Description

Understand the current market and opportunities within the video gaming category in the US market. Use Mintel’s market intelligence to become more informed and able to tackle challenges in your industry. This report examines the current gaming industry landscape, how economic challenges are impacting the gaming industry and how consumers are adapting, and opportunities for brands to respond in the current market. Read on to discover our insights.

Gaming Industry Landscape

The global video gaming industry had been hopeful to cross the $200 billion revenue threshold in 2023, but new estimates make 2024 look more likely. Gains made during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic proved unsustainable amid ongoing supply chain issues, chip shortages, and global economic uncertainties.

The US video gaming market is expected to decline in estimates for 2022, and PC gaming revenue — with consistent spending in long-established esports games — is the only segment expected to close the year with growth. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to stem inflation, which is expected to increase unemployment in the US. This in turn can affect the US gaming industry as layoffs occur, and as gamers tighten their budget for buying games.

Gaming Market Trends and Consumer Behavior

While the video gaming industry is experiencing some challenges, video games as a popular activity are not going away, from mobile gaming, to console, to PC. Three-quarters of all US adults played video games in the last three months, and almost a third of consumers anticipate playing more in the coming year versus the prior year.

Although consumer spending has returned to pre-pandemic levels, gamers’ interest and enthusiasm for gaming is as high as ever. This is great news for brands looking to work with gaming properties in 2023, as there are millions of players in the US ready to prove those who doubt the staying power of video games wrong.

Whether consumers were looking for easy, on-demand entertainment or something to help decompress after a long day, playing relaxing games along with free-to-play games provided the preferred distraction for 2022. Closely following behind for video game players was watching streaming shows and videos, and there have been plenty of gaming-inspired shows to watch.

  • Video gaming consumer behaviors: 38% of active console gamers purchased more new games in 2022 than prior years, higher than all other types of gamer.
  • Gaming trends: 30% of gamers are most excited for open-world games in 2023, proving it to be the most popular game design element.

Opportunities in the Gaming Market

Engagement with gaming-related content is at an all-time high, likely making it part of gamers’ daily lives. This means that brands and advertisers can reach the gaming audience in more ways than just in-game advertising, such as on gaming websites, social media, and podcasts.

Financially struggling gamers are not the only gamers taking advantage of free gaming options. In fact, many gamers who have the financial means to purchase games still opt for free games due to their convenience and accessibility. As more gamers turn to free-to-play experiences, brands should anticipate the increased demand, and work with game developers to ensure ads are rotated to reduce fatigue.

  • Video game marketing strategy: 64% of gamers prefer to shop for games when they’re on sale. Non-competitive gamers can be encouraged toward day-one purchases by ensuring that marketing is effectively targeted to the right gamer segments.
  • Women gamers are engaging more than ever: 62% of women in the US play video games for at least an hour a week. As we discuss in our Women and Gaming Report, there is potential here to appeal to women more in advertising and game development.

To discover more about US Gaming Trends, read our Diversity in Gaming Report or Gaming Merchandising Report. To find more reports in the category, take a look at our extensive Leisure Time Market Research.

Quickly Understand

  • What’s impacting the video game industry in 2023 and how it’s evolving.
  • Adult consumers’ engagement with video games and how that’s changing over time.
  • What gaming elements drive gamers’ purchasing consideration.
  • Younger generations of gamers’ interests and how they will shape future trends.
  • Why gamers do and do not gravitate towards certain elements of popular game design.
  • Gamers’ attitudes toward rising costs in the industry and how that affects purchase decisions.

Brands and Games Covered in this Report

Brands: Microsoft, Activision, Xbox, Sony, Nintendo, E3, Google, Amazon, Nvidia, EA Sports, Twitter, Hasbro, and more.

Games: Call of Duty, The Legend of Zelda, Spiderman, Starfield, Diablo IV, FIFA, Apex, Final Fantasy, Fortnite, Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Gaming Specialist

This report, written by Brian Benway, a leading analyst in the gaming and entertainment sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the gaming industry, and adds expert context to the numbers.

The video game industry continues to provide entertainment that consistently excites and engages fans. Gamers in 2023 want to relax and play more, and they will find the games where monetization options work for whatever they can afford to engage the most with.

Brian Benway - Research Analyst
Brian Benway
Gaming and Entertainment Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • The video game market
                  • Figure 1: Global video game revenue, 2019-25
                  • Figure 2: Gaming industry outlook, 2023-28
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • AI brings the biggest change to work since the pocket calculator
                    • VR and the metaverse concept will live on
                      • Subscription services, like consoles, need killer software
                        • Key consumer insights
                          • Hope for “more” gaming time grows beyond lockdown-period gaming peak
                            • Figure 3: Gaming play time comparison, 2019-22
                          • Hardware took priority as new consoles finally started appearing in stores
                            • Figure 4: Gaming purchases compared to previous years, 2019, 2021-22
                          • Open world games are in high demand, but they’re costly and difficult to make
                            • Figure 5: Game design elements driving purchases, 2022
                          • Rising costs may lead more gamers to seek sales, but hype sells
                            • Figure 6: Attitudes toward video game costs, 2022
                        • Global and US Gaming Market

                          • Global revenue expected to be down from 2021; growth to resume in 2023
                            • Figure 7: Global video game revenue, 2019-25
                            • Figure 8: Global video game revenue, by segment, 2022
                        • Market Factors

                          • Rising inflation and rising unemployment
                            • Increasing potential for unionizing at high-profile US game studios
                              • TikTok’s Chinese connection overshadows conversations about platform value
                                • Creators weigh the pros and cons of other gaming content platforms
                                  • Figure 9: Top Live Streamers in 2022
                                • European Parliament votes on video game consumer protections
                                • Who and What to Watch in 2023

                                  • FTC seeks to block the Microsoft/Activision merger
                                    • Will they or won’t they? Nintendo Switch 2 leaves gamers guessing
                                      • E3 makes a comeback! … sort of
                                        • Subscription strategies and competition in cloud gaming
                                          • Diablo IV likely to disregard known player preferences for profits
                                            • That which we call FIFA by any other name could smell just as sweet
                                            • Analyst Opinions and Predictions

                                              • Twitter is likely headed for bankruptcy after Musk’s purchase
                                                  • Figure 10: A banner year for gaming on Twitter in 2021, 2022
                                                • Gaming monetization via crypto/NFTs looks pretty sus in 2023
                                                  • Brands vs community – Strife in the age of digital content creators
                                                  • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                                    • Generative AI brings sci-fi closer than ever, and how it might shape the future
                                                      • VR and metaverse are expensive, but will continue with or without Meta
                                                        • Services may offer great value, but they need great software
                                                          • Universal Studios’ Super Mario restaurant captures a Japanese trend
                                                            • Figure 12: Toadstool café, Super Nintendo World, 2023
                                                        • Fast Facts: The Video Game Consumer

                                                          • Anticipation for gaming grows beyond pandemic-period peaks
                                                            • Hardware sales rose as new consoles finally started appearing in stores
                                                              • Gamers turned to relaxing and free games in 2022 as economies tightened
                                                                • Open world will continue to be in demand
                                                                  • Genre familiarity is the key indicator of potential future purchases
                                                                    • The rising price of games may lead to more price consciousness
                                                                    • Gaming Time Comparison

                                                                      • Player interest and enthusiastic support for gaming reaches a new peak
                                                                        • Figure 13: Gaming play time comparison, 2019- 22
                                                                      • The young and young at heart are most hopeful for their gaming future
                                                                        • Figure 14: Plans to play more, by gamer segment and age, 2022
                                                                      • Time spent gaming doesn’t change much for most gamers
                                                                        • Figure 15: Time playing games in an average week, 2019 – 22
                                                                      • Engagement with gaming-related content is on the rise
                                                                        • Figure 16: Time engaged with gaming content in an average week, 2019 – 22
                                                                    • Video Game Purchasing Behavior

