February 20, 2024

3 min

Video Games

Juan Jimenez

Marketing Manager

How big is the video game market in 2023?

It's no mystery that video games have become one of the most profitable industries in modern entertainment. Thanks to technological advancements, careful niche building, and a newfound mainstream appeal in pop culture, the gaming industry recently surpassed the film and sports industry in revenue and reach.

This evolution didn't happen overnight, however. Video games are an almost fifty-year-old affair by now, having shaped the way we entertain ourselves and enjoy our free time for more than two generations. Globalization and the meteoric rise of the tech sector during these years also did wonders for gaming massification, with at least one video game at everyone's fingertips; at the end of the day, smartphones can credit themselves for spearheading this revolution.

But the question remains: how large is the video game market at this stage of the 21st century?

Short answer: you wouldn't believe it.

Long answer: keep reading.

A general overview

According to the popular statistics website Exploding Topics, 3.09 billion people played video games worldwide in 2022. To put this in perspective:

  • That's roughly 39% of the world's population
  • It’s close to how many people watched the 2018 Russia World Cup (3.58 billion)
  • It’s two times more people than the viewing numbers of the 2022 Qatar World Cup final (1.5 billion)
  • It’s roughly the same viewing numbers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (more than 3 billion)

And this figure is forecast to grow in the coming years. The same report already puts the gaming population at 3.32 billion by 2024, with a 3.11% increase from 2023, previously forecast at 3.22 billion.

Most of the worldwide gaming population comes from Asia, with 1.48 billion people — more active players than Europe and America combined. Being the largest gaming market globally, its participation in the gaming industry revenue is also significant: almost 42% of the total revenue comes from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

But how much is this revenue?

According to Newzoo, the global gaming market reached a $184.4 billion total revenue in 2022. Even though this figure represented a 4.3% decrease from 2021, it was still more than enough to nearly duplicate the United States film industry revenue the same year ($95.4 billion) and almost twenty-five times more than the revenue reported by FIFA after the 2022 Qatar World Cup ($7.5 billion).

Now, you might wonder: what are the driving forces behind these figures?

We previously cited technological advancements as one of the instrumental factors behind the massification of gaming. If you think carefully about it, there's virtually no electronic device that cannot run a video game nowadays. Desktop and laptop computers, video game consoles, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and even some home appliances can run games without hassle.

The emergence of cloud computing also means that, sooner than later, a capable Internet connection will be the only thing needed to play some of the better games in the marketplace. Although this market is nonetheless in need of consolidation — with recent efforts, like Google Stadia, showing it still struggles to find its place — the possibilities are there.

Newzoo’s report says $2.38 billion were spent on cloud computing services during 2022, forecasting an $8.5 billion total revenue in 2025. Not bad for a still nascent sector.

XR experiences in gaming are also seeing some significant figures, with $1.8 billion and a 27.7 million player base in 2022. Revenue could easily duplicate these numbers in 2024, largely thanks to the price reduction and increased offer of VR headsets and devices.

But what about the jewel of the crown, mobile gaming?

Our previously-cited report by Newzoo concludes that the mobile gaming segment earned $92.2 billion in 2022 — exactly 50% of the global gaming market revenue, but a 6.2% decrease compared to 2021. Even though the dossier cited several economic and political factors as possible causes of this decline, it’s doubtful this will impact the mobile sector heavily: smartphone capacities and availability are at an all-time high.

Going into the specifics

In its starting years, gaming was predominantly a male hobby. Marketing had a tremendous influence on this, as many marketers in the sector thought it a great idea to solve the niche status of gaming by relating it to a “toys for boys” paradigm.

In 2022, the video game market was more balanced than ever, with 55% of gamers (1.7 billion)being male players and 45% (1.3 billion) female players, according to Exploding Tactics. These figures not only mean that games now must reach a universal, heterogeneous target; but also give remarkable insights into how audiences have evolved these last two decades.

The usual age group for gamers is 18-34 years old, constituting 38% (1.17 billion) of the worldwide gaming population. Surprisingly enough, the latest data shared at Exploding Tactics shows an overwhelming 80% of gamers are adults, with only 618million people under 18 years old.

And 216million (7%) of this audience is aged 65 years or more: considering that videogames can be valuable tools to combat neurological diseases and deterioration associated with old age, these are great numbers.

Last year also brought significant surprises for the game subscriptions and services sector. 52% of gamers in the US, or 1.61 billion gamers globally, have subscribed to at least one gaming service. According to Exploding Tactics data,74% of console gamers are more likely to subscribe to battle passes, content plans, or gaming subscriptions.

Considering these services’ average price lies between $9.99 and $19.99, this data means that 2.29 billion console gamers alone could generate $23 billion in revenue just with one gaming subscription. Most gamers will buy more than one of these subscriptions or battle passes in one year.

All in all, video games are here to stay. The following years hold impressive potential and value, particularly for the people working in this industry. Now it’s just a matter of turning these predictions into the bright, shining future it seems to be.

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