US Video Game Industry Generates Highest Third Quarter Revenue in History

Port Washington, NY, Nov. 4, 2021 – According to the Q3 2021 Games Market Dynamics: U.S.* report from The NPD Group, overall total consumer spending on video gaming in the U.S. totaled $13.3 billion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 (July – Sept.), an increase of 7% when compared to Q3 2020, and the highest third quarter spend in history.

Gains were seen across PC, cloud and non-console VR content, mobile and subscription spending, as well as hardware. Console content and accessories experienced declines.

Overall content spending in Q3 reached $11.7 billion, an increase of 4%. Subscription content was the only content segment with double-digit percentage gains vs Q3 2020. Hardware posted a 60% increase, while accessories declined 1%.

Among the best-selling and most played games across all platforms in the third quarter were Among Us, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Warzone, Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Coin Master, FIFA 22, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Madden NFL 22, Mario Golf: Super Rush, Mario Kart 8, Minecraft, NBA 2K22, Pokémon Go, Roblox, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and The Sims 4.

Consumer spending on the video game segment continued to grow in the third quarter, driven by console hardware such as the PlayStation 5, Switch and Xbox Series, and the subscription and mobile content segments,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group. “While the market has seen a slight decline in the overall number of people playing video games, those that are playing are doing so for more hours, and spending more, than they did a year ago.”

Video game hardware sales were led by the Nintendo Switch, which was the quarter’s best-selling hardware platform in unit sales, and Sony’s PlayStation 5, which drove the highest hardware consumer spending in the period.

Data from Sensor Tower shows U.S. consumer spending in mobile games during the third quarter increased 9% from Q3 2020. It marked the third consecutive quarter where spend in the category surpassed $6 billion, and the fourth to exceed that amount in total consumer expenditure since Q2 2020.

“Mobile game user acquisition continues to face headwinds amid tightening access to crucial targeting data, but the category as a whole is showing no signs of constriction where consumer spending is concerned,” said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. “Despite new installs showing a generally downward trend after reaching a high point in Q2 2020, spending continues to benefit from the influx of consumers that drove record adoption at the time. Mid-core titles such as Clash of Clans, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Genshin Impact have been the greatest beneficiaries as of Q3 2021, showing the highest growth in per-player spending among the four main classes of mobile games we track.”

Methodology: Games Market Dynamics: U.S. provides a comprehensive measure of the consumer spend on video games in the U.S. including purchases of video games hardware, content, and accessories. It is released on a quarterly basis and provides insight and trending into the broader consumer spend on the industry including physical format sales such as new and used physical retail sales as well as game rentals, and digital format sales including full game digital downloads and downloadable content (DLC), spending on subscriptions and mobile gaming. This assessment of the broader consumer spend on the industry utilizes NPD’s monthly POS tracking services as well as consumer data from other NPD trackers, monitors, and reports.

*Accessory sales exclude game cards

About Sensor Tower, Inc.

Sensor Tower is the leading provider of market intelligence and insights for the global app economy. Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, CA, Sensor Tower provides enterprise-level data on mobile apps and publishers through our Store Intelligence, Ad Intelligence, Usage Intelligence, and App Intelligence platforms, which offer download, revenue, share of voice, and engagement metrics at unparalleled accuracy for the world’s most important markets. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @sensortower.

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