Three billion gamers—really?

Are you as tired as I am at hearing this inflated and factious statistic of “3 billion gamers” used as if it was a fact?

Jon Peddie
(Source: Taylor.McBride)

Are you as tired as I am at hearing this inflated and factious statistic of “3 billion gamers” used as if it was a fact?

What is a gamer?

Britannica Dictionary:

  • A person who plays games and especially video or computer games.


  • A person who likes to play video games. It typically refers to the dedicated aficionado rather than the casual player. See gaming.
  • One who plays a game, especially a role-playing or computer game.
  • A person who plays computer and video games, board games, etc.
  • (video games, gaming) A person who plays video games.

The GameHers

  • Someone who plays games as their primary chosen entertainment.
  • Someone who plays games more than they watch TV.
  • Someone who seeks out and finds all the Easter eggs in the games they play.
  • Someone who plays hard-core shooter games rather than fantasy games.
  • Someone who games and is tech-savvy but puts little effort into personal hygiene or fashion. Oh, and they have anger issues.
  • Someone who enjoys games so much that games dominate their spare time. They are also antisocial in public but connected within the gaming community.


  • A gamer is someone who plays computer games.

So, is someone sitting at a bus stop with a five-year-old phone playing Candy Crush or solitaire a gamer?

Is a gambler sitting in front of a PC-based poker machine a gamer?

Is a person watching an esports event a gamer?

Statista, the publisher of other organizations’ research data, stated: “Video gaming is a hobby enjoyed by young and old across the globe. In 2021, there were an estimated 3.24 billion gamers across the globe.”

Newzoo, which seems to be the source for the 3 billion gamers number, said in May 2022, “The global player numbers will also have a breakthrough this year, passing the 3 billion mark to reach 3.09 billion players by the end of the year.” The company offers an explanation of its methodology. They summarized it by saying “someone who plays games via the cloud and includes PCs, game consoles, smartphones, and tablets.”

Distribution of gamers by platform.

And according to Techjury:

  • 78% of gamers are Android users.
  • The number of active mobile gamers worldwide is over 2.2 billion.
  • 57.9% of the games played are puzzle games.

While Statista says (from a survey they conducted):

Devices used for gaming.

Since the survey results exceeds 100%, it can be assumed that some gamers used multiple devices.

Since Newzoo seems to be responsible for the inflated estimate of the gamer population being 3 billion people, let’s use their distribution figures to arrive at the number of PC users accessing a game via the cloud. Based on the pie chart above, it would be 861 million.

If we assumed the average usage time of a PC by a consumer who played games by accessing the cloud was five years, then the installed base of PCs for the last five years is 1.5 billion devices, so not all PC owners are gamers. Put in marketing speak, that could be stated as: The TAM of PC gamers is 1.5 billion users.

The installed base (assuming five years) of AIBs is 228 million.

So, it’s pretty damn disingenuous for an AIB supplier to refer to there being 3 billion gamers when there are only 228 million installed AIBs. That’s an exaggeration of 13X.

An AIB supplier referring to the total population of gamers as representative of its market potential is like a sports car accessory company referring to the overall market for road vehicles, which would include bicycles, buses, cars, motorcycles, trucks, and airplanes making emergency landings.

Could we stop BS’ing one another about the emperor’s new clothes and present our products and arguments like adults? If someone knows you’re BS’ing them, what do you think they think about you, your company, its products, and your integrity? What would you think?

©TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection