Before the heroics of Super Mario and Lara Croft captured our imaginations, video games were primarily used on an academic basis.
In the 1950s, scientists built the first video games as instructional tools or to demonstrate the capabilities of new technologies. Academics tested out rudimentary forms of artificial intelligence on games like tic-tac-toe or chess, while showcasing their findings to the public at events like the Canadian National Exhibition or the Festival of Britain. It wasn’t until the incorporation of newly-invented technologies like transistors or random access memory (RAM) that the cost and size of these computers went down.
By the 1970s, video games were ready for prime time commercialization. The first arcades were opened, compelling games started to hit the market, and tactile features like joysticks made them accessible even to the most basic user.
The rest is history – and the total market for gaming is now worth close to $100 billion today.
The Evolution of the Video Games Market
The following infographic comes to us from GAMR, the world’s first video game technology ETF.
It details the history and evolution of the video games market, the emergence of mobile, and the fast-growing Asian sector.
Today, there are over two billion gamers worldwide – and they all play across a wide variety of genres and platforms.
Despite stereotypes, gamers come from all walks of life. About 59% of gamers are males, and 41% are females – and the average age of a gamer is 38 years old.
The Future of the Video Games Market
While the mobile market is all the rage today for publishers, the future of gaming is likely to be driven largely by augmented and virtual reality.
International Data Corporation, for example, estimates that worldwide revenues for the total augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 181.3% over the 2015-2020 forecast period. Gaming hardware and content would make up a significant portion of this projection, but other types of content such as movies, entertainment, and advertising will also capitalize on the emergence of AR/VR.
For now, VR/AR headsets are currently only accessible to high-end users, and there is also a limited supply of content for users to enjoy. Only time will tell if the technology will mature enough to meet the public’s expectations.
Land of Waste: American Landfills by State
The U.S. is the world’s most wasteful country. In this graphic by Northstar Clean Technologies, we map tons of waste in landfills per person, by state.
Land of Waste: American Landfills by State
Each American produces a whopping 1,700 pounds of waste every year, making the United States the world’s most wasteful country.
Approximately half of the country’s yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the nation.
States With Highest Tons of Waste Per Person
Upper Midwestern and eastern industrial states rank highly on the trash-per-capita list, with Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio taking the top five spots.
The availability of cheap landfill space in Michigan attracts trucked-in garbage from out of state and even from Canada. That’s because, under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, waste is considered a commodity, and states and counties cannot restrict its import or export from other states or even other countries.
The state also faces challenges with recycling. Michigan’s statewide recycling rate is around 18%, while the national recycling rate is 32%.
|State||Tons of Waste in Landfills per Person|
Some states are accumulating new landfill waste faster than others. Indiana leads the nation with an annual “landfill waste acceptance rate” of 2.35 tons per year per resident.
States with Fewest Tons of Waste Per Person
More sparsely populated states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Maine, Vermont, and North and South Dakota, all rank among the states with the least landfill trash per resident.
Largely because it accepts considerably less trash by volume than most other states, Connecticut hosts the least buried trash per person, with only 8.7 tons per resident.
|State||Tons of Waste in Landfills per Person|
Food waste, plastics, and paper products make up more than half the garbage in U.S. landfills but other products like glass and metals, for example, can have a significant impact on the environment.
A Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity
One of the major sources of waste is the construction industry. Every year, around 12 million tons of used asphalt shingles are dumped into landfills across North America.
However, this material can be repurposed to create new materials like fiber, liquid asphalt, and construction aggregate, generating revenue while fighting climate change. In neighbor Canada, for example, recovering and reprocessing shingles is already a $1.3 billion market.
In this context, repurposing waste has not only become essential to minimizing waste, but also to creating new business opportunities going forward.
Northstar Clean Technologies’ mission is to be the leader in the recovery and reprocessing of asphalt shingles in North America.
BlackRock MyMap: Designed for First-Time Investors
First-time investors are faced with an overwhelming amount of information and choices. See how BlackRock is simplifying the process.
Whether you’re sending your kids to university or preparing for retirement, meeting future financial needs can be a mighty challenge.
This is due to the many economic issues that eat away at your savings. Inflation, for example, is increasing the cost of gas, groceries, and other daily necessities. The COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand, has thrown a wrench into many people’s personal finances.
Starting Your Investment Journey
This infographic from BlackRock introduces their MyMap range of multi-asset investment funds, and describes the benefits to first-time investors.
Today’s Savings Struggles
The above infographic highlighted three savings struggles that make it difficult to meet your future financial goals.
The first is inflation, which refers to the increase in prices of goods and services over time. To understand how inflation can erode the value of your savings, consider this example:
- £100 worth of goods in 2000 would cost £179 in 2021
- £100 worth of goods in 1980 would cost £456 in 2021
In other words, inflation reduces the purchasing power of your savings over time.
The second savings struggle is increasing longevity, also known as longer life expectancies. Living a longer life is generally a good thing, but it does increase the risk of outliving your savings. Coming up with a solid retirement plan is becoming more important than ever.
A third struggle is the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be having a long-term impact on UK households. In a December 2021 survey, UK families were asked to rate their financial situation following the pandemic. Of the 5,770 respondents, only 38% said they were “financially secure”.
How MyMap Can Help First-Time Investors
Investing has the potential to generate inflation-beating returns. This not only protects your wealth from erosion, but may help it grow over time.
Unfortunately, just 33% of Brits are currently investing in the stock market. To improve this ratio, BlackRock developed the MyMap range of investment funds, which are designed to be approachable for first-time investors. This means that simplicity is a top priority.
As shown below, each MyMap fund is diversified across several types of assets. Or to put it another way, diversification means spreading your savings across different types of investments, to mitigate the risk of any particular one performing poorly. In this case, diversification is achieved through a single product.
|Fund||Allocation to Equities (%)||Allocation to Bonds (%)||Allocation to Alternatives (%)|
|MyMap 3 Select ESG||26%||74%||0%|
|MyMap 4 Select Income||33%||67%||0%|
|MyMap 5 Select ESG||64%||36%||0%|
|MyMap 7 Select ESG||100%||0%||0%|
MyMap funds also vary by the amount of risk they take, with a lower number signifying less risk. This is why MyMap 3 is heavily weighted towards bonds, which are relatively safer than equities. MyMap 6 takes the opposite approach by investing heavily in equities, which offer greater return potential at the cost of higher risk.
Generally speaking, MyMap 3 is suitable for shorter-term goals (like buying a new car), while MyMap 6 is suitable for longer-term goals (like retirement).
Putting Your Money to Work
For over 30 years, BlackRock’s mission has been to help people build better financial futures. The MyMap range embodies this by giving new investors a simple, one-stop solution for whatever their goals may be.
Sustainable options are available as well, through the MyMap Select ESG funds (3, 5, and 7). These are tailored to investors who are interested in aligning personal values with financial goals.
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