According to ESA and The NPD Group, 211 million American gamers propelled video gaming revenues 18 percent higher in 2018 to $43.8 billion compared to 2017.
Annual spending on accessories increased 33 percent during the same period, to a record $4.5 billion. The 2018 Entertainment Software Association report, “Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry,” found that 64 percent of households own a video game device and 60 percent play video games every day.
New titles and installments from top developers, Nintendo, Valve, Rockstar Games, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony, and others continue to drive improvement in game sales. Statistica reported that over half of game content is now downloaded. Console and PC sales are growing.
Online video gaming is becoming a cultural phenomenon attracting a broader audience. Epic Games’ “Fortnite Battle Royale” garnered 125 million players in under a year generating revenues of hundreds of millions per month. Over a million people watched the “’Fortnite” Pro-Am tournament at the E3 games festival last June. The Netflix January shareholder letter stated, “We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO.”
A rapidly emerging trend is the growth of organized competitive computer gaming (a.k.a. eSports). eSports revenues are expected to top $1 billion this year. Revenues come primarily from sponsorships and advertising in addition to eSports betting, prize pools, tournaments, merchandise and ticket sales. Major sponsors include Coca-Cola, Intel, Airbus, Microsoft, Sony, Master Card, Mercedes, Red Bull, Google, Twitch and Audi.
Last year the top 10 eSports’ prize pools awarded $130 million to teams playing “DOTA 2,” “Counter-Strike,” “Fortnite,” “League of Legends,” and others. The “League of Legends” 2018 World Championship included teams from 24 countries and drew 200 million viewers. The 2022 Asia Games eSports medal event may pave the way for later full Olympic status.
The non-profit National Association of Collegiate Esports has over 130 member schools with 3,000 student gaming athletes, who have received $15 million in scholarships and aid. Other universities offering gaming scholarships include UC Irvine, University of Utah, and Robert Morris University. USC, NYU, Drexel, Electronic Arts and ESA are a few of the institutions and organizations awarding scholarships for degrees in game design.
As more players are exposed to new gaming technology and eSports entertainment, increased category participation and purchases are anticipated. The rapid growth of video gaming provides an opportunity for electronics retailers to offer related accessories. Consider expanding your gaming section to include headsets, wireless controllers, keyboards, headphones, and WR headsets.
The growing number of gaming accessory exhibitors at CES this year supports this approach. PC gamers with limited living spaces are purchasing dedicated gaming chairs with speakers and gaming desks designed with features like LED illumination, storage, and height adjustment.
Be prepared to participate in the expanding cultural online gaming trend as eSports, new video game titles and improved hardware drive accessory purchases. Retailers who act now will be better positioned to profit from the increased awareness and participation.
See also: Credibility Is King In eSports Marketing