July 13, 2022
Will recession affect gaming industry jobs

Rising inflation, expensive housing, global instability caused by the pandemic and wars, and myriad other factors have led many to worry that a recession looms. According to a June 2022 report by “Fortune,” 70% of economists surveyed believe a recession will begin no later than 2023.

Recessions can restrict job markets and lead to hiring freezes as employers navigate uncertain financial markets. One industry that tends to be stable no matter how volatile the markets are is the gaming industry. Back in 2008, NBC News asked, “Is the video game industry recession-proof?” That’s because even when times are tough and wallets are tightening, people still prioritize gaming as an entertaining way to escape and have fun.

As we near a potential recession, how will the gaming industry be affected in terms of jobs? Let’s look at the current state of the industry and what to expect.

Gaming Industry by the Numbers

First, let’s look at projections for the gaming industry and where it is today. According to a January 2022 report by Fortune Business Insights, the global gaming market size is expected to grow from $203.12 billion in 2020 to reach $545.98 billion by 2028. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% between 2021 and 2028.

What’s driving the growth? Mobile gaming plays a big role. The Mobile Gaming Market by Platform and Geography – Forecast and Analysis 2022-2026 report shows the mobile gaming market is projected to experience a 11.56% year-over-year growth in 2022. From 2021 to 2026, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.26%, to increase $66.43 billion during that time frame.

More people around the globe are gaining access to smartphones and, thus, games. Smartphone adoption has steadily increased each year, with smartphone owners gaining access to increasingly fast and reliable connectivity that’s accessible in more locations. Mobile gaming introduces many people to the world of gaming, which can lead to increased use of other types of games, like video games and computer games.

In the U.S., a January 2022 report by Insider Intelligence projects that the number of digital gamers will continue to increase through 2025, at a rate of more than 1% growth each year. More than 89% of digital gamers access games on mobile devices, while 29% play video games on desktop and laptop devices. By the end of 2022, an estimated more than half of the U.S. population will identify as digital gamers.

How Game Brands Are Evolving

Amid the recent growth in gaming, there are speculations that gaming popularity will wane compared to video game use during pandemic lockdowns. Gaming companies are pivoting by focusing on the social aspect of interactive game play. According to 2021 research from Accenture:

  • 84% of gamers say video games help them connect with others who have similar interests.
  • 80% of gamers say video games help them meet new people.
  • 77% of gamers say video games help them stay in touch with friends.

A significant portion of gamers are new to the video game world, with Accenture reporting 21% of gamers have played video games for 4 years or less. This new group of gamers provides gaming companies with a tremendous opportunity to integrate more social aspects into games that keep gamers connected and plugged into playing with friends. Live streaming platforms like Twitch provide another way to interact with friends while gaming.

There’s also the growth of the metaverse to watch out for. Technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, virtual worlds and digital economies provide new areas for gaming developers to explore and connect with consumers. In recent years, celebrities, brands and influencers including Lil Nas X, Louis Vuitton and Ariana Grande have partnered with gaming platforms to create unique gaming experiences. Limited-time shopping experiences, in-game concerts and sponsored game content are all ways game developers can keep gamers engaged.

Should Gaming Professionals Be Worried About a Recession?

With gaming industry numbers pointing to continued growth, hiring in the gaming industry should also keep pace. The relatively low barrier to entry into the gaming industry – most likely free for smartphone users – also provides immense potential for innovative companies to continue to attract new customers and engage them with new offerings.

Ultimately, gaming talent will always be able to find a home with brands that innovate. As we’ve seen with the pandemic, people turn to games when they want enjoyment at home. Games provide a way to socialize even during lockdowns.

Also, research shows recessions can cause psychological stress and physical pain. If a recession does happen, more people may turn to gaming as a way to unwind and de-stress. For gaming professionals who crave job security, it’s helpful to update your portfolio and continue to develop your skills. You can also connect with a gaming recruiter like ggLocators, who can position you for ideal positions at any point of your gaming career.