Global gaming market to grow 20% to reach $174.9bn in 2020

The latest forecast is $15.6bn higher than the previous figure by consultancy Newzoo in May

Mobile gaming is expected to generate $86.3bn globally in 2020. Getty
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Global gaming revenue is expected to reach $174.9 billion by the end of this year, up 19.6 per cent than the last year, according to a new report by Newzoo.

This is $15.6bn higher than the previous forecast that the Amsterdam-based market research company made during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in May.

“Armed with companies’ financial results for the first half of 2020, we can now see the impact of increased engagement on game spending more clearly,” Tom Wijman, senior games market analyst at Newzoo, said.

“Exactly how sustainable this growth is remains to be seen and is dependent on many factors … we anticipate that the market will continue to grow, generating $217.9bn in 2023,” he added.

The gaming industry – split into mobile games, e-sports streaming, console purchases and more – is currently the most profitable form of entertainment in the world.

Consumer appetite for gaming rose rapidly in 2020 with the creation of new platforms such as Apple's Arcade and Google's Stadia. Movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic also propelled users’ interest, industry experts said.

Asia-Pacific region will see the maximum spend on gaming at $84.3bn, an annual growth of more than 17 per cent. It will be followed by North America ($44.7bn), Europe ($32.9bn) and Latin America ($6.8bn). The Middle East and Africa region, where consumers will spend $6.2bn on gaming this year, will see the fastest yearly growth globally at 30.2 per cent.

China and the US remain the two biggest markets for the gaming industry. Together, they represent 49 per cent ($85.3bn) of the world’s games market in terms of consumer-generated revenues.

The increased engagement and revenues resulting from the pandemic will ripple into 2021 and beyond, said Newzoo.

“Based on engagement metrics of the past months, we see that consumers are continuing to engage with gaming more than they did before the pandemic … even in markets where lockdown measures have long been lifted,” Mr Wijman said.

“While some consumers may play less after the pandemic ends, all signs point to a significant chunk of revenue growth and engagement being permanent.”

Mobile gaming is the largest segment by revenue, according to Newzoo. It will generate $86.3bn in 2020, up from the previous forecast of $77.2bn.

Meanwhile, the console games and the PC games will generate $51.2bn and $37.4bn respectively.

The Middle East region is one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world, a whitepaper released by YouGov on Monday showed.

The top mobile games played in the region include PUBG, Intikam Al Salatin, Fortnite and Rise of Kingdoms.

Regional players such as Beirut-based gaming studio Falafel Games and Amman-based Arabic mobile games publisher Tamatem have also started to gain traction by developing culturally-relevant content.