The say in the North East life revolves around football. In Newcastle St James’ Park stands front and centre in the city. But is it actually the city’s favourite pastime?

New data has found that the gaming industry is worth half of the entire UK entertainment market, which will certainly give the beautiful game a run for its money.

The likes of FIFA and games such as Call of Duty has seen a huge shift towards the digital world when it comes to hobbies, with online gambling also playing a major role in that.

Online casino and betting is worth around £5billion in the UK and is only set to increase as betting companies continue to expand their offerings. Platforms like BetterPlay now have hundreds of options available on their site, and it’s drawing people away from more traditional hobbies.

It’s noticeable through social media that betting is now a huge part of sport in the UK, with a large amount of sentiment shifting from actually watching games to betting on them.

The same can be said for playing FIFA and other games like Red Dead Redemption. In fact the two are large contributors to the video gaming industry making up a large proportion of its £3.86billion value.

That figure is more than both video and music sales combined, which make up £3.66billion, the latter of which £1.33billion.

The market has gone from strength to strength with huge global conferences and events that far exceed sporting events, such as the recent Fornite World Cup which saw $30million up for grabs – that’s more than Newcastle United earned from TV income last season!

Fortnite in particular has taken gaming as a pastime to another level. Attracting millions of people of a younger generation, it’s become a phenomenon in its own right and is one of the contributing factors in gaming being one of the nation’s favourite pastimes.

It’s this and eSports which continues to place gaming as a firm favourite. eSports personality Paul Chaloner said, “I am more excited now than I have ever been about UK esports. I think five years ago, it was very depressing, we had a lot of work to do and a lot of very talented hard-working passionate people put a lot of effort into helping UK gaming and UK esports grow over the last five years.”

New technology will continue that and make the market even bigger, but as technology does advance, certain trends do fall by the wayside.

Online casino and betting have always kept up with that, and the likes of football and other sports have generations upon generations of interest behind it, well and truly standing the test of time.

eSports and games such as Fortnite have yet to do so. If they’re going to remain as a popular national pastime then the companies behind them are going to need to keep people interested as they age.

Video gaming has largely managed to do that, but a more social type of gaming has yet to be really multi-generational.

Time will tell and while we’re never going to see dwindling numbers in the Gallowgate end, people are seemingly just as gaming mad as they are football mad across the UK these days!