. Limelight Networks’ online gaming report found that video gamers aged 26-35 preferred using gaming consoles over computers and mobile phones.

Source: Statista

2019 gaming console sales grew 7.3% from the previous year but is forecast to be static at 31% from 2020 to 2022. Market analysts predict 2020 will be a slow year for console sales; the lowest since 2015.

Source: Newzoo

Cloud gaming is also forecast to put a dent on future gaming console market share despite the lukewarm reception to Google Stadia. The concept of gaming with no expensive hardware may give gamers pause to upgrade their current consoles and switch to a cloud gaming service instead. There is also the much anticipated Microsoft xCloud, still under development but will see release sometime in 2020.

Gamers’ User Profile

The real-world gamer demographic is more complex than the stereotypical gamer persona of a 30-something man-child living in their mother’s basement. The Entertainment Software Association released a study about the background and demographics of the American gamer with the following surprising insights: they’re civically involved, exercise more compared to non-gamers, and get the same amount of sleep as their non-gaming counterparts.

The average adult gamer prefers to play casual games on a smartphone. Close to 80% do so as they believe games provide mental stimulation and are a way to relax. Gamers are also educated; 52% have a degree.

Income does not have much bearing with gamers consistently purchasing hardware and titles across a range of incomes from less than $49,000 to $89,000 a year.

Source: Earnest

Gamers’ Age Range and Gender Split

Gamers range in age from children under 18 to post-Boomers 70 and up. 65% of American adults are gamers with an average age of 33 years old. The age range is split into four segments with Millennials as the biggest group.

Gamers' Age Distribution (2019)

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Source: Statista; Entertainment Software Association

Designed by

Three out of four American households have a gamer and 64% of American households own a gaming device. Over 70% of parents believe playing video games are educational. Nearly 60% of parents play video games with their children at least once a week.

The gender split has a slight skew in favor of male gamers at a 54% to 46% ratio in the US. The average gamer age is 32 years for men and 34 years for women. The highest percentage of female gamers in the world belong to Japan, where 2 out of 3 gamers are female.

Source: Entertainment Software Association

Male millennial gamers are the biggest market for gaming consoles while male Baby Boomers have a preference for playing games using a computer. The remaining favor using mobile devices for their gameplay. Among adult gamers, 60% prefer using a smartphone device, 52% a personal computer, and 49% use a gaming console.


Female Male Female Male


Millennials Action, Shooters & Sports Games Casual & Action Games God of War, Madden NFL and


Candy Crush, Assassin’s Creed,

Tomb Raider

Consoles (69%) Smartphones (69%)
Gen-Xers Sports, Racing & Shooters Casual Games, including Puzzle

and Classic Arcades

Forza, NBA 2K, Call of Duty Tetris & Pac-Man Smartphones (62%)  Smartphones (70%) 
Baby Boomers Card, Puzzle and Virtual Board Games Card, Puzzle & Virtual Board Games  Solitaire & Scrabble Mahjong & Monopoly  PC (66%) Smartphone (58%)

Over half of gamers identify as casual gamers—playing titles like Tetris, Candy Crush, and Solitaire. Men are more likely than women to identify as expert gamers and aspiring professionals. Women are more likely to categorize themselves as novice or casual gamers.

Types of Gamers

Over half of gamers identify as casual gamers—playing titles like Tetris, Candy Crush, and Solitaire. Men are more likely than women to identify as expert gamers and aspiring professionals. Women are more likely to categorize themselves as novice or casual gamers.

Source: Limelight Networks

Gamers over the age of 45 are more likely to consider themselves casual players — gaming after work, during a commute, or while waiting for appointments. A combined 12.2% from the segments of 18-25 and 26-35 year old segment dream of making a career out of gaming. Professional video game players can earn anywhere between $5,000 to $20,000 monthly and hundreds of thousands to a cool million in prize money for tournaments.

Time Spent Playing Video Games

Dropping in an hour to two a day, gamers spent an average of 7.11 hours a week playing video games in 2019; a marked increase of 19.2% from 2018’s 5.96 hours. Male video gamers clocked in 7.89 hours each week compared to 6.28 hours for female gamers.

Average Gaming Time Per Region

Germany has the highest weekly average game time of almost 8 hours of gameplay a week while South Korea has the lowest with 6.69 hours. Both grew by 31% and 51% respectively from last year’s results. The US and Germany are tied with 12% of respondents reporting they played 20 or more hours a week.

Source: Limelight Networks

Average Gaming Time Per Age and Gender

It’s a no-brainer that across the age groups of gamers, 26-35 year olds play the longest as the Millennial segment makes up a large part of the gaming market (40%). The 26-35 year old segment is also the most likely to play at work; close to half in the age group play each month at their workplaces.

Source: Limelight Networks

The average gaming duration is 1.37 hours. The country with the shortest consecutive gaming hours is Italy with 1.09 hours of gameplay while the longest is Singapore with 1.57. Age-wise, the segments with the longest and shortest gameplay are the 18-25 year olds with 1.97 hours and the over-60 with 0.97 hours a day.

Gaming is a social and shared experience. Games are played in cooperation and competition with friends and strangers alike: 2 out of 3 gamers play with others. Adult gamers play with their friends 4.8 hours online and 3.5 hours in person.

Men play 1.61 hours longer than women. Although not common, a portion of gamers can play 12 or more hours—23% for men and 15.9% of women.

Average Weekly Gameplay Hours per Gender (2019)

Average Weekly Gameplay Hours per Gender (2019)
Male: 7.9h


Average Weekly Gameplay Hours per Gender (2019)
Female: 6.3h



Source: Limelight Networks

Designed by

Payment Method of Choice for Gaming-Related Purchases

The video game industry makes money not only from game titles and hardware sales. Microtransactions for upgrades such as downloadable content are worth over $6 billion annually. Exchanges are facilitated through credit and debit card transactions. Credit cards are the preferred payment method but security and usability concerns make gamers wary.

E-wallets are gaining support: 26% choose PayPal as the preferred payment method for in-game purchases. Other payment methods include WeChat Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

Source: Statista

Gaming Monetization and Revenue

There are over 2,400 video game companies worldwide, providing employment for hundreds of thousands and generating revenues over $150 billion in 2019. Video game monetization has extended to other avenues such as Esports and streaming gameplay on YouTube and Twitch.

Source: Mediakix, Twitch, Youtube,

Source: Wondershare, Twitch, Youtube

Esports has been recognized as a potential sporting activity by the International Olympic Committee in 2017. It made its historic debut as a medal sport in the 30th South East Asian Games. Intel will host an Esports tournament prior to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Though not part of the Olympic games, exposure will steer discussions on Esports’ validity as a competitive sport.

Source: Newzoo

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. From pitch deck to exit strategy, he is no stranger to project business hiccups and essentials. He has been involved in a few internet startups including a digital route planner for a triple A affiliate. His advice to vendors and users alike? "Think of benefits, not features."

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