The video gaming industry has boomed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. With stay-at-home advisories and lockdown directives in many countries, video games and eSports have truly become a mainstream entertainment option among all age groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that video games are not only played for entertainment or escapism and many players use games to connect with friends remotely and to socialize online.
A seemingly never-ending selection from casual games to indie releases to AAA blockbuster releases translates to a billion-dollar global market. Players can have their pick from a variety of gaming systems, with PCs and consoles like the Sony PlayStation, the Nintendo Switch or Microsoft’s Xbox being popular choices. However, despite the prominence of console gaming, it is mobile games that account for the biggest share of the gaming market.
Industry estimates value the global video gaming market at 174.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, representing a 19.6 percent YoY growth. China and the United States are the biggest games markets, accounting for nearly half of the global gaming revenues. The majority of gaming revenues are generated through digital sales and downloads, with physical unit sales declining.
With the almost universal adoption of smartphones and mobile internet worldwide, it is hardly a surprise that this accessible technology has opened gaming for a wider range of audiences. Global mobile gaming revenues nearly reached 74 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, with the F2P (free-to-play) PC games coming in second with 22.7 billion U.S. dollars. One of the most popular mobile games of 2020 was PUBG Mobile, which grossed 2.6 billion U.S. dollars worldwide throughout the year.
The fast growth of mobile gaming led to producers and publishers in the mobile segment quickly gaining relevance and now rivaling companies that rose to prominence during the console and PC gaming era. The biggest publishers by market cap are Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts. Several major gaming companies are segments of larger, more diversified companies like Microsoft, Sony, or Tencent. Most of the biggest gaming publishers are headquartered either in North America or Asia.
eSports, organized multiplayer video game competitions between professional players either as individuals or teams, has become a central aspect of online gaming culture. The rise of professional gamers and live streaming of eSports events saw a large surge in popularity, resulting in the formation of tournaments and leagues. The highest earning eSports player worldwide is Johan Sundstein aka N0tail, with 7.18 million U.S. dollars in cumulative career earnings.
Video gaming audiences are highly engaged and are keen to connect with gaming content on various platforms. Gaming-related videos such as live streams, commentary or Let’s Play (playthrough videos) and walkthroughs are among the most popular types of video content online. On YouTube, gaming accounts for about a third of video content uploads and seven percent of video views. In the second half of 2020, live streaming platform Twitch had an average of over two million viewers at any given time.
Statista offers comprehensive data on the video games and gaming industry. In this section, users will find up-to-date information regarding the market size, value, and revenue of the global gaming industry, as well as consumer spending data and other relevant insights into gaming behavior, consumption, and demographics.
The platform contains industry data and financial reports for the leading players in the gaming business. Revenue figures, unit sales, and market shares for various gaming companies are available alongside rankings of the best-selling console, PC, and mobile games worldwide. Statistics on popular gaming platforms, mobile apps, eSports games, and other gaming-related trends and technologies are also provided.