Games Revenue Reached a Record $120 Billion in 2019, Free-to-Play Games Like Fortnite Led the Charge

The video game industry had a successful 2019, raking in $120.1 billion in revenue across mobile, PC, and consoles, up more than 3% from the year prior despite fewer major blockbuster releases like Red Dead Redemption 2. And for the second year in a row, Epic’s Fortnite generated the most revenue, this time earning $1.8 billion throughout the year (a decline from its $2.4 billion in 2018). Free-to-play games led the charge on revenue, particularly in the mobile space, which accounted for more than half of the industry revenue in 2019. SuperData estimates that video game revenue will increase by 4% in 2020, leading the industry to earn $124.8 billion. 2020 sees massive games on the horizon like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers, The Last of Us Part II and Resident Evil 3, not to mention new consoles coming out at the end of the year.

These stats come courtesy of SuperData, a market research website that focuses on digital and interactive media. According to the company, $15.4 billion of 2019’s revenue can be attributed to consoles, a relatively small percentage of the $120 billion total. Here’s the breakdown of 2019’s earnings across the industry:

  • Mobile – $64.4 billion
  • PC – $29.6 billion
  • Console – $15.4 billion
  • GVC (Gaming Video Content) – $6.5 billion
  • XR (Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) – $6.3 billion

The majority of the industry’s earnings came from free-to-play mobile games, with titles like Candy Crush Saga and Honour of Kings (Arena of Valor) topping the sales charts. Speaking of successful free-to-play titles, Fortnite was 2019’s number one game in terms of revenue earned. Its ongoing success was attributed to major crossover events with popular franchises like Avengers, Star Wars, and Stranger Things. It also gained renewed popularity after its Chapter 2 refresh dropped towards the end of 2019. Despite the battle royale’s success in 2019, it’s earnings actually dipped since 2018, in which it earned $2.4 billion.

Although 2019 saw massive earnings across the industry, the premium games market dropped by 5% due to fewer AAA releases throughout the year. Unlike 2018, which featured releases like Red Dead Redemption 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, and Monster Hunter: World, 2019 had fewer titles matching that caliber. Still, the industry did not need games of that significance to continue growth, as evidenced by 2019’s increase in overall revenue since 2018 (a nearly 4% increase from $115.5 billion in 2018 to $120.1 billion in 2019).

2020 will see the release of next-generation consoles—PS5 and Xbox Series X—which will undoubtedly have an impact the industry’s revenue for the year. And with so many major releases slated for this year, 2020 is expected to be another year of growth.

[Source: SuperData via Venture Beat]