More than a quarter of the world’s population now plays games. The industry is worth $159.3bn owing to the enormous success of popular franchises across PCs, consoles, smartphones, and other connected devices. Gaming has transformed from a niche hobby 20 years ago to something everyone can enjoy regardless of their budget, location, and demographics.

While video games have been around since the 1970s and were brought to the masses by corporations like Nintendo, Sega, and Sony, the cost of entry was prohibitive for many gamers. That changed with mobile gaming. Anyone with a budget Android device or a premium smartphone can download and play the latest games within minutes.

That theory is supported by the fact that there were 2.2billion people playing games on mobile phones by the end of 2020. This has increased the awareness of general gaming significantly as popular titles can be downloaded and played on an”all-purpose” device that also makes calls and texts. That differs from the past when a proprietary console had to be purchased for gaming.

It’s no surprise then that the culture around gaming is changing too. Female gamers prefer to play on mobile, and 60% say they check in with their favorite games every day. Gaming isn’t just a Western phenomenon either, as the Chinese market accounts for the largest share of industry revenue, ahead of the US, Japan, South Korea, and Germany.

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Gaming now for players of all ages

According to the 15th edition of the Digital media trends survey from Deloitte, general awareness of gaming appears to be at an all-time high currently. It found that Millennials spend 14 hours playing games across various devices every single week, while younger Generation Z or “Zoomers” play for 13 hours.

However, the substantial number for older generations shows just how far gaming has come during the last decade or so. Generation X individuals, born in the mid-1960s, are not far behind younger adults in being frequent gamers. They spend 12 hours each week enjoying the hobby, while for Boomers, that figure is eight hours.

Gaming in the public consciousness has already shifted thanks to social media and streaming services. The former is a place where people share clips and memes associated with games. The latter is the primary platform for more extended walkthroughs and watching multiplayer action at esports events. Of those that deem themselves to be dedicated gamers, 45% are watching streaming, and almost half are consuming video tips and tutorials for gaming.

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Crypto set to power the future of gaming

Cryptocurrency could also transform online gaming in the years to come. While still in its relative infancy, the crypto gaming industry was already worth $321m last year. Its growth is being driven by “digital natives” who know how bitcoin (BTC) and other similar currencies work and trade them regularly. Research by Newsagg found many Millennial gamers own crypto.

What’s more, 80% of crypto-savvy gamers want to use cryptocurrencies to buy in-game items. That is probably why 40% of crypto gaming revenue comes from smartphone games where microtransactions are commonplace, and gamers are happy to place bets at an online casino while also purchasing cosmetics and ‘boosters’ for free-to-play games.

“This generation has a greater acceptance and comfort with all things digital, so not surprising that they would be more comfortable with crypto,” industry insider Kathy Sheehan notes. This tallies with the fact that six in ten “Zoomers” see themselves making money from investing in cryptocurrencies in the future.

In terms of gaming, players of all ages can already sign up to a range of online casinos offering high-quality games with bitcoin payments. By reviewing a list of the best crypto casinos, you can select a casino with a bonus code to get free spins and welcome bonuses. Some of these online casinos also offer bitcoin promotions to make your initial deposit go further.

Finally, media coverage of gaming is likely to grow and be linked to the arrival of cutting-edge tech in the coming years. The recent buzz about the “metaverse” hints at the potential for further advancements in gaming, which will increase its accessibility and utility. The future of gaming will be tied to crypto, virtual reality, augmented reality, and cloud gaming, the latter of which is already being used to support online gaming experiences. Whatever happens, gaming will continue to blaze a trail for mainstream entertainment.