The online gaming industry has rocketed over the last few years. In 2021, the size of the market was valued at $195.65 billion, with the prospect of reaching $321 billion by 2026. In New Zealand, specifically, this market is growing just as fast, with millions of dollars spent in the online casino industry alone every year.
So why is the market - coupled with New Zealand investment - growing so exponentially? Part of the reason is the scope of online gaming itself. With the world growing more and more digital - see the influx of crypto users and esports followers for context - the industry of online gaming has grown with it, with several offshoots taking advantage of alternative technologies and innovations which have not yet been tapped into.
Online gaming is not just the process of online gambling. It covers many different areas, with a wide net that is drawing in more and more people, all of whom are growing accustomed to a new, efficient and more immersive means of entertainment.
With this in mind, let's have a look at the intricacies of this net and what the world of online gaming has to offer in New Zealand:
The Draw Of Online Casinos
Starting with the most popular form of online gaming, digital casinos have been hugely popular in New Zealand for over ten years now. It is estimated that 80% of New Zealanders have played online casinos in some form, and this is an interesting point, considering online gambling is technically banned in the country.
But that law is not all as it seems. For the players, nothing has changed, seeing as gambling companies based internationally are still allowed to host online games - it is only the providers in New Zealand that are prohibited. For a list of NZ online casinos that are operational and playable for New Zealand citizens, click on the link provided.
The Mind-Bending World Of Crypto Gaming
Last year, a poll of 1,000 New Zealanders claimed that 18.4% of adults had crypto investments, with a large portion of these investors utilising the metaverse for both financial and entertainment reasons. Since the launch of blockchain, the idea of decentralised games has become one of the biggest crypto trends, with the popular launch of high-profile games such as Axie Infinity, Splinterlands and The Sandbox - the latter of which has over 200,000 active players every month.
As of 2023, New Zealand ranks 24th out of 26 countries for crypto adoption, but with the number of users growing - and the end of another crypto winter on the horizon - blockchain technology is likely to be utilised further. For reference, the size of the crypto gaming market overall is $4.6 billion as of 2022, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR rate of 70.3%. With this in mind, it is likely that it could become the biggest sector of online gaming in New Zealand in the near future.
The Takeover Of Esports
One of the biggest online gaming industries in New Zealand right now, however, is the esports industry. While the casual scene is thriving, New Zealand professionals have earned more than $2 million in the esports scene so far, with the most successful titles being Global Offensive, Rocket League and Fortnite. The highest-earning pro is currently Cameron Ingram, whose fourth-place finish at RLCS contributed to an earning of nearly $126,000, but apart from him, there have been a total of 341 New Zealand players across 1,053 tournaments. Fortnite is the highest awarding game so far, with 31% of all earnings being taken by New Zealand players.
Having said all this, the owner of Esports Gaming Whangarei, Tony Grose, has said that the country is only scratching the surface of its potential. It is true that, compared to any European country, New Zealand is behind on the development of the industry, but this is more of an opportunity for growth than a lack of interest or progress. It is clear that more New Zealanders want to know how to get involved in esports, and if the country were to increase its market share by 0.1%, exports are said to reach over $250 million every year. Over the next few years, however, esports will continue to grow, and a number of leagues will begin to be promoted on the biggest television networks, advertising the online gaming sector and supercharging this growth to a whole new level.