Console gaming is one of the oldest and most popular forms of gaming worldwide. Ever since the first home video game systems were released in the 1970s, millions of players have transformed their living rooms into personal arcades and delved into the animated worlds of Zelda, Super Mario, and the like. While technology has visibly advanced since the early days of console gaming and more players now favor smartphones and PCs over traditional devices, revenues of the global video game consoles market keep rising every year.
Console gaming audiences and gaming behavior
When comparing global gaming markets, Great Britain, Mexico, and Germany countries and regions with the highest console gaming penetration rates worldwide. Taking a closer look at console gaming demographics in the United States, a recent survey showed that over 60 percent of gamers are aged between 20 to 39 years, whereas consoles are less popular with teens. Another ongoing trend in the world of console gaming is the use of subscription services. Newer generation consoles are no longer just analog devices but rather a gateway to unlimited online gaming content. Services like PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online and Xbox Game Pass are an essential part of console gaming for many users.
Ringing in a new round of console wars
The global home console market is dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. In 2023 to date, the PlayStation 5 held the lead in terms of game console unit sales worldwide, Call of Duty or EA Sports FC driving global demand. Despite the immense success of the Nintendo Switch console, Nintendo increasingly takes a backseat to Sony and Microsoft. The two manufacturers released their newest generation of gaming consoles in November 2020, and although historically PlayStation consoles have outsold Xbox devices, supply chain challenges for the PS5, the increasing success of the Xbox Game Pass, and several strategic acquisitions have given Microsoft an edge in the market right now.
What are the best-selling console games worldwide?
As of March 2022, Wii Sports remains the best-selling console game of all time at over 82 million shipments. Other noteworthy titles in the running for the world’s number one console game include Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart Wii, and other releases from Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario franchise. Looking at more recent releases, sports games like EA's FIFA series or Activision's first person shooter series Call of Duty are also high in demand. The second-most recent edition of the long-running FPS series, Call of Duty Modern Warfare II, also placed among the most popular games on the PlayStation 5 in the United States.
Platform-exclusive titles used to be one of the key factors for gamers when deciding which console to purchase, but times have been changing: a number of PlayStation exclusive hits such as Horizon: Zero Dawn or God of War have received PC ports, and beloved PlayStation flagship series like Final Fantasy or Persona are also getting re-releases for Xbox and Nintendo Switch consoles. As a counter to the "everything becomes available everywhere, eventually" flow of recent years, Microsoft's January 2022 move to purchase gaming company Activision Blizzard for 68.7 billion U.S. dollars has definitely shook things up a bit. The purchase was finalized in October 2023, with Microsoft having to make several concessions regarding the long-term availability of ATVI titles on other platforms.
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