Digital games and interactive media pulled in a record $120.1 billion in 2019
Free-to-play games dominated the market yet againBy Cohen Coberly
Year in Revew: Another year has passed us by, and with it comes the usual array of end-of-year market research reports. One such report we always look forward to is SuperData's Digital Games and Interactive Media "Year In Review" analysis, and its 2019 iteration has just hit the web.
We'll start things off with some overall revenue numbers. Mobile games generated $64.4 billion in 2019, and PC games pulled in $29.6 billion. Consoled trailed behind with $15.4 billion in earnings, and other forms of interactive media, such as streaming (the likes of Twitch and Mixer, not Netflix) platforms, boasted a respectable $6.5 billion. Virtual, mixed, and augmented reality revenue was roughly the same at $6.3 billion.
All in all, that adds up to a "Record" $120.1 billion for the year of 2019, which is about $5 billion higher than 2018's end-of-year total, which sat at roughly $115 billion. Most of the categories mentioned above have grown since 2018, thus contributing to the new total, but digital PC game revenue, in particular, has fallen from $35.7 billion.
It's not entirely clear why that happened (that's a $6 billion difference, which isn't chump change). The lack of "mega hits" throughout the year could have contributed somewhat -- 2018 saw the launch of numerous blockbuster hits, including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Monster Hunter: World, whereas 2019's offerings were decidedly less exciting to the mainstream (for the most part).
Free-to-play games continued to dominate the gaming landscape in 2019, of course -- the $64.4 billion number mentioned before for mobile game revenue came almost entirely from free-to-play title earnings. Free-to-play PC game revenue represented $21.1 billion of the $29.6 billion total listed above.
Free-to-play console games were much less popular, drawing in a mere $1.6 billion in 2019. That number fell from $2.1 billion in 2018, and SuperData expects it to drop even further to $1 billion this year. Some of the top free-to-play titles out there are Fortnite, with $1.8 billion in 2019 global revenue, Dungeon Fighter online with $1.6 billion in earnings, and even Pokemon Go, which earned developer Niantic a respectable $1.4 billion.
Premium game revenue as a whole dropped in 2019, but again, that's to be expected given the lack of massive, mainstream releases last year.
The VR market grew ever so slightly in 2019 -- 5.7 million headsets were shipped across PC, console, and mobile devices, compared to 2018's 5.6 shipments. It wasn't linear growth across the board, though. PC VR headset shipments actually dropped by eight percent, and mobile headsets fell by a shocking 54 percent.
Standalone VR headsets drove most of the 2019 growth at 2.8 million shipments (up from 1.2 million in 2018). If it weren't for that growth, the VR market as a whole would have taken a serious hit.
SuperData expects digital games and interactive media revenue to grow to $124.8 billion in 2020. The organization says this growth will be achieved on the back of major releases like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part II (releasing in Q1 2020), as well as the launch of Microsoft and Sony's next-gen consoles; the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
With that final prediction out of the way, that's about all we have for now. If you have any thoughts on the statistics we've discussed today, feel free to leave them in the comments. Otherwise, we recommend reading SuperData's full report for yourself. It's available for free right here, though you'll need a valid email address to snag it.
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