At current rates, consumers will be spending $180 billion on gaming annually by 2021. For the past five years, total revenues from video games have been dwarfing those of the film and music industries combined. We take a look at some of the movers and shakers, the trends and disruptors, and some of the jaw-dropping online gaming stats of 2019 so far.
What are we playing on?
Up until 2012, PCs and consoles dominated the gaming market, with mobile devices struggling to make any impact at all. Since then, however, as smartphone adoption has grown the world over, things have shifted radically. First, the arrival of millions of devices in Japan, North America and Europe, and the entirely unexpected popularity of free-to-play games, suddenly made mobile games a big contender.
By 2018, mobile and tablet gaming had reached a major milestone – generating more revenue than all other types of gaming put together. And now with millions of south East Asia residents becoming the owners of smartphones for the first time, mobile gaming is enjoying another huge boom.
This is not to say that PC and console gaming isn’t also growing (albeit at a slower rate) with massively popular new titles like Fortnite and Overwatch, and established franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield enjoying a major revival. The rising popularity of eSports, and booming Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch sales, mean PC and console gaming remain a big part of the online gaming world in 2019.
How much are we playing?
In the US, 67% of the population play video games on at least one device, with about 50% of those playing on multiple platforms. On average, they spend 12 hours a week, or 16% of their total available leisure time, playing games. Across the globe, the number of total hours spent on games continues to grow by roughly 10% each year – especially as a broader range of ages and demographics enter the market. The success of ‘hyper-casual’ games, which lend themselves well to shorter sessions of play, has also opened the door for people who wouldn’t normally devote much time to gaming.
The Fortnite effect
Aside from its runaway success, especially among younger players, Fortnite has been a major game-changer in several notable ways. Typically, only 5% of players actually end up making purchases in a free to play game – but a survey by LendEDU found that almost 69% of Fortnite players have done just that.
For 37% of those spenders, it was their first time doing so. With more than 200 million people playing Fortnite (most spending six to ten hours a week in the game) profits have been pretty sensational.
In April of 2018, Fortnite was the top-grossing gaming app in the US, bringing in a daily revenue just shy of $2 million. That spending is also more widely distributed across paying players, unlike the typical scenario where a very small handful of players spend the most money on the game. On a slightly darker note, many players find the game so compelling that 35% of students have actually skipped classes to indulge!
Some of the most interesting shifts are happening in the online casino environment – where growth has been steady despite an ongoing decline for their land-based counterparts. Improved security and technologies associated with mobile play, such as fingerprint and facial recognition, are making the market more appealing to the more wary consumer. Sites like vegascasino.io, which offer popular games in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, are also helping blur international borders and make casino games accessible to a broader player base.
With market intelligence firm Newzoo estimating that eSports revenues could reach $1.65 billion by 2021, and almost $3 billion by 2022, investors are flocking. And those profits are not coming just from the rapidly rising viewership associated with eSports, but with the coinciding marketing and advertising potential for brands in a world where ad-free streaming services are taking over traditional TV.
Aside from dedicated eSports fans, casual viewership is also on the rise thanks to increasing awareness and easier internet access. In 2018, 6.6 billion hours of eSports videos were watched worldwide – if you track that growth backward, this is an increase of about 1 billion hours a year.
Growth across the board
Whether you prefer to watch or participate, play on your phone, PC or via a dedicated console, one thing’s for sure – gaming is really big business in 2019, and the trend is only going up. Game on.