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Once upon a time, gaming might have been perceived as an unhealthy pastime for kids with little benefit beyond basic entertainment.

These days, gaming is a fully-fledged multi-billion-dollar / US$365.6 billion (AUD $555 billion) global industry and one of the fastest growing sports in the world. There are even full-time careers in esports competition, content creation and broadcasting available to those who are good enough.

The COVID-19 era smashed outdated stereotypes, as gaming became a crucial social connector for a collectively despondent global community, in a period isolation and quarantine at home became the norm. When ‘real’ sport outside stopped, online sport garnered even more attention.

It also turbo-charged gaming’s growth, although it was already increasing rapidly by any measure.

  • The global gaming market was valued at $162.32 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $295.63 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 10.5% from 2021 to 2026. (Source: MarketsandMarkets)
  • The esports market was valued at $1.08 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $1.62 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 14.3% from 2021 to 2024. (Source: Businesswire)
  • In 2021, there were an estimated 2.9 billion gamers worldwide. (Source: Newzoo)
  • The global audience for esports is expected to reach 646 million by 2023. (Source: Newzoo)
  • The prize pool for The International 2019, the biggest esports tournament for Dota 2, was over $34 million. (Source: The International)
  • The 2020 League of Legends World Championship had an average concurrent viewership of 23.04 million and a peak viewership of 45.95 million. (Source: Esports Charts)

Australian numbers are reflecting those global trends.

  • The Australian gaming industry was worth $3.3 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow to $5.2 billion by 2025. (Source: The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association)
  • The esports industry in Australia was worth $21.5 million in 2020, and is expected to grow to $39.2 million by 2024. (Source: Newzoo)
  • In 2021, there were an estimated 12.4 million gamers in Australia, with 77% of the population playing video games. (Source: IGEA Digital Australia Report 2021)
  • The most popular gaming genres in Australia include action, adventure, sports, and shooter games. (Source: IGEA Digital Australia Report 2021)
  • Australia has a thriving esports scene, with a number of professional teams and players competing in international tournaments. Some of the most popular esports games in Australia include League of Legends, Fortnite, CS:GO, and Overwatch. (Source: Esports Insider)
  • The Australian government has recognized the potential of the esports industry, and has announced plans to support its growth through initiatives such as funding for local esports events and the establishment of an esports high performance centre. (Source: Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts)

It is not beyond the realms that esports is integrated into the Olympic schedule by the time Brisbane 2032 rolls around, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) becoming an intriguing case study in the sports-gaming fusion.

They have copped some flak from gaming enthusiasts for the Olympic Esports Series (OES) execution, but they’ve signaled their intention since, having plotted a gaming course since hosting their inaugural IOC esports summit in 2017 and an Asian Games debut a year later.

Tom Pollock

Author Tom Pollock

Tom is Bruce Media's digital media specialist, with extensive experience in social media management and content production. Tom spent over three years as Melbourne Victory’s Digital Content Editor, responsible for managing the club’s website and social media channels. He has also worked in digital media teams at, Telstra and Melbourne Sports Hub.

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