US games market booms 11% in 2017 to $14.6bn

The US games market has had a stellar year, bouncing back from 2016 on a combination of stronger software and a new hardware platform. The NPD combines physical sales with many of the largest digital platforms, giving a far more representative idea of the health of the industry, and based on these figures it’s positively glowing.

While the UK market continues to labour under the negative impressions caused by physical-only reporting, the NPD is proudly announcing an 11 per cent year-on-year rise. That figure includes software, hardware and accessories – but excludes mobile app store sales.  

Hardware was the star, namely Nintendo’s Switch of course, with the market rising 28 per cent year-on-year. Console software did its part as well with a six per cent rise, while accessories chipped in a two per cent gain. One black mark was Steam sales slumping by 20 per cent over the year.

The number of boxed titles released over the year increased from 271 in 2016 up to 314 last year. Some of that can be attributed to Switch but the increasing number of niche and indie titles reaching the shelves, often as special editions, is also responsible.

Racing games were the biggest growth genre, up by 68 per cent compared to 2016, driven by a glut of releases in the middle of the year. While unsurprisingly, shooters topped the genre listings for the year.

“The spectacular growth of our industry in 2017 proves video game developers, artists, and storytellers are the brightest lights in the US economy, finding more ways to delight the world’s 2.6 billion gamers each year,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, which represents the US video game industry. “Congratulations to our industry’s brilliant creators on delivering another record year of remarkable entertainment that inspired the passion of gamers everywhere.”

“2017 was a special year for the industry, and for everyone who loves games,” said Mat Piscatella, The NPD Group’s video game industry analyst. “Developers created content that delighted gamers across all gaming platforms. From mobile to PC, and from console to virtual reality, growth was achieved because the passion of gamers was matched only by the talent of game makers.”

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