By 2019, half of all Internet users will be playing games digitally at least once a month, according to eMarketer’s first ever UK online gaming forecast.
Online gaming penetration, which includes mobile, social and online console gaming, will reach 48.6 per cent of internet users in 2017, equating to 26.4 million people.
The surge in online gaming has run in parallel to the rise in smartphone adoption and the growth in social networking. These cultural shifts helped bring new gaming audiences to the fore, including women and older adults. According to eMarketer’s estimates, this year there will be 42.7 million smartphone users in the UK, representing almost four-fifths of Internet users and 64.3 per cent of the population. And 54.1 per cent of those smartphone users, or 23.1 million, will play digital games on their devices at least monthly.
Online gaming isn’t just about smartphones, though. According to eMarketer estimates, 18.4 million tablet users will play games on their devices in 2017. Next year that total will reach 20 million, and more than half of all tablet users.
“Online gaming is no longer the preserve of a core demographic made up of young, tech-savvy males,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “Rising smartphone and tablet use, bolstered by social networking games, has led to greater levels of engagement across all age and gender lines. Unsurprisingly, mobile gaming is thus driving growth in this segment, an opportunity that is not lost on digital marketers.”