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That's "billion," with a "B"

Video games earned more money than movies, sports combined

By Argie Aguja Published Dec 28, 2020 3:29 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and drastically affected many sectors except the gaming industry, as the months-long lockdowns helped global gaming sales rise 20 percent to nearly $180 billion in 2020.

According to data gathered by the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide gaming revenue will reach an estimated $179.7 billion by the end of 2020, as reported by business website MarketWatch. Of this total, 19.6 percent of the growth will come from consoles, 11 percent for PCs and 24 percent for mobile games.

Experts further forecast that strong growth will continue in 2021, following the recent introduction of next-generation gaming consoles from Sony Corp. (PlayStation 5) and Microsoft Corp. (Xbox Series S and Series X). This growth is further fueled by the fact that gamers are likely to spend more on some long-awaited game titles to get the most out of these next-gen hardware upgrades.

Meanwhile, 2019 figures from the global film industry reached $100 billion in revenue for the first time, according to the Motion Picture Association, while accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated North American sports would bring in more than $75 billion in 2020. Combined, both numbers are still not enough to equal the almost $180 billion haul of the gaming industry in 2020 alone.

The report also says that the videogame industry is expected to show double-digit growth this year following high-single-digit growth in the previous two years.

“I do think there will be a deceleration as soon as effective, cheap, globally available vaccines get out there over the course of 2021, but I’m quite sure at the end of 2021 there will still be billions of potential people that will need vaccines. So, deceleration may happen in 2022,” IDC gaming research director Lewis Ward told MarketWatch in an interview.

Game console revenue, which includes the hardware and all game software and services, is expected to rise 20 percent worldwide to reach $52.5 billion, according to Ward. Looking at digital PC and Mac sales, global revenue is expected to rise 11 percent compared to a year ago, to $39.5 billion.

According to a similar survey conducted by market research firm NPD Group, 79 percent of respondents said they had played videogames over the past six months, or since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic back in March, with an average of 14 hours of play a week, compared with an average of 12 hours a week from a year ago.