Gaming will be a $100 billion industry for the first time this year, according to a new report from Superdata. The research firm says worldwide games and interactive media revenue for 2017 will be up almost 12% this year to $104.6 billion.
Superdata expects the industry to continue posting double-digit percentage growth gains through 2020, when it projects the global market to bring in $168.8 billion in revenue. The firm defines the field as not just games, but also eSports, gaming video content on platforms like Twitch and YouTube, and the emerging fields of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
Naturally, the firm expects the emerging fields to grow at a much faster clip than the traditional gaming market. Superdata is particularly bullish on VR (despite its repeated downgrading of expectations last year), projecting this year will see revenues in the VR market more than double from $1.8 billion to $3.7 billion. By 2020, Superdata expects the worldwide VR market to reach $28.3 billion, with software revenues outpacing hardware for the first time, $16.2 billion to $12.1 billion.
Elsewhere, Superdata said gaming accounts for 70% of VR software revenue, and 2020 will see players spend a total of $4.5 billion on "immersive gaming" as a whole. When asked how those numbers fit with a $16.2 billion spend on VR software alone, a Superdata representative told GamesIndustry.biz that the larger number includes all applications, and ultimately "VR gaming is going to be pretty niche."
[UPDATE]: Superdata has since said the 70% figure was a "mistitle," and that gaming accounts for almost half of VR software revenue. Additionally, the $4.5 billion figure is for VR gaming only. [END UPDATE]
Finally, Superdata covered the growing market for gaming video content through platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Superdata put the global audience for gaming on those two sites as 517 million and 185 million, respectively. Superdata put the total global audience for gaming video content at 665 million, which it pointed out is twice the size of the US population.
The firm emphasized that even though Twitch's audience is far smaller than that of YouTube, it still has a larger audience than platforms like ESPN (90 million subscribers), HBO (134 million), Netflix (93 million), or Spotify (100 million). Furthermore, the report warned that companies who ignore game video content as an advertising platform in favor of legacy media are missing a huge and growing audience; 8% of the US population has broadband internet but no cable TV subscription, according to Superdata. And just among those who watch gaming video content in the US, 20% have broadband but no cable TV.