With the advancement of technology, virtual reality, and video games, it’s hard not to ask yourself, “are board games still popular?” Who wants to collect square cardboard boxes and plastic playing pieces when I can just boot up my xbox and play a video game in 4k HD. Do you want the real answer? Well, the simple fact is that I love board games and there is something about having a physical board game in my hand that I just cannot get over. For me, board games will never get old.
But this isn’t about me. The answer to this question, are board games still popular, has to be surrounded by facts. So you want to know if board games are still popular? Well, here is what we found…
Are Board Games Still Popular?
Yes, board games are still extremely popular. According to data from Statista, the global market value of cards and board games was estimated to be around 12.02 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, and will reach a value of 21.56 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. This just shows that the board game industry is continuing to rapidly grow, showing the popularity of board games.
Based on facts and what we have seen around the board game community, I can confidently say that board games are still popular and are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Let’s dig a little deeper and see how the idea of board games have grown over time and see what it is like being in the modern board game industry.
Board Game History & Growth Over Time
I always hear the question, are board games making a comeback? And then I think to myself, did they ever die? Board game history and growth actually dates back to Ancient Egypt, where one of the oldest known board games, called Senet, was first seen in 3500 BC.
As time went on, the idea of board games flourished, and it wasn’t until the 21st century where we began to see a substantial growth and reach in the market of board games.
Although board games date back to 3500 BC, it wasn’t until recently we began to see nonstop growth of the board gaming industry. According to Wikipedia…
Around the year 2000 the board gaming industry began significant growth with companies producing a rising number of new games to be sold to a growing worldwide audience. Board game venues are also growing in popularity; in 2016, over 5,000 board game cafes opened in the U.S. alone.
Now, in the year 2021, the board game industry is still booming and I believe that we will only see more growth within the next few years. I see board game cafes popping up everywhere and this just allows more people to play more board games with each other and experience new board games to add to their own collection.
Board Games on Kickstarter
We have found that board games are actually more popular now than ever before. Board game sales keep increasing year after year and the amount of money poured into board game creation is insane. Just look at kickstarter for example. Board games are funded within hours of launch!
People are making board games based on anything and everything, such as video games, movies, and more. Just recently, we saw a new board game launch on kickstarter called The Witcher: Old World. This game is based off a popular video game series. After a deeper look, we were shocked to see this board game receive $2.6 million in funds on kickstarter in one day! This is incredible!
You will constantly see new board games pup up on kickstarter and then slay the market. It just goes to show the community behind the board gaming industry and the support people give for new board game creation. It’s basically people screaming, “we want more!”
Online Groups and Board Game Communities
As board gamers, we try to be interactive in the board gaming community. Whether it’s through social media or in person interaction, we try to do it all. With that being said, we have personally seen an increase in the the interactivity of online groups and communities for board gamers.
Yes, the pandemic did set in person interactions back quite a bit. But this did not stop the board gaming community from interacting through online groups and social media. We have seen an incredible amount of growth on our instagram and other accounts alike.
Online forums and board game sites, such as BoardGameGeek, gets thousands of hits daily. From people talking about new games they are playing to others taking part in challenges and GeekExchanges.
There are also a ton of Facebook groups related to board games where people interact daily and share photos of them playing board games or ask questions about certain board games. No matter what, there will always be someone to answer and begin a discussion. This is why we love the board gaming community!
Another great thing that we unfortunately did not get to experience too much of in 2020 are board game conventions. Conventions such as PAX unplugged and Gen Con are popular board game conventions where board gamers unite to play board games, try new board games, meet board game designers, compete in tournaments, buy cool board game merchandise, interact with other board gamers, attend talks/panels about board games, and much more!
As you can see, the board gaming industry has a huge following. As more and more people start to play board games, and board games become more and more popular, then the board gaming community will only grow from here.
Competitive Board Gaming
Just like sports and esports for video games, there is also competitive board gaming where people gather to play tournaments revolving around board games.
Active competitive scenes for board games usually include games like Magic, Twilight Struggle, Pandemic, Munchkin, and Ticket to Ride. You will see a lot of chess tournaments if you count that, but other board games are beginning to make their appearance strong in the competitive board gaming atmosphere.
Will board games ever reach the amount of views that sports and video game esports receive? We are not sure. But if board games continue to grow in popularity, then the competitive board gaming sphere may become as big as watching your favorite sports on TV.
Board Games During the Pandemic
I am not sure about you, but the team here at Game Night Gods played more board games than ever before in 2020. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us indoors and finding things to keep us occupied.
While quarantined, we were able to spend more time with each other and play a whole bunch of board games. We even expanded to playing board games online with friends, as we could not get together in person.
Check out this article from npr discussing the sales of Catan skyrocketing during coronavirus. As the Pandemic begins to slow down a bit, we may see sales of board games decrease, but this does not mean people are not playing them anymore!
Is the Board Game Industry Skyrocketing?
As you can see from everything we discussed, board games are still popular and we feel as though the board game industry is huge and will continue to grow tremendously over the next few years.
We are no fortune tellers, but from the community we are surrounded with and from what we see with our own eyes, board games are not going away anytime soon and we cannot wait to see where the industry goes!
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