The global video game industry will exceed $200 billion in value by 2023 — up from a projected $155 billion in 2020, projects Juniper Research.
Mobile and cloud gaming will lead the growth, as the business continues to shift toward recurring revenue, according to the report.
In fact, revenue from stand-alone purchases of video games is expected to decline by 5% during the period, as free-to-play (F2P) games such as “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty Mobile” accelerate the trend toward in-game monetization.
Cloud gaming and other video-game subscriptions are projected to grow at an average rate of 9% per year, bringing in more than $8 billion in 2023.
But this will not immediately compensate for declining purchase revenue.
“At current gaming subscription prices, it will take an average of ten months of a subscription payment to cover the retail cost of a single AAA game,” observed James Moar, co-author of the research. “The value of these platforms lies in keeping players within an ecosystem, ensuring that revenue across multiple games is captured by a single platform.”
As gamers subscribe to more services like Xbox Gamepass, EA Access and Google Stadia, and buy fewer stand-alone games, only mobile games will see a net increase in game installs between 2020 and 2023, Juniper says.
Due to F2P business models and game giveaways, virtually all (99%) mobile game downloads over those three years will be F2P, and fewer than 50% of PC game installs will be paid.
While mobile games will drive more purchases, PC games will be the most lucrative segment for in-game purchases due to their higher-value, game-expansion purchases. PC in-game purchases are projected to near $32 billion in 2023.
U.K.-based Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the high-tech communications sector.