With Thanksgiving firmly in the rear-view mirror, we find ourselves well into the holiday season with Christmas just days away. It’s a time when many Marylanders will be enjoying a well-earned rest after a year of toil and grind.
In 2020, more than ever, Marylanders are expected to turn to video games as one of their primary sources of entertainment, continuing a trend that’s been growing across the state, the country, and the world for several years.
In the 1980s and 1990s, it was Sega vs Nintendo, then it became Sony vs Nintendo, but since the 2000s the console wars have been a fight between Sony and Microsoft as each releases new versions of their PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
2020 sees the start of a new battle in this two-decades-long war for dominance in the video game console market, with the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series range.
All across Maryland, shoppers have descended in droves on department stores, supermarkets, and electronics retailers hoping to get their hands on one. Despite a subdued Black Friday, shoppers in Baltimore and elsewhere in the state still tried to find where stock still existed.
With these new machines at the top of many Christmas lists this year, console gaming is expected to boom in Maryland this December.
Card and Casino Games
It’s not just console gaming that’s going to be in demand. Card games like poker, blackjack, and baccarat have been popular holiday traditions in many households for decades. This year will be no different since the games are easy to learn and only require a deck of cards.
For Marylanders wanting to go a step further and play these games or other casino favorites like roulette and slots, it will still require a physical trip to a casino.
Unlike in other states like Colorado and New Jersey, Maryland doesn’t currently permit online wagering, though this may change in the coming months. Marylanders heading out of state for the holidays could take advantage though, since it would be possible to play in one of the 20+ online casino sites in NJ while staying with friends in The Garden State.
Across the country, the online casino industry has enjoyed a huge boom in 2020 thanks to more states legalizing online gambling. And as we get further into the holiday season, online casino operators are expecting to have a bumper December.
In the first part of 2020, demand for casual games was up by 30%, twice the rate of increase compared to the industry as a whole. This is partly due to their broad appeal, with women and those over 40 more likely to play casual games than any other type.
In Maryland, where the population is 51.52% female and almost 50% of people are 40 or over, this means casual games cater to the majority of the population.
Being available to play on smartphones and tablets, devices that almost everyone owns, casual games are also more accessible than any other type of game. It also means they can be played in front of the TV, making them a great way to be physically present with loved ones, even when you don’t want to watch the Christmas movie they’ve put on.
They’re also typically easy to learn and understand and can be enjoyed for short periods. For example, Flappy Bird, Fruit Ninja, and Temple Run are played in rounds, each lasting just a few minutes at a time.
After rising at the start of the year, demand for casual games has not dwindled. This is a long-standing trend seen right around the world for much of the last 10 years. And with Christmas being a time where people play more games than at any other time of year, the industry is preparing for record numbers.
Overall, regardless of the games they choose, Marylanders will play more of them this December than they ever have done.