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The games market in 2023 is ‘one for the history books’ – for good and bad

Top image: Baldur’s Gate 3 by Larian Studios

It’s time to look back at what the year 2023 has meant for the games industry. It’s a year with two faces: one, a blockbuster-filled period with many titles competing for the Game of the Year crown, and the other, the harsh reality of over 9,000 people losing their jobs. According to Newzoo, this year ‘is one for the video game history books’. The research company has shared its end-of-year data which you can check out in more detail here.

After last year’s negative growth (a ‘corrective year’ after the highs of the corona-era) the games market has bounced back. Newzoo now forecasts that the global games market will generate $184.0 billion in 2023, growing +0.6% year on year. They expect to cross that magic $200 billion mark by 2026. The number of players worldwide is set to reach 3.38 billion in 2023, growing by +6.3% year on year. Player growth in emerging regions continues to drive the global number of players up. 

Biggest performer

This year’s biggest performer in terms of growth is the download/boxed PC games segment. It shows a year on year growth of 5.2% to $38.4 billion, or 21% of the total games market. According to Newzoo, the PC games market also felt the positive effect of premium releases this year, even while live-service games are the primary revenue driver on PC. Console gaming will generate $53.2 billion, growing by +1.9% year on year. 

Meanwhile mobile gaming keeps struggling a bit. Although it still generates about half of all revenues ($90.4 billion), results were down again -1,6% year on year. VR gaming also has a hard time keeping players engaged. While the VR install base is growing steadily and will reach 30.8 million by the end of 2023 (+15.6% year-on-year), revenues this year are down to $1.3 billion.

Looking at the top earners this year, we see that the top 10 public game companies by revenues generated $54 billion in the first half of 2023. That accounts for nearly 30% of the entire market’s revenues all year. If the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s revenues are combined, Microsoft will jump over Sony to the #2 spot. 

Eric Bartelson
Eric Bartelson
Editor-in-Chief of PreMortem.Games. Veteran game journalist for over 20 years. Started out in 1999 for game magazines (yes the ones made of paper) such as PC Zone Benelux, PlayNation and GameQuest, before co-founding Dutch industry paper Control Magazine.
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