Last week, our customers got access to our latest estimates and forecasts for the gaming market, including our new figures for 2022. In this article, we will present some general data and conclusions from the updated report on the global video game market.
As the world begins to reopen, the gaming market has proven resilient. Revenue will continue to rise in 2022 to reach $203.1 billion in consumer spending (+5.4% year on year), setting a new record.
This year will also see a breakthrough in the number of players from all over the world: by the end of the year, the number of players will surpass the three billion mark and reach 3.09 billion players.
Note. Based on our in-depth analysis of the financial performance of over 140 publicly traded gaming companies (calendar year 2021), we now estimate that the gaming market earned $192.7 billion in 2021, up 7.6% from last year.
Gaming Revenue by Region: US No. 1 Again
Before we dive into our mobile, PC and console gaming market forecast for 2022, we would like to highlight a few notable regional developments.
In terms of gaming revenue through consumer spending, the U.S. ($50.5 billion) will bring in more than China ($50.2 billion) in 2022.
This excess makes sense as the Chinese government has cracked down on gambling in China, limiting the release of new games and gaming time for young people in the country. The market is starting to show the impact of this regulatory pressure.
However, Asia-Pacific remains the largest region by revenue by a huge margin:
As you can see, only developing regions are showing double-digit growth. However, the more mature regions of Europe and North America are also showing strong growth, driven by PC performance in the first market and consoles in the second.
Mobile will continue to generate more revenue than these two segments combined in 2022.
Mobile gaming revenue will also grow significantly
Mobile gaming annual revenue will cross the $100 billion mark for the first time in 2022, up 5.1% year-on-year to $103.5 billion.
While mobile will continue to show growth, its year-on-year growth is significantly lower than growth rates in 2020 and 2021 as 2022 cannot sustain the pandemic-driven growth of previous years. This means that the mobile market share will fall by one percentage point this year (from 52% in 2021 to 51%).
To this end, the most mature mobile markets will show only minimal annual growth in 2022: for example, +2.8% in China and +1.1% in Japan. These mature markets rely on new game releases and improved monetization strategies to increase their revenues as player growth is minimal.
Releases in China are limited due to government regulations. And while new releases like Apex Legends Mobile (especially in Japan) and Diablo Immortal will boost revenue worldwide, user acquisition will remain a major challenge.
Asia-Pacific remains the largest gaming region by absolute revenue (by a significant margin), but China, Japan and Korea are showing low single-digit growth year-on-year. So where does the rise of mobile devices come from?
Emerging markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia will be the main contributors to mobile growth in 2022 through:
- increased access to games and devices (smartphones)
- improvement of infrastructure and mobile Internet
- more flexible and affordable payment methods.
The console will be the main growth driver for the video game market in 2022
From the rise of mobile devices to the dawn of cloud gaming, experts and analysts have long predicted. console death “As it stands, the console is still very much alive and vibrant, as we’ve always said.
Despite continued supply chain constraints, console games will generate $56.9 billion in 2022, up 8.4% year-over-year. This growth will be driven by:
- Huge launches from developers like Horizon Forbidden West, Pokémon Legends Arceus, Gran Turismo, God of War Ragnarok and Starfield for Xbox, plus the rest of the upcoming H2 lineup.
- Premium releases from third-party publishers such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (perhaps the most anticipated Call of Duty game in recent years), Elden Ring, and annual sports game releases.
- Growing console performance and excitement around live games like Fortnite, GTA Online and Call of Duty Warzone.
- The growth in the installed base of next generation consoles will lead to higher consumer spending on software (consumers want games to ship with their new console).
- An overhaul of Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription strategy, which offers new levels of subscriptions and cloud gaming, replacing the struggling PlayStation Now service.
PCs will also show growth, but less than consoles and mobile
PC gaming revenue will grow slightly slower than console revenue, but still show a 1.9% increase to $41.0 billion in 2022.
Like the console, gaming revenue growth”live“(game as a service), new games like Elden Ring and Modern Warfare 2 will drive more growth.
However, PC growth is still lower than console growth as PC has:
- Fewer high-end exclusives (games like Horizon Forbidden West and Pokémon Arceus Legends generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that PCs can’t).
- No ecosystem-dominating subscription like PlayStation Plus, Xbox Game Pass, or Nintendo Switch Online (PC has Game Pass, but it’s not as strongly tied to the ecosystem).
- Less software bundled with new hardware, though some consumers will buy new games to test out their new GPUs and other components, but not to the same extent as buying a new console.
As in previous years, the number of browser games will decline as more gamers move their gaming time and spending to mobile devices, and developers also prioritize development for mobile screens.
While some mobile developers are offering browser versions to make their games more accessible to their most loyal fans, this is not enough to offset the migration of gamers from the browser to mobile devices.
Meanwhile, downloaded and boxed PC game revenue is set to grow 3.2% year-on-year to $38.7 billion, driven primarily by larger Western markets and emerging markets in other regions.
We attribute much of Europe’s gaming market growth (+6.3%) to its above-average PC market; however, the region’s growth potential has been somewhat limited by the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.
Please note that the Chinese PC market will decline slightly compared to last year, and this decline will accelerate around 2024 and is a direct result of the government’s repressive video game policies. This brings us to the future prospects of the gaming market.
What awaits the income of the global gaming market in the future?
The games market will continue to grow in the coming years, reaching $222.6 billion in 2024. by +5.6% (from 2020 to 2024):
A brighter future on mobile, PC and consoles.
On the mobile front, talented studios will continue to adapt to new privacy standards, strengthening the market by:
- Live services and hybrid monetization innovations (classic and casual games)
- Companies that originally ran on consoles and PC are moving their franchises to mobile devices to support their growth and revenue streams, including Apex Legends Mobile and Diablo Immortal this year.
- Mobile games are becoming more complex and exciting, attracting traditional players and increasing revenue.
For PC and consoles, the development of subscription services along with full-fledged versions will provide gamers with more ways to play and consume. Of course the titlesgame as a serviceas Call of Duty Warzone 2 delayed until 2023 will help keep players interested.
Simply put, the market is huge and innovative, and it can only grow and innovate even more.
We are very happy to observe, analyze and predict these developments together with our subscribers of the Global Games Market Report.
Do you need our numbers, our developments and our ideas before anyone else? Ask us! We will be glad to help you.