Rising Video Games, Streaming Rates May Threaten Traditional TV

The global video-gaming market continues as strong as one can imagine -- all during a crushing pandemic and a tentative U.S. economy.

A industry estimate from Newzoo now estimates global video-game market size to up 20% to $175 billion. And here’s the part pertaining to the pandemic: This is 11% higher than its pre-COVID estimate.

The number of video-game players has grown five times over the last two decades to 2.7 billion -- over one-third of the world’s population. The downside this year: Live esports events -- where rabid fans in stadiums, and arenas are cheering their favorite gamers -- have disappeared because of the pandemic.

Looking at the subset of the entire business, the video-game streaming business is now a $1 billion market, and set to rise rapidly, according to Macquarie Research. For example, YouTube now has a massive 40 million gaming channels.

Analysts have long wondered whether video-streaming gaming growth has come at the expense of other media -- like prime-time live, linear TV entertainment.

For younger millennial and Gen-X gamers, that train left the station a long time ago; many have already been consuming less traditional TV. Of particular interest is the amount of time gamers commit to video games. Skillz, a esports gaming company, says its average monthly users spend about 62 minutes a day playing its games.

Still, is it a TV versus video-gaming thing? Perhaps, in part.

A 2019 study from American University analyzing young men and women, age 21 and 30, revealed they watch about 14 to 15 hours a week of TV -- about two hours less then they did a decade ago. By contrast, women and men 65 year and older watch 27 hours and 33 hours respectively -- numbers that have gone up.

In 2020, there has been far more work-at-home -- as well as just being at home. Unemployment -- unfortunately -- is a big factor.

So video-gaming is higher -- as well as the wall-to-wall news for ever-higher video streaming of television programming.

Apart from social media and other activities, does video gaming -- in all its forms -- and video streaming of TV programming -- continue to quicken all inroads into traditional live, linear TV?

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