Video gaming has recently seen a massive surge in popularity. All aspects of gaming are seeing growth rates unlike anything in the past, from viewership to system sales to esports. With today’s statistics reporting, one can see these growth trends more clearly than ever before. Here are some of the most interesting data points behind video gaming’s growth rates.
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Video game viewership
With all of the video game viewership data available, it is a good time to be a data wrangler. Twitch, the primary video game streaming website, has been growing at an astronomical rate. The defining metric of viewership is watch time. At 600 billion minutes watched as of May 2021, Twitch watch time is up 41.6% from the same time in 2020.
A similar metric is concurrent viewership, which is just over 3 million average concurrent viewers, a 42% increase over the same time in 2020. With an increase in viewers comes an increase in creators trying to win new eyeballs. 9.6 million unique individuals create streaming content each month, marking a 39% increase from 2020 to 2021.
There is no shortage of channels for viewers to choose from with this many creators actively making content; at any one time, there are an average of 117,000 creators that are live streaming, a 34% increase between 2020 and 2021. If viewership is an accurate indication, video gaming is garnering huge amounts of increased interest year over year.
Video game sales
As of the most recent statistics from 2020, the entire video game industry is worth an estimated $160 billion. Somewhat unintuitively, free-to-play games make up a huge majority of digital video game revenue. Free-to-play games make their money via microtransactions. Usually, these microtransactions are purely cosmetic, but sometimes microtransactions are used to provide a player with tangible in-game benefits.
These kinds of microtransactions are most common in mobile games, which are quickly becoming the largest gaming market in the world due to the ubiquity of mobile devices around the globe. It is no surprise that mobile microtransactions are massive revenue sources when one considers the fact that the games in which they are employed have the largest player base in gaming.
Console gaming and PC gaming are the other primary methods of playing video games. The gaming console industry was worth an estimated $45 billion in 2020, while the PC gaming industry was worth an estimated $37 billion in 2020. Combined, these industries equal the mobile gaming market on its own, which stands at an estimated $77 billion value. It is unlikely for any of these gaming areas to slow down any time soon. Future estimates expect these industries to be far more valuable in only a few years.
The esports industry is in relative infancy compared to other gaming industries. The worldwide esports audience was an estimated 495 million viewers in 2020, and the esports market’s revenue was an estimated $1 billion during that same time. Simple awareness of esports has grown from 1.1 billion people in 2016 to 1.955 billion people in 2020.
Advertisers and tournament organizers are bullish on the future of esports, as evidenced by the massive prize pools in various popular games. Dota 2, a multiplayer online battle arena game, had the largest prize pool of 2020 at $35 million. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a tactical first-person shooter, had a $20 million prize pool. Fortnite, the massively popular battle royal shooter, had a $7 million prize pool. These games are not exceptions; many other genres of games feature multi-million prizes in their largest yearly tournaments, and these prize pools typically grow every year.
With growth across multiple areas, the video game industry is full of interesting data points. Viewership numbers, sales predictions, and player count expectations are three of a plethora of metrics that can be analyzed today. Whether you are a gamer or not, there is no denying the massive potential that exists in this popular pastime activity.