The global gaming market was valued at USD 151.55 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach a value of USD 256.97 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 9.17% over the forecast period (2020 – 2025). Game developers across emerging economies are continually striving to enhance gamer's experience, launching, and rewriting codes for diverse console/platforms, such as PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PC, which are incorporated into one product provided to the gamers through the cloud platform.
- The emergence of cloud gaming is driving the market. Recent advances in advanced cloud technology have turned the idea of cloud gaming into reality. In cloud gaming, the server, where all the games are stored, does all the computation work, which includes game scene rendering, game logic processing video encoding, and video streaming. Several companies such as Onlive, G-Cluster, StreamMyGame, Gaikai, and T5-Labs are already offering commercial cloud gaming services. This new sector is also seen as a serious competitor for the traditional game market.
- This has prompted video game majors such as Sega, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Atari, Warner Bros, Disney Interactive studio to establish partnerships with Onlive to distribute their games. Also, in May 2020, Nvidia GeForce Now added 19 games to its cloud gaming library, and further announcing an additional18 new games that will be available on GeForce NOW.
- Adoption of Gaming Platforms, such as E-sports, drives the market. eSports are witnessing substantial market demand in the current market scenario, and are thus driving the overall gaming industry across the globe. Riot Games with League of Legends and DotA 2 are two of the notable examples of influential actors in the eSports business. South Korea is considered to be the country of origin of eSports. Even though the United States overtook South Korea in terms of revenues in the eSports business, it still hosts one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
- The sector is also witnessing considerable activity from startups, that are further propelling the market growth. For instance, ‘The Forge Arena’ made by Phoenix Rising Studio’s is a Canadian startup that is looking to become a new player in eSports. The game is free to download under the same models as Fortnite and Counterstrike, selling in-game extras to make revenues focussing on collectible and tradeable skins.
- With the outbreak of COVID-19, home entertainment seems to be the only option for gamers in lockdown while cinemas and theaters continue their' door-closed' policy to prevent the disease. The March 2020 survey shows that video gamers in the United States reported that they spent 45% more time playing video games amid the quarantine than in the previous week. Esports is another emerging industry that manages to make more than a billion dollars a year. Now, after the pandemic, it has gained further traction. The increase in the first-time download of Twitch after the epidemic in March has risen to 14% in the U.S.A and a staggering 41% in Italy.
- According to Hollywood Reporter, The U.S. saw the growth of 45 percent, with France (38 percent), U.K. (29 percent), and Germany (20 percent). Online play has also increased, with respondents consuming more time spent playing games with others via the internet connection. Twenty-nine percent of U.S. gamers said that they have been playing more with friends online since the Covid-19 pandemic began, while 17 percent of those in the U.K. and 12 percent in France responded that they have been playing more online than offline. However, French gamers reported a more significant increase in "in-person" multi-player, nine percent, an anomaly given the social distancing guidelines.
Key Market Trends
Smartphone is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
- Smartphone gaming has exploded in the past couple of years. There were more than 200 million mobile game players last year in the United States alone. This growing demand for mobile games is a direct result of the multiple technological advancements in the market, such as AR, VR, cloud gaming.
- Moreover, large companies creating games for consoles and PC’s are also releasing their games in Mobile version owing to the increasing mobile games market. The most highly waited mobile game of 2019 was the Call of Duty: Mobile. The franchise finally made its transition into mobile gaming, and the results were also quite good.
- Further, the release of 5G and unlimited data plans are also expected to be key factors towards the success of cloud gaming across the globe, as most gamers today are preferring games on mobile devices. The increasing services and investment in the 5G infrastructure are also very important towards this success. According to Ericsson, the number of 5G mobile subscriptions in the Asia-pacific region is expected to reach around 1,545 million by 2025.
- The smartphone gaming market is witnessing rapid growth and is representing a cost-effective opportunity for investors, mobile developers, and publishers. It is also expected that by 2021, the number of mobile online gamers in the Southeast Asian region would rise to 250 million.
- With the above instances, partnerships between many players are assisting in expanding their product portfolios and market shares. For instance, in July 2019, Tencent Games and Qualcomm Wireless Communications Technologies (China) Limited, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, made strategic cooperation in understanding the strategic alliance, wherein they are forming comprehensive collaborations in the field of digital entertainment.
- Also, in the wake of this COVID-19 outbreak, online gaming is picking up its pace as one of the best options to stay at home entertainment. The market is witnessing a significant uptick in downloads of the various app, and the time spent, and engagement in the online games has also increased rapidly.
Asia-Pacific is expected to Hold the Largest Market Share
- Asia-Pacific is anticipated to hold the largest market share in the gaming industry, where countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea show a high potential in market growth. The Chinese enterprises are ready to embrace the business opportunities brought by global digitalization due to the rise in the digital ecosystem. At the end of the year 2019, the government of Beijing, the country’s capital and home to more than 20 million people, announced its plan to become the international capital of online games latest by the year 2025. The primary plan is to create a strategy that is built around a pretty aggressive revenue target, with the local government also involved
- Moreover, technologies such as 5G are also driving the mobile-based VR gaming market in the China region. For instance, in May 2020, Archiact has announced a partnership with Migu, a subsidiary of telecom provider China Mobile, for Archiact’s games that would be the first VR games o be playable via Migu’s 5G cloud gaming platform, named as Migu Quick Gaming. Also, by partnering with Migu, Archiact states that it is able to work together to build the future of 5G VR cloud gaming, thus making VR even more accessible.
- Further, according to GamesChowk, Japan's market has more than 70 million gaming players. Also, according to the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, the value of the gaming market in Japan is expected to reach JPY 1.55 trillion in 2024 from JPY 1.4 trillion in 2017. The handheld and home video game consoles hold a prominent share of the country's gaming market. According to Famitsu, up till 2020, Nintendo Switch accounts for 11.35 millions units sales of consoles, followed by PS4 with 7.59 million unit sales, new 3DS LL with 5.89 million unit sales.
- Also, South Korea is one of the prominent country known for its culture of online gaming. The increasing penetration of smartphones and application stores with the right combination of hardware makers and software developers and rising internet infrastructure is driving the growth of the gaming industry in the country. Additionally, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the size of the gaming market in the country is expected to reach KRW 15.84 trillion in 2021 from KRW 7.43 trillion in 2010.
- Further, many of the worlds leading gaming companies are looking to penetrate with their offering and expand their foothold in the South Korea country. For instance, in January 2019, Tencent Holdings is considering a bid for the holding company that controls South Korean gaming company Nexon for KRW 8-10 trillion according to reports from Korea Economic Daily and the Maeil Business Newspaper.
The gaming market is highly fragmented as the demand for online games and increasing penetration of mobile applications across the various regions is catering to an intense rivalry in the market. Key players in the market are Sony Corporation, Microsoft, Nintendo, etc. that try to keep innovating and releasing next-generation gaming consoles provides a significant competition among the rivals. Recent developments in the market are -
- May 2020 - Microsoft has revealed the launch of the game ‘Scarlet Nexus’ in Xbox Series X, by the end of 2020. The game claims to support the key technical features of the Xbox Series X, such as real-time ray tracing, 120-frames-per-second animation, and super-fast loading times.
- April 2020 - Sony launched the first look of the DualSense wireless controller, which comes together with Playstation 5 that is going to release at the end of 2020. The features of DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players. DualSense also adds a built-in microphone array, which will enable players to chat with friends without a headset easily.
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