For many years, video games used to be considered something nerdy and childish. It was common for gamers to be frowned upon and ridiculed for their hobby. This still happens sometimes, admittedly, but things have definitely changed a lot in the last 20 years.

Video games have now become mainstream. Playing them is no longer a weird, nerdy or immature thing to do. It’s now widely considered a normal, fun activity, just like watching TV or going to the cinema. More and more people agree that video games should be considered an art form.

When you hear the word “gamer”, what image pops into your mind? If it’s a teenage boy or a younger child, you’re in for a big surprise: the average gamer is actually 33 years old! Here’s another surprising statistic: adult women represent a greater portion of the video game-playing population (33%) than boys under 18 (17%).

Due to this shift, games are now often targeted at adults who have their own money to spend—and they spend a lot. Gaming has become a huge hobby and, as a result, it’s now also a gigantic global industry with a rapidly growing revenue.

Here are some numbers to back this up:

  • There are 2.6 billion gamers in the world (that’s a third of the world’s entire population!).
  • Games can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop—for example, Grand Theft Auto V’s total development and marketing costs are estimated at $265 million.
  • The gaming industry generated almost $135 billion in 2018, and the revenues are expected to reach $180 billion in 2021. To put this in perspective, the global film industry’s revenue was $136 billion in 2018.
  • Just in the US, the annual consumer spend on video games has increased from $17.5 billion in 2010 to $29.1 billion in 2017, and it keeps growing.
  • The mobile gaming market is the largest part of the industry—almost 50%. 72.3% of mobile users in the U.S. are mobile phone gamers.

Gamers are now everywhere. This widespread popularisation has also created the need for games to be translated into a variety of languages to make them more accessible to international audiences.

Video game localisation is not easy, though. Gamers as a whole are very demanding and have particular tastes. Translation errors in video games can cause drastic drops in their sales. Gamers have very high expectations and share every issue they encounter with a global community of like-minded individuals. And there are a lot of them—probably way more than you expected. To meet their expectations, developers and publishers need the help of professional translators and proofreaders.

I think it should be clear now that video games are a huge industry that should not be underestimated as a “niche hobby” anymore. 😉