The big picture: Global video game sales are forecast to decline by 1.2 percent in 2022 to $188 billion according to market research firm Ampere Analysis. Last year, the game and content services market generated a record $191 billion. Should it come to fruition, it'd be the first dip in spending in the category in at least eight years.

Ampere Analysis was founded in 2015 and hasn't yet witnessed a year-over-year dip in video game spending.

Spending on video games soared during the pandemic as people sought to entertain themselves while staying at home. In 2019 before the pandemic, category spending hit $151 billion. The following year, consumers collectively shelled out $182 billion on games, content and services.

Viewed another way, spending increased 26 percent – by nearly $40 billion – from 2019 to 2021.

Drilling deeper, we see that PC gaming is likely to be hit the hardest with sales forecast to dip by more than three percent this year. The mobile gaming segment could dip by 1.3 percent and consoles could lose about half a percentage point. The only category expected to grow is cloud gaming.

What goes up must come down, however. Now that many countries have settled back into a more normal routine, time spent engaging with video games could come down and take spending with it. How big the hit will be is up for debate.

Heavy inflation and increases in cost of living may have a negative impact on game spending. Conversely, if consumers dial back discretionary spending in other areas and stay at home more, gaming could remain on the radar for many and spending may not suffer too much.

Declines could be short-lived, too. Ampere expects global gaming markets to spring back in 2023 as growth markets continue to adopt gaming and mature markets further stabilize.

Image credit: Ron Lach