The State of the Video Gaming Industry in 2021

When the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles hit shelves in 2013, the global video games market was estimated to be above $75 billion. In 2017, the year the Nintendo Switch was released, that amount had shot up past $120 billion (all per Newzoo).

“Level Up,” the new 21-page special report from Variety Intelligence Platform, examines the bustle of the gaming industry, especially within the context of a year as globally stark and significant as 2020, as well as its developing branches into the future.

While the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the world was astonishing on many facets, the still ongoing ramifications here in Hollywood created opportunities for gaming to swoop in and offer a mix of resolutions and possibilities for several sectors to stay relevant throughout a series of shutdowns across many countries.

Some game titles doubling as enormous online platforms, such as “Fortnite,” found themselves hosting virtual concerts and film festivals, while notable athletes found themselves taking up game controllers to access the virtual counterparts of their professions.

But within its own sector, video gaming took off like never before, with hardware sales spiking for months during the pandemic’s onset in the U.S. and new consoles from Sony and Microsoft outselling their prior versions in Q4. Likewise, overall game sales have been up consistently each month, and the growing attention toward the sector has enabled subscription services to pile on new players, with Xbox Game Pass having reportedly doubled its subscriber base over the course of a year.

Plus, mobile is as strong as ever, with our report examining what has been driving mobile as a dominant gaming sector and where intended growth drivers like cloud gaming and VR are in their path to expand as more prominent sectors of the industry.

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