It’s game time in 2017.
Video games are hitting it big this year online, according to Mary Meeker, who detailed her predictions in her annual report on internet trends. With more than 161 million people watching eSports every month, it’s becoming one of the largest spectator sports in the world — but it’s not just on our computers anymore.
At Recode’s Code Conference on Wednesday, Meeker pointed out that video games are crawling into nearly every facet of our lives online and offline — just look at how many people were staring down on their phones for Pokemon Go last summer.
Meeker, a partner at venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and former Morgan Stanley analyst, has built an influential voice in tech through her annual report, which was first published in 1995. She touches on tech’s past, present and future to mark changes in where people use their devices and connect online. Every year, the report is seen as a roadmap of where tech companies will head.
In the 355 page slideshow released on Wednesday, Meeker addressed topics like the digitalization of health care, China and India’s growth online, streaming services, and yes, video games.
Video games have been around for decades, since the first blip on Pong, but their influence has finally taken over, Meeker said. You see it in schools, like with Microsoft using Minecraft to help teach kids to code. It’s in military and pilot training, health care research, working out, hell, there are video games inside your video games.
“In addition to optimizing learning and engagement, gaming tools are foundational to the internet services that we use today,” Meeker said.
With people spending more time per day playing video games than they do on most social media, Meeker said that gaming is more engaging than Facebook and twice as time-consuming as Instagram.
Gaming is a $100 billion business globally, and it’ll continue to grow at a booming rate, Meeker said. In 2017, there were 2.6 billion gamers, a massive spike from 100 million in 1995, according to the report.
She attributes the growth to Generation X and millennials, two age groups that grew up surrounded by video games, from arcade machines to Candy Crush Saga fitting in our pockets. In her report, Meeker found that the largest revenue for gaming came from Asia, with $47 billion flowing in during 2016.
In later parts of Meeker’s report, she mentioned that China is leading an evolution in mobile-centric entertainment, with India in a close second. Mobile gaming has had a steady rise since 2015, the report outlined.
She predicts that as rapid data growth continues, games will become more useful as tools to people, to the point where playing might start to feel like working.
You can view the entire report here:
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