Video game industry in the United States - Statistics & Facts

The video game industry in the United States is one of the biggest worldwide, spanning businesses of various sizes from single-person indie developers to publicly listed, multinational companies that employ thousands of people. In 2021, the revenue of the video games industry in the United States amounted to an all-time high of 85.86 billion U.S. dollars, representing an 11.9 percent growth from the previous year. The principal sectors of the video game industry are game development and publishing, interactive platforms and media, hardware, distribution, retail (digital and physical), as well as arcades and video gaming establishments.

Gaming software development & publishing in the United States

The creation of video games is done by video game developers – in 2021, U.S. the video game software development industry was estimated to be worth 2 billion U.S. dollars. Video game software publishers are responsible for publishing and distributing video games, providing the link between video game developers and commercial distribution companies. In the United States, the market size of the video game software publishing industry has been increasing over the last decade, reaching over 40.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

Video game businesses and employment

The video game industry accounts over 143 thousand employees across various gaming-related sectors the United States. Of these figures, 1,518 establishments were game developers employing approximately 40,676 employees. As of 2021, there were an estimated 18.5 thousand video game software development businesses as well as 1,530 video game publishers in the United States. The biggest gaming companies generate huge amounts of direct and indirect employment, with Electronic Arts being the biggest U.S.-based game developer based on total workforce (however, most EA employees work in locations outside the United States).

Economic impact of the gaming industry

With this number of businesses and the ever-increasing industry output, it is hardly surprising that the video game industry in the United States has a significant economic impact. In 2019, the overall video game industry accounted for a total of over 35 billion U.S. dollars of labor income in the United States. That year, California was ranked first among the U.S. states with highest direct in-state video games industry output, ahead of Washington and Texas.

Major U.S. gaming companies

Many triple-A gaming companies are headquartered California: Electronic Arts (EA), Activision Blizzard (ABK), Insomniac Games, Santa Monica Studio, Riot Games, and Roblox Corporation, to name a few. Several of these brands are publicly listed and rank among the biggest gaming companies worldwide, with Roblox being the latest success story after going public in March 2021 and quickly surpassing many of its peers in terms of market capitalization.

As the industry is always evolving, gaming companies are constantly vying for talent and new technologies. A straightforward way of obtaining these are mergers and acquisitions, which are often worth billions and create a lot of buzz. Electronic Arts’ purchase of Glu Mobile (up until then a public company in its own right) for 2.1 billion U.S. dollars was one of the biggest news in 2021 but it still pales compared to the biggest video game industry acquisition of all time: the purchase of Supercell by Tencent in June 2016 for 8.6 million U.S. dollars.

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