The worldwide video gaming revenue is expected to jump 20% this year to a record $174.9 billion, the gaming analysis firm Newzoo said Wednesday.
The new projection, based on the pandemic-boosted Q3 earnings results of gaming giants like Activision and Sony, reflects increased sales for both physical and digital games across mobile, PC and consoles as more people have been living under quarantine and shelter-at-home conditions this year.
“This number is $15.6 billion higher than our previous forecast, which we made early on in the pandemic,” Newzoo games market lead analyst Tom Wijman wrote. “Armed with companies’ financial results for (the first half of) 2020, we can now see the impact of increased engagement on game spending more clearly.”
The burst of spending on gaming comes as other forms of entertainment — particularly movies — have seen dramatic drops in 2020 due to the pandemic. (Last year, the Motion Picture Association of America reported a record $101 billion in global revenue from the theatrical and home/mobile entertainment market.)
The majority of game revenue comes from the U.S. and China, which represent roughly half the world’s gaming spending. Console gaming experienced the sharpest spike in revenue increases, with 21% annual growth — that’s double what Newzoo originally predicted at the beginning of this year.
Mobile gaming continue to be the most lucrative segment in games, raking in $86.3 billion so far this year. “Mobile’s low barrier to entry — as well as the widespread availability of smartphones — make it an ideal place to start gaming for newer players across all regions,” Wijman wrote.
Console ranked a close second, with $51.2 billion — but that number can be expected to increase as soon as this month once next-generation consoles from Sony (the PS5) and Microsoft (Xbox Series X and S) become widely available.
PC gaming was the slowest-growing category of the three, increasing from $36.9 billion last year to $37.4 billion so far in 2020, Newzoo found.
Newzoo said it expects the global gaming market to grow to a record $217.9 billion by 2023, but noted that it will likely revise that count again. “Exactly how sustainable this growth is remains to be seen and is dependent on many factors” Wijman wrote, noting game releases, next-generation console adoption and the ongoing pandemic all will shape the outcome.