Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Internet Access Worldwide

You'll notice that the US is not the top rank on either axis.
The above chart shows the percentage of Internet access for the population of various countries on the vertical axis. The horizontal axis shows the Internet Freedom score, which is a rough measure of just how much people in that country can go to any site they wish on the Internet. Of course, this is designed to showcase how repressive some governments are when it comes to allowing Internet freedom, or just how few people in a country have Internet access for various reasons which may range from cultural to economic to geographic.

There are some interesting implications here for the gaming market, though. China still has less than 40% penetration of the Internet, and despite that is poised to become a larger game market than the USA in a couple of years. On my recent trip to China, I was struck by the sheer lack of computer or video games being sold anywhere (except for Hong Kong, which doesn't exactly count). China's game market is mostly online gaming, and I suspect that will be true for a long time... or maybe forever. Which means that despite its already large size, the Chinese market could easily double in size just by increasing Internet penetration.

Similarly, Brazil has a lot of potential... and India has an incredible amount. I think the odds are good that these countries (and others in the developing world) will just skip by the whole concept of buying expensive packaged games in retail stores for consoles or computers. They'll go straight to digital distribution, and free-to-play games. Smartphones will be the first and only computer for billions of people worldwide, so if you really want to be part of the future of the game industry, digital distribution and smartphone games are where you need to be. Oh, and lower prices, too.

Amazing how that one chart can show you the future of the game industry, if you know how to read it.

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