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An astounding 55% of all Americans played video games in 2020

With nothing else to do, people turned to video games.

Video game controller on table
Image: Unsplash

Super Data, a Nielsen Company, just released its annual report – the 2020 Year in Review. The report is largely focused on the gaming industry during the coronavirus pandemic, its impact on people, and what lays ahead for video games in 2021. 

The most notable piece of data in their report is that more than half of all Americans (55%) played video games during the lockdowns in 2020. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, it seems that Americans massively started playing video games.

That led to an exponential growth of the gaming industry that earned an astonishing $126.6 billion in 2020. Compared to 2019, that’s a solid 12% increase in revenues. 

Some of the other key data in the Super Data findings include:

  • Free games were responsible for almost 78% of all games revenue. This segment was dominated by the Asian markets that generated approximately 59% of the earnings from free games. Mobile games such as Peacekeeper Elite and Honor of Kings earned over $2 billion in 2020. 
  • The mobile games market experienced a ten percent growth in 2020 and captured 58 percent of the total games market. 
  • Fortnite earned well over $1 billion in 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Warzone and Roblox.
  • The premium games market expanded by about 28%, compared to 2019. On the other hand, the free-to-play games market increased by only nine percent for the same period. Europe and North America were the two biggest markets for premium games. Combined, they accounted for 84% of the total premium games revenue.  
  • Augmented and virtual reality combined earnings reached $6.7 billion.
  • Gaming video content accounted for 1.2 billion viewers in 2020 and turned into an industry valued at $9.3 billion.

The Super Data report also took note of what they believe will be a trend in 2021.

Here are the trends in the video games industry that they think we will see in 2021:

  • The coronavirus vaccine is not expected to have a significant effect on the gaming industry. Experts believe that habits formed during lockdowns will stay with people for the foreseeable future. 
  • The acquisition of smaller development studios by major players like Microsoft, EG7, and Electronic Arts will continue in 2021. Their need to expand their offering in one of the most competitive industries in the world seems to motivate big players to acquire small companies.

Is any of this really all that surprising? With many traditional activities canceled, it makes sense for people to spend more time in virtual worlds.

Have any thoughts on this? Did you start playing video games in 2020? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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