The games industry should continue growing at least for the rest of the decade. That's the latest assessment from PricewaterhouseCoopers in its newly released Global and Entertainment Media Outlook 2015-2019 report.
The firm believes that global games revenues will grow at a 5.7 percent CAGR, reaching an annual haul of $93.18 billion by 2019. That growth will come despite a downturn in traditional gaming hardware, as PwC predicts the current generation of consoles to peak around 2017 or 2018 before declining, regardless of whether new consoles show up. That isn't to say the traditional gaming market itself will decline; the downturn in hardware should be offset by continued growth in digital distribution and "more stable" subscription services.
In 2019, the traditional gaming market is expected to account for $65.91 billion, with digital distribution of traditional games making up almost 20 percent of that total. PwC believes the console market's higher digital pricing, lack of network infrastructure, and allowance for the sale of used games will preserve physical distribution as a relevant part of the industry.
While traditional gaming will continue to account for nearly 75 percent of all gaming revenues, PwC said it will be eclipsed by social and casual gaming in some emerging market. South Africa, India, Indonesia, Singapore, and five other markets will see a majority of their gaming revenues come from non-traditional sources by 2019.
PwC also singled out the growth of cloud gaming, saying it will benefit greatly by a near-doubling in the number of smartphone connections worldwide.
"This connectivity means that, as with video and music streaming services, cloud streaming gaming services can begin delivering on their potential, but two things are needed: the right pricing model to both drive adoption and generate sufficient returns for platforms and publishers; and continuing investment in broadband and mobile Internet infrastructures to support the required response times for interactivity," the firm said.