annex 4

the gaming ecosystem

The Gaming Ecosystem is already shaping the tools, approaches, and communities that will be key to building digital spaces in the future. Understanding its structure, key players, and innovations is fundamental to understanding how online spaces could evolve.

In the past year, talk of the metaverse, the rise of distributed technologies, and a sudden explosion of consumer-accessible artificial-intelligence (AI) applications have begun to broaden conceptions of what our digital world might resemble, and the industries that will increasingly inform our digital future.

One such industry is gaming – a significant, yet under-examined part of the existing digital world. It is estimated that three billion people around the world play digital games, with a projected market value of more than $300 billion by 2026. Gaming’s isolation from policy communities focused on internet governance, social media, and big-tech issues has resulted in a lack of appreciation of the gaming industry’s long-standing market share, geopolitical impact, technology innovation, and connection to the rest of the information ecosystem. The gaming ecosystem is massive and expanding rapidly. It is also merging with other parts of the digital ecosystem.

Understanding how the gaming ecosystem operates and who its key players are is critical to ensuring that the digital spaces where people interact in the future are safe and manageable, and that those conversations reflect the full scope the digital world is likely to encompass. As the community working to build a healthier digital world explores new models and practices, it should collaborate with and include the gaming community moving forward. Likewise, governments and civil-society leaders would be wise to pay closer attention to key parts of the gaming industry, as other governments seek to amass and exert power through gaming companies. These companies are spread throughout the world, building tools and content that will be used by billions of people for everything from expressing their views to running their businesses to innovating designs entirely for online spaces.