Gaming is Eating the World — and Web3 (Part I)

The gaming industry is one of the biggest markets in the world, and it’s only going to continue to grow.

In this two-part series, called Gaming is Eating the World — And Web3, we’ll be exploring how crypto gaming has flourished despite the industry-wide market downturn.

Today, we’ll be discussing why games are so compelling to humans to begin with.

In our next piece, we’ll look at the hard stats of how Web3 gaming has defied downtrends across the market and held strong, and what that means for the future of crypto. Let’s dive in!

A Massive Market

The value of the gaming industry has risen exponentially in the past few decades. The World Economic Forum charted this growth since 1970:

Since then, the pandemic has only bolstered its hockey-stick growth. Locked indoors with little else to do, millions flocked online to play games — some estimate participation jumped 82%.

And that growth hasn’t slowed. Experts project that the industry will clear a staggering $321 billion by 2026, and well over $400 billion by 2028, making it clear of the integral part of our lives it has become for many.

And it’s not just kids. The average age of a video game player today is 33 years old, with over two-thirds of Americans (more than 215 million folks) playing games regularly.

Wired to Game

Why has gaming blown up? Well, in many ways we are psychologically wired for games. And they are so compelling to us for a few main reasons:

1] A sense of progress and purpose — with lower stakes.

Whether you’re completing quests, hitting new high scores, or rescuing damsels in distress, gaming can fulfil a need for purpose. Having a sense of purpose is one of the most basic parts of being human.

Of course, you shouldn’t make the quests in video games your one main priority in life, but having sources of fun and meaning besides the ones you have in the real world can be a good way to practise setting goals and achieving milestones in a low-stakes environment.

This can be very powerful, creating a positive feedback loop that benefits your life and confidence even outside of games. Take STEPN for instance — users are motivated by their progress when exercising as they break personal records while enhancing their physical well-being, creating an enjoyable experience both within and outside of the app.

2] A healthy way to relieve stress and take a mental break.

From climate change to war, political turmoil to a global pandemic, the world and its 24/7 current of news can be tough to stomach sometimes. Games are a way for many to take a break from the rat race, put our stresses away, and allow our brain to unwind.

While some may see this as escapism, doctors have found that mental breaks are actually crucial to well-being and healthy functioning. The brain and body need time to recharge; we can’t be on all the time. In fact, being under long durations of stress often leads to burnout. Chronic burnout, particularly, is associated with countless physical and mental ails, increasing one’s likelihood of developing heart problems, high blood pressure, and more.

Games provide an accessible and affordable outlet (usually much cheaper than a plane ticket!) to explore new places and open their minds, from the exciting and adventurous universe with the likes of The Legend of Zelda to the happy and carefree world of Super Mario. Series like award-winning The Elder Scrolls immerses players within entire mythologies and sets of stories in a land of fantasy. ‘

And of course, STEPN — providing a powerful stimulus to users to go out outdoors through the use of gamified mechanisms.

3] The social community

Community is something we touch on often here at FSL, and it’s why we designed STEPN to be a gaming app in the first place.

Video games allow players to make friends all around the world, people they may never have otherwise crossed paths with, and stay in touch via playing, building, or fighting together. Over 80% of gamers say that games help them meet new people, with nearly 70% saying that it’s easy to find the right community for such activities online.

That’s huge, especially with the rise of loneliness in recent years. Gaming has become a social lifeline for people to connect with friends and stay close, even when physical distance may keep them apart.

4] A mental workout

Studies have shown that games can also be good for your mental health while keeping you sharp. Research from the University of Oxford found that people who play video games for long periods of time tend to feel happier than those who do not. And another from institutes in Amsterdam found that kids who spent above average times playing video games saw an approximate 2.5 IQ point increase.

Taking it a step further, companies like Akili Interactive have raised millions to create “prescription video games” that are actually designed to help treat those with ADHD.

Next up: Gaming eats web3

The same principles carry across to the Web3 world, where gaming has been on a hot streak. It’s no secret that it’s been a tough year for crypto, and recent developments in the DeFi world have shaken things up even further.

Yet, GameFi is holding strong throughout the storm, and there’s reason to believe that it will continue to defy wider market trends. We’ll explore that and more in part two of our series — keep a lookout!

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