RALEIGH – Raleigh and the Triangle have been a hub for videogame developers and players for years. Now, a new report shows just how popular gaming is around this region.
Raleigh placed at number 9 on WalletHub’s Best Cities for Gamers ranking just released.
Durham ranked number 1 for lowest Internet cost, one of the criteria used to evaluate the gaming environment in cities nationally, but placed 28th overall. Charlotte was 36th and Greensboro 80th.
Gaming, WalletHub points out, is a $100 billion-plus industry with estimates of hardware and software revenue of $149 billion, which puts it on a par with the sports industry. A 2017 Pew Research poll reported that 60 percent of Americans aged 18-29 play video games often or sometimes, as do 53 percent of Americans aged 30 to 49.
Progaming, or esports is also growing. The Overwatch League operated by Blizzard Entertainment has a $1 million prize pool and a minimun $50,000 salary for each player.
To determine the best places to be a serious gamer, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 20 key indicators of gamer-friendliness. The data ranges from average internet speed to video-game stores per capita to the number of esports tournaments.
The Triangle area, including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, has been a gaming hub for decades. It is home to Cary-based Epic Games, which makes Fortnite, currently the world’s hottest title, as well as Red Storm Entertainment and other gaming companies. Raleigh also hosts the annual East Coast Game Conference.
Raleigh landed at number 5 for gaming environment and highest number of households owning a computer, 15 for Internet quality and coverage, and 31 for gamer and developer opportunities.
In other metrics evaluated, it ranked:
- 34th – Avg. Internet Speed
- 50th – Video-Game Job Openings per Capita
- 36th – Internet Cost
- 19th – Video-Game Stores per Capita
- 21st – Arcades per Capita
- 17th – Number of Esports Tournaments
The top ten cities were:
- Seattle, WA
- Orlando, FL
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin TX
- New York, NY
- Irvine, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Raleigh, NC
- Fremont, CA
For more on Triangle gaming see: