The Latin American games market is the second fastest growing sector in the world, a new report from Newzoo has found.
This year, the region - which includes Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in Newzoo's report - will have generated $4.1bn in video game revenues, a year-on-year rise of 20 percent. It puts to bed concerns over the countries' recent economic challenges. In total there are 110m gamers across the region. The revenue figure puts Latin America just behind Southeast Asia in terms of games market growth worldwide.
As an emerging market, Latin America is unique in that it boasts a growing console segment, with a nine percent increase year-on-year in terms of revenue. Newzoo states that the newer machines (Xbox One and PlayStation 4) are growing, although it is cheaper, older (and more easily pirated) formats that remain the most popular - PS2, for instance, is still more widely used than the PS4 in Argentina, while Xbox 360 is the most popular machine in Brazil.
Mobile, however, remains the fastest growing video games segment, up by almost 56 per cent year-on-year. In total, $1.4bn will be generated by mobile games by the end of the year, which puts it on par with PC (which also sits on $1.4bn) and just slightly ahead of console (which generated $1.3bn, according to Newsoo's estimates).
This year, Newzoo's report includes Argentina for the first time, and this region is slightly different to Brazil in terms of consumer spending habits on console games.
70 per cent of Brazilian gamers play Xbox or PlayStation titles (39 percent of which actually spends money on these products), wheras that figure sits at just 59 percent in Argentina (with 31 percent spending money). Almost three quarters of console gamers in Argentina are men, whereas in Brazil female gamers make up about 40 per cent of console players, driven partially by Nintendo formats. Therefore, publishers and developers cannot treat both markets as the same when looking to capitalise on this growing part of the business.
Unsurprisingly, FIFA is the most popular game in both Argentina and Brazil, which are both big footballing nations - although Brazil's female users are more fond of Super Mario. Interestingly, Assassin's Creed ranks highly in Brazil at No.2, whereas Call of Duty is the second biggest franchise in Argentina.
Also note in the graph below how widely different the age demographics of console players are within both regions.
In Argentina PlayStation is by far the most dominant platform, particularly PS3, whereas the situation is reversed in Brazil as Xbox 360 continues to hold a strong presence. However, there is a shift occurring here, as PS4 is more popular in Brazil than Xbox One.
In terms of looking ahead, Newzoo estimates that by 2019, Latin America's mobile revenues will be as high as PC and console revenues combined. However, consoles will have a place, and Newzoo suggests that Nintendo Switch and the rise of virtual reality may have a positive impact within the console space over the next three years.