Indie video games are on the rise in the United States, according to research by market research and data analysis firm YouGov, with 17% of PC and console gamers playing on indie labels in March 2022, compared to only 13% as of March 2021. That’s unlike all other game genres, including massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, first-person shooters like Call of Duty, and adventure games like Red Dead Redemption, which had a lower share of players reporting playing it.
YouGov notes that the success of the indie genre can be attributed to a perfect storm of factors, including the growing popularity of Steam, a digital video game distribution service and storefront, which primarily offers indie games, and advancements in gaming engines. Unity and Unreal game, which made game development more accessible. With a lower barrier of entry into the gaming industry, more lone wolf developers and small teams are able to create the games they want, whether it’s diving into a niche topic or to meet the needs for better representation and diversity in the game, both help attract a wider range of audiences.
Other game genres, which have not been so lucky in the US, could take a hit as Covid restrictions ease and alternative forms of entertainment become possible again. This is on top of the fact that new game releases have had to be pushed back due to lockdown issues, as reported by The Guardian. Even though these other game genres have seen a decline in the number of respondents playing them since 2021, their numbers are still higher than indie games in both years, with 40% of PC and console gamers playing them. action/adventure and 26% racing. games in March 2022.
As this data is only a snapshot taken in the post-lockdown transition era, it is important to note that the declines seen here are likely only temporary. Over the past few years, the video game industry has exploded globally, with Juniper Research projections suggesting that the global gaming market will grow to US$268.8 billion per year in 2025 from US$178. billion US dollars in 2021.