2021’s global games market is projected to generate $175.8bn in 2021, a slight decline year-on-year of 1.1%. Despite this slight decline, the market is on track to exceed $200bn in 2023.
That’s according to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, and –However, it should be noted that this is compared to the enormous revenue generated in 2020, and in fact Newzoo’s current 2021 projections are above what they were 12 months ago.
Of course, as Newzoo notes, 2020 marked the year that games revenues were boosted by COVID-19 lockdown measures. Additionally, the November release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series consoles provided a further boost. Newzoo estimates that the games market generated $177.8 billion in 2020, up 23.1% year on year, the largest growth for the market since Newzoo began tracking revenues in 2012.
The projected decline in 2021 reflects not just the relaxing of lockdown rules, but a sign of the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the industry. With game studios being impacted by the disruption of moving to remote work, and global supply chains being disrupted.
The PC games market is set to decline 2.8% year on year, to $35.9bn in 2021. Of that, $33.3bn will be spent on downloaded and boxed games, while $2.6bn will be spent on browser games.
The console market meanwhile is forecast to decline -8.9% to $49.2 billion, with the after-effects of COVID-19 shaping the console market this year.
The dips in both the PC and console markets are put down to game delays, particularly in AAA titles, caused by the pandemic. Hardware is also affected, with the global shortage of chips resulting in a supply shortage for many consumer electronics.
Mobile gaming is set to grow, however. The market gaming is projected to generate $90.7 billion in 2021, growing 4.4% year on year. This is more than half the global games market, as the market is less affected by the impact of COVID-19 than the PC and console markets – meaning the segment is subject to less game delays.
While Newzoo expects that a lot of the increased engagement in games will continue, there will be a short return to pre-2020 levels as people begin to enjoy their increased freedom and non-gaming activities outside of lockdown.
As for the years ahead, the games market is expected to continue to grow, exceeding $200 billion at the end of 2023. By then, the market is forecasted to grow +7.2% CAGR between 2019 and 2023 to $204.6 billion.