SuperData: Game Industry Generated $120.1 Billion in 2019

Market research company SuperData reported that, in 2019, the game industry grew 3 percent to $120.1 billion, of which Epic’s “Fortnite” accounted for $1.8 billion, making it the biggest game for the year. The 2019 revenue for “Fortnite” was a 25 percent drop from the previous year’s record-breaking $2.4 billion. Noting that game industry growth is cooling off, SuperData estimated that it will rise 4 percent to $124.8 billion in 2020. The data includes augmented reality, console games, eSports, mobile, PC and virtual reality platforms.

VentureBeat reports on Nielsen-owned SuperData’s breakdown of 2019 revenue: “$64.4 billion for mobile games, $29.6 billion for PC, and $15.4 billion for consoles … [as well as] $6.5 billion for game-related videos and $6.3 billion for XR, or extended reality games based on technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality,” with the caveat that “total interactive media revenue is less than the sum of all segments due to overlapping earnings in games and XR segments.”

Gaming didn’t need blockbusters to continue growth, since “free-to-play accounted for 80 percent of dollars spent on digital games in 2019, thanks to strong performances from mobile.” “Candy Crush Saga” and “Honor of Kings,” said SuperData, “pushed mobile’s share of free-to-play revenue to 74 percent.”

Meanwhile, it added, “the premium games market dipped 5 percent in 2019 due to a gap year in triple-A game launches,” resulting in “fewer mega-hits than in 2018.” In 2019, XR revenue rose 26 percent to $6.3 billion because of “new headsets like Oculus Quest.” Standalone headsets “accounted for 49 percent of VR shipments and brought VR gaming to a more mainstream audience than existing PC and console devices.”

SuperData tagged digital games and interactive media as “on track to grow 4 percent to $124.8 billion in 2020,” with premium games having “their biggest year ever with $19.8 billion in 2020 revenue thanks to major releases in the first half of the year.” That includes “Cyberpunk 2077,” “The Last of Us Part II” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” which will debut “before focus shifts to next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony.”

It also predicted that, “as the GVC [game video content] audience surpasses one billion unique viewers, the war for streamers’ exclusivity will intensify in 2020.” In 2019, for example, Ninja, the top “Fortnite” streamer, “made history as he left Twitch to sign an exclusive deal with Mixer.”

VB notes that “when watching GVC, viewers often pay just as much attention to the streamer as the game itself.” Although console growth has been flat, new consoles from Microsoft and Sony will “open up new avenues for digital gaming growth in 2020.”

Variety reports SuperData noted that the success of “Fortnite” has largely been “the result of consistent content updates — Epic released the game’s Chapter 2 installment in October — and monetization through Battle Pass subscriptions, as well as crossover promotions with pop-culture blockbusters like ‘Marvel’s Avengers,’ Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ and Star Wars.” Although the game has fewer players than Riot Games’ “League of Legends,” “Fortnite” has also “been very successful at converting players to spenders.”