The coronavirus has some industries on their last life — but it’s given video games a major power-up.
Gaming industry revenues are expected to surge nearly 20 percent this year to about $175 billion because games have become a cure for boredom among locked-down consumers, forecasters say.
“With the population being encouraged to stay at home and limit social interaction, people have turned to gaming en masse,” industry analytics firm Newzoo said in its annual forecast this week.
Players around the world have used video games not just for entertainment and escapism but also as a way to socialize, helping lighthearted multiplayer titles such as “Fall Guys” and “Among Us” become some of the year’s biggest hits, according to Newzoo’s Tom Wijman.
The company expects 2020 to be a banner year that will be followed by further growth for the market. Newzoo projects gaming revenues of roughly $218 billion in 2023, up from about $146 billion in 2019, after raising this year’s forecast by about $16 billion.
Roughly half of 2020’s revenues, or some $86 billion, will come from mobile gaming, which is attractive to new players because of its “low barrier to entry” and the widespread use of smartphones, Wijman said.
But Newzoo also expects a 21 percent jump in revenues from gaming consoles given that they’re fairly easy to purchase and set up and are backed by big marketing budgets.
That tracks with the 209 percent spike in profits that Nintendo reported this week thanks to exploding sales of its popular Switch system. Microsoft and Sony are also getting ready for next week’s launch of their newest consoles, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.
“Following the usual trend prior to new generation releases, we’d expect console revenues to be lower in anticipation of the launch of the incoming next-generation consoles. But the pandemic has resulted in the opposite,” Wijman wrote in Newzoo’s report.