                                                                      • Gaming console purchases took center stage in 2022
                                                                        • Figure 17: Gaming purchases, 2022
                                                                        • Figure 18: Gaming purchases compared to previous years, 2019, 2021-22
                                                                      • 2022 hopefully marks the end of software delays
                                                                        • Figure 19: Gaming purchase NETs, by gamer segment, 2022
                                                                    • Gaming Engagement Behavior

                                                                      • Easy, and free, on-demand entertainment rules troubled times
                                                                        • Figure 20: Changes in gaming behaviors last year vs prior years, 2022
                                                                      • Gamers with new consoles will be looking for new games in 2023
                                                                        • Figure 21: Gaming behavior increases (more) vs last year, by gamer platform segment, 2022
                                                                      • Struggling gamers aren’t the only ones playing more free games in 2022
                                                                        • Figure 22: Gaming behavior increases (more) vs last year, by financial status, 2022
                                                                    • Gaming Design Priorities

                                                                      • Open world is all the rage, but can be a costly mistake if mishandled
                                                                        • Figure 23: Game design elements driving purchases, 2022
                                                                      • Younger generations of gamers crave more Fortnite-like games
                                                                        • Figure 24: Game design elements driving purchases, by generation, 2022
                                                                      • Younger-leaning gamer segments may be more open to new experiences
                                                                        • Figure 25: Game design elements driving purchases, by gamer segment, 2022
                                                                    • Video Game Purchase Influences

                                                                      • Digital stores are crowded and complicated; better genre tagging could aid discovery
                                                                        • Figure 26: Key video game purchase influences, 2022
                                                                      • Young women gamers most likely to stick to what they already know
                                                                        • Figure 27: Key video game purchasing factors, by age and gender, 2022
                                                                      • Parents, often busy in their non-gamer lives, depend on reliable reviews
                                                                        • Figure 28: Key video game purchasing factors, by gender and parental status, 2022
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Video Game Costs

                                                                      • Dads try to be thrifty, but they will splurge on products that excite
                                                                        • Figure 29: Attitudes towards video game costs, by gender and parental status, 2022
                                                                      • Buying on sale is almost always preferred, but gamers want to stay sharp
                                                                        • Figure 30: Attitudes towards video game costs, by gamer segment, 2022
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Video Game Length

                                                                      • Cutting unnecessary content may make more focused and better games
                                                                        • Figure 31: Attitudes towards video game length, by gender and age, 2022
                                                                      • Understanding gamer segments helps to align features and marketing
                                                                        • Figure 32: Attitudes towards video game length, by gamer segment, 2022
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Video Game Remakes/Remasters

                                                                      • Remakes and remasters should be reserved for special circumstances
                                                                        • Figure 33: Attitudes towards video game remakes/remasters, by generation, 2022
                                                                      • Parents: “No, we already have that game at home”
                                                                        • Figure 34: Attitudes towards video game remakes/remasters, by gender and parental status, 2022
                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                        • Sales data
                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                              • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                • US gamer segments
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Gamer segments, 2022
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Top reasons for playing video games, by gamer segments, 2022
                                                                                  • Achievers – Characteristics and demographics
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Primary Achievers, by key demographics, 2022
                                                                                  • Explorers – Characteristics and demographics
                                                                                    • Figure 38: Primary Explorers, by key demographics, 2022
                                                                                  • Socializers – Characteristics and demographics
                                                                                    • Figure 39: Primary Socializers, by key demographics, 2022
                                                                                  • Competitors – Characteristics and demographics
                                                                                    • Figure 40: Primary Competitors, by key demographics, 2022
                                                                                  • Who are the Other gamers?
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Other gamers, by key demographics, 2022
                                                                                    • US gamer device usage
                                                                                      • Figure 42: US gamer device usage, 2022
                                                                                    • US gaming frequency
                                                                                      • Figure 43: Gaming frequency, 2022
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward video game costs
                                                                                      • Figure 44: Attitudes toward video game costs, 2022
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward video game length
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Attitudes toward video game length, 2022
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward video game remakes/remasters
                                                                                      • Figure 46: Attitudes toward video game remakes/remasters, 2022

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