2020 was a dramatic year in a myriad of ways. Infectious diseases and global unrest took their tolls on a number of businesses large and small. Movie theaters were closed down, concerts were cancelled, and sporting events were attended by an audience of cardboard. People were told it was safer to stay at home to help flatten the curve. This meant using our butts to expand the curves in our seat cushions because now there was more time to play video games.
Compared to the year 2019, revenue for the global video game industry has risen 20% and is approaching $180 billion for 2020 according to the International Data Corporation. Midway through the year, market analysts predicted that the gaming market would generate just over $159 billion in revenue for 2020. This was a decent prediction considering there was concern for major projects to suspend development during quarantine. But there are a few reasons why the video game industry prevailed and shattered expectations.
The most obvious factor, as mentioned earlier, was the shutting down of other leisure industries. The film industry is expected to have lost $32 billion by the end of the year after hitting a record breaking $100 billion in 2019. The sports industry lost billions in revenue and had some of the worst TV ratings in history. Gaming continued to be an active leisure activity with millions simultaneously online and millions of active streamers on the internet.
The most recent example pertaining to the unprecedented growth in the gaming industry was the release of the next-generation consoles including the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S. According to Reuters, there were as many pre-orders for the PS5 sold nationally in the first 12 hours of launch as the number of pre-orders for the PS4 sold nationally in the first 12 weeks of launch.
It is estimated that over 3.3 million PS5 consoles have been sold. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S sold at least a million worldwide but Microsoft isn’t disclosing the actual sales numbers. Prior to the release of the two next-gen consoles, the Nintendo Switch was the most sold console for 24 months in a row. More than 68 million units of the Switch have been sold around the world.
Another major factor to the success of the video game industry is the continued rise in mobile gaming. The accessibility to mobile devices is increasing and more popular mobile titles are being released. Among Us has 217 mobile downloads, Call of Duty: Mobile surpassed 250 million downloads, and Pokemon GO continues to have 1 billion users even though I don’t see anybody walking around like that anymore.
The global video game market is expected to make $200 billion by 2023 and it could even shatter those expectations as well. It goes to show that even if the world is on fire, diseased, and on the brink of civil unrest, we always have our video games to turn to. They will always be there for us because they’ve shown that they can make it through anything. When the nuclear bombs go off, all that will be left are cockroaches and consoles.