Is this why Sony and Microsoft might not care so much about offline gamers

Sure, Sony has mumbled about too many regions where there’s no internet connections, so it won’t require always online for the PS4, whereas Microsoft has come right out with it that the Xbox One will require an Internet connection for it to function properly. But why this sudden change of stance over the last five years or so, bar the obvious battle against piracy and the shift towards digital content. Obviously someone has looked long and hard at the numbers, and quite frankly we now live in a well connected planet unless you live in the Australian outback somewhere or the top of Mount Everest. Jokes aside, one look at Internet data paints a picture why it’s not such a bad move to ignore those without Internet access.

ps4 online

Sony is a Japanese company, and looking in its home region, the US and Europe (the gaming world’s most affluent markets) and the numbers don’t lie. In the year 2012 up to June 30th, in Japan a massive 79.5% of the population had access to the Internet – that’s a staggering 101 million users. In the USA, Microsoft’s home turf the numbers are similar with 78.1% of the population having Internet access – that’s an incredible 245 million users. If we mop up the figures in the European territories then places like the UK have 83.6% of the population with Internet – 52 million users one of the highest percentages in the world. Germany also has an extremely high rate with 83% which equates to some 67 million users. However, on the other end of the spectrum, China has the highest number of Internet users in the world at the time of June 30th 2012, with only 40% of its population connected, yet with such a high density of people thus equates to a massive 538 million people. Perhaps Microsoft and Sony are chasing the wrong markets here as the growth potential over the next 10 years is massive.


What’s also interesting to note is the growth of Internet users. Sadly, we’re only looking at data from 2000 for comparison which suggests that in the USA there were 95 million internet users. That’s no small number at all, but as already mentioned, last year that figure rests at 245 million and no doubt growing but with little headroom as the majority of the population is already connected. The figures don’t lie and what’s probably reason enough to drop non connected households is the fact that in the biggest gaming countries, there are more people with Internet connections than those without.

So, ignoring those markets with low Internet connections per population might have other implications if these regions growth changes drastically. One perfect example of this are countries like India and Brazil, where the latter had just 5 million users in 2000. Twelve years later and that number is 88 million.

In closing and perhaps to put things in perspective a little – only about one third of the world’s population has the Internet.


Source: Internetworldstats. Stats are estimated numbers.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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  1. Massacred May 27, 2013 |

    Here is the thing. I love the internet I think its great! I love everything about it and will continue using it as long as I exist. However, I can hardly say I think it should be mandatory to use… Especially for a game console, people talking about always connected, yes you are right our devises are connected, but there is one key aspect they missed. You can turn off the internet/3g and all the applications work. Why is it I can flick on switch on my phone to turn it on air-plain mode and continue to play temple run but I can’t with my console. MS has no idea what the circumstances will be. Maybe I’m bringing my console to my cabin for a week and we want to chill and play skyrim. Maybe I’m in the military and I’m bringing it over seas when I have nothing to do. Maybe I’m bringing it to Grandmas house who never even got an internet connection. What if I’m going on a cruise or staying in a hotel room? What if I want to set up my console in my friends basement or attic where wifi doesn’t really reach well? What about in college and high school where kids swap games and consoles. Set them up in cafetieres and recreation rooms to have competitions and just generally are moving them around? I guess they better have an internet connection and a place to put Kinect. . .what about them?

    Well then apparently I am unable to use it. You see that was one of the great things about the every console apparently expect for this one; there was flexibility in where and when you could use it without any sort of restrictions. But now apparently thats not really an option.

    And you know as a consumer I get it, they are trying to turn into a cable/entertainment box. But just looking at the statics an estimated one out of three x360 owners are not connected.

    Why would MS want to give up on 27 million customers?

    I love the internet, but I also love the OPTION to use it or not should I so choose.

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