With the year drawing to a close, research firm Newzoo has published some incredible facts about the gaming landscape in the United States. This year the industry posted $20.5 billion in revenue for 2013, a 2% increase over 2012 and the biggest year ever for the gaming industry.
Over 170 million Americans are gamers, roughly 53% of the entire population. Breaking the revenue numbers down, 62% of sales are generated through digital stores, while the remaining 38% of the market is left to retail chains and second-hand stores.
Out of the 170 million gamers in the country, 60% are likely to spend money on a game they’ve already bought, which covers purchases like DLC and monthly subscriptions. With an average of $16.46 spend on gaming per month, the US is also the biggest market according to average spend.
In their assessment of their study results, New Zoo outlines a few key trends that the industry has begun to follow, or has already followed for some time but accelerated.
Tablet gaming is America’s fastest growing market segment; iPad bigger than iPhone
In June this year, Newzoo’s Global Games Market report published a higher global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) towards 2016 for tablet gaming than for (smart)phones: 47.6% versus 18.8%. While the iPhone is losing ground to Android smartphones and Google’s PlayStore is catching up, the dominant position of the iPad and iPad mini keeps Apple significantly ahead in total game revenues generated.
New boxed retail sales versus digital revenues
Total retail sales of new boxed games is estimated to generate $6.4bn this year. This is based on publically available retail tracking data for the first eleven months of this year totaling $4.9bn and the assumption that December will compare to November as it did last year, resulting in a December new boxed sales figure of $1.5bn. Retail is shifting its focus from boxed game sales to console hardware, accessories, pre-paid game credits as well as collectibles and physical game-elements such as the Skylanders and Disney Infinity action figures.
The growth of cross-screen gaming and time spent on games
Due to the arrival of more screens on which Americans play games, time spent playing has increased dramatically over the last years. Over 40 million American gamers or 24% of all gamers play on all four screens: the Entertainment (TV), Computer (PC/Mac), Personal (Feature/Smartphone) or Floating Screen (Tablets/Handheld Consoles). Only two years ago this number was at 30 million gamers. Only China and Spain have a higher share of gamers that use all four screens.
This really puts a lot of things into perspective, especially in the light of the recent furore against microstransactions. Do we as a collective in South Africa think that any of the gaming products released here are reflective of what we want as a community? No, its catered to the 104 million-plus gamers who seemingly would spend money on in-game DLC and other microtransactions.
The world always appears to follow what the Americans are doing and the allure of over a hundred million people paying for small items for your game is going to be a lot harder to resist as we move into 2014. This may be the last year in which we’re almost completely not bombarded by microtransactions.
The infographic is posted below and I had a big chuckle at one of the leading platforms in the US – the desktop computer. Yeah, console fans, no matter what you try this generation, you can’t leap on the momentum generated by a 150 million-plus strong market. The PC Master race has always been big and its nice to be reassured of its continued dominance as we head into the new year.
Also I have to question – 170 million gamers in the US alone? The PS3 and Xbox 360 sold about 80 million units apiece over the course of their lifespans. How many PC gamers are really out there in the world?