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Mobile games to see the least negative impact from COVID-19

Newzoo: All platforms will see growth, but low barrier to entry and simpler development will bolster mobile

As the games industry begins to see the financial impacts -- for better or worse -- of COVID-19, the ways in which the pandemic affects the different segments of the industry are coming to light.

According to Newzoo's latest 2020 Global Games Market update, the industry will reach revenues of $159 billion -- up 9% year-over-year -- in 2020, largely driven by both next-gen consoles and the effects of COVID-19.

Because the pandemic is keeping people inside, all types of games are seeing surges in engagement, though none quite so much as mobile. Newzoo predicts that mobile revenues will reach $77.2 billion in 2020, up 13% year-over-year as they see a bigger bolster from stay-at-home orders than either PC or console gaming.

That's because, Newzoo continues, mobile games have a low barrier to entry, can serve as an alternative to PC gaming cafes, and development of them is less complex -- making them less likely to suffer delays.

The analytics firm predicts there will be 2.6 billion mobile gamers in 2020, though only 38% will actually be paying for their games, and it expects a noticeable mobile exodus once COVID-19 restrictions lift due to the low barrier of both entry and exit.

Console gaming, meanwhile, is expected to grow almost 7% year-over-year to $45.2 billion, with over 729 million total players in 2020.

Newzoo expects both engagement and revenues will grow, but development impacts of COVID-19 resulting in game delays and scope scale-downs will prevent console gaming from seeing the same gains as mobile.

Finally, Newzoo predicts that PC gaming will grow almost 5% year-over-year to $36.9 billion in 2020, with 1.3 billion players.

The growth will be, as with the other gaming segments, due to lockdown measures. However, Newzoo notes that PC will see little impact from new releases, with both physical distribution being a non-issue and because new releases rarely impact PC market growth -- the top PC games generally top charts for several years at a time.

Finally, Newzoo predicts the global gaming market will exceed $200 billion by the end of 2023.

Image credit: Newzoo

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Rebekah Valentine avatar
Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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