Last year was completely atypical from pretty much every point of view. Its effects were felt especially strongly by the entertainment industry – with different branches of this vast and diverse business all feeling different effects. The shuttering of casinos around the world has turned 2020 into one of the best years ever for the online casino industry. Millions of people around the world have discovered how convenient and accessible online casinos are, how diverse their game variety is, and how much fun it is to play all your favourite games even if you’re stuck at home. The shuttering of movie theatres has driven millions toward streaming services that had one of their best years ever. We’ve seen more originals launched by Netflix, Amazon and their likes than ever before, and they got the attention they usually wouldn’t’ve because of the high-profile blockbusters launching in movie theatres. And gaming had one of its best years so far thanks to the millions of hours those stuck at home dedicated to their favourite video games that they didn’t have the time to finish in the years before. As a result, the gaming industry has also seen one of its best years in 2020. This is probably why, for the first time in years, Newzoo’s forecast for the global gaming industry’s value predicts a decrease.
No match for 2020
The total value of the global gaming industry is expected to decrease by 1.1% across the board in 2021, reaching a total value of $175.8 billion this year. The decrease expected on the European and North American market will be partially offset by the growth in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin American markets, all of them showing sustained growth compared to 2020.
As you see, the Asia-Pacific market is by far the biggest in the world, responsible for half of all the global gaming industry’s revenues this year. China is the primary driver of this region, with a contribution of more than half of the $88.2 billion total. The Asia-Pacific region is also the one with the biggest number of players – more than half of the world’s gamers live there, almost eight times more than in North America or Europe.
Mobile for the win
For years, mobile gaming has been responsible for the lion’s share of the gaming industry’s revenues – and it is expected to continue to do so in 2021. According to Newzoo’s estimates, smartphone games will generate $79 billion in revenues, and together with tablet games ($11.6 billion), they’ll be responsible for 52% of all the industry’s income this year.
Console and smartphone games will, in turn, see their revenues decrease – boxed and digital PC games revenues will decrease by 1.4%, while console games, by 8.9%, Newzoo predicts. The reasons are the delays in the consoles’ deliveries due to the global semiconductor shortage, and the delays in some high-profile game releases due to the pandemic.
The growth of these two segments is expected to resume next year – hopefully, if all goes well – so the gaming industry’s revenues will surpass $200 billion by 2024.