Bengaluru, NFAPost: With gen-next moving to digital games, the global video gaming industry will surpass $200 billion by the end of 2023, states Games and esports analytics firm Newzoo.

In a recent annual report, Newzoo states that 2020 global game industry revenue from consumers of $159.3 billion, a 9.3% increase year-over-yea and it will surpass $200 billion by the end of 2023.

Importantly, the data excludes in-game advertising revenue (which surged +59% during COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Unity) and the market of gaming digital assets traded between consumers. Advertising within games is a meaningful source of revenue for many mobile gaming companies. In-game ads in just the U.S. drove roughly $3 billion in industry revenue last year, according to eMarketer.

Highlights

  • The number of gamers worldwide is still on the rise and will exceed three billion by 2023.
  • The global games market will generate revenues of $159.3 billion in 2020, a +9.3% year-on-year increase.
  • Markets in the Asia-Pacific region will generate $78.4 billion in 2020, up +9.3% year on year, accounting for almost half of all global game revenues
  • In the free trends section, we explore how gaming is becoming the new social media, as well as how the next-generation consoles are bringing new business models.
  • In total, by the end of the year, there will be 2.7 billion gamers in the world. Compared to last year, their number will increase by 5.3%.
  • By December, the number of mobile players will reach 2.5 billion. 1.3 billion will play on PCs and 800 million on consoles.
  • More than half of the audience is from the Asia-Pacific region. This is 1.5 billion people. The region is followed by Europe with 386 million gamers, then North America with 210 million.

Growth markets are contributing more to this player increase (compared to more-mature markets). Growing online population due to improved (mobile) internet infrastructure, affordable (smart) phones, and a growing middle class are key drivers for player growth. In 2019, for example, the number of players in the Middle East and Africa outpaced the number in North America. In 2022, the Middle East and Africa will have surpassed even Europe’s player numbers.

However, Newzoo said that many players in these growth markets are entering gaming via mobile, whose free-to-play monetization model makes it notoriously difficult to convert players into payers. The global number of players is expected to grow 5.3% year on year in 2020, predominantly driven by the regions with the most emerging markets.

To compare with gaming, the global markets for other media and entertainment formats are:

Counting gamers

Of 7.8 billion people on the planet, 4.2 billion (53.6%) of whom have internet connectivity, 2.69 billion will play video games this year, and Newzoo predicts that number to reach three billion in 2023. It broke down the current geographic distribution of gamers as:

Revenues by segment

  • The largest segment is mobile games. They will have generated $77.2 billion by the end of the year (an increase of 13.3%).
  • The console segment will grow 6.8% to $45.2 billion.
  • The PC segment will grow to $33.9 billion, which is 6.7% more than last year’s revenue.
  • Revenues for browser games will drop 13.4% to $33.9 billion. Newzoo notes that more and more players are switching from browsers to smartphones.

Revenues by region

  • Asia will generate $78.4 billion accounting for 49% of the global market’s revenue this year.
  • North America is second with a projected revenue of $40 billion.
  • Spending by European players will reach $ 29.6 billion, making Europe with third biggest market by revenue.

The market for premium (paid) games on mobile is growing through subscription services like Apple Arcade, digital board games, and ports from other platforms — but that growth is marginalized by the growth of free-to-play games on mobile.

In fact, 98% of all mobile game revenues were generated through in-game transactions. Newzoo forecasts this to edge ever closer to 100% as the years progress. Nevertheless, paid games on mobile will always have a place.

Together, the subscription services on console will generate $5.8 billion in 2020, which accounts for 13% of the console market and 4% of the overall global games market. Subscription revenues depend heavily on the availability of certain services in specific markets, which causes a significant difference in revenue share per country. Services are usually available first in regions with the biggest spenders on console, which is why the share of subscription service revenues is highest in more-mature markets.

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