How Much Is the Gaming Industry Worth?

by Teodora Dobrilova | April 4, 2019

Once upon a time, in our very own galaxy, the first ever commercial arcade game Computer Space was released. It was a stepping stone and it had to prepare the world for what was to come – the video game mania.

The craze hit the world just a year later, in 1972, with the release of Pong, which was – you guessed it – an arcade version of ping pong. Since then, the video game industry has taken the world by storm and its revenue is only growing.

Which made us ask ourselves – how much is the gaming industry worth?

You’ve probably asked yourself the very same question.

We’ve got you covered.

How Much Is the Gaming Industry Worth? Think Billions

  • In 2018, the gaming industry generated almost $135 billion
  • That is a 10.9% growth in just a year
  • It marked a steady 10% growth for two years
  • It is expected to reach $180.1 billion by 2021
  • More than 2.5 billion people worldwide play games
  • eSports enjoy audience of around 456 million
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment’s estimated value is $13.4 billion

Those are some impressive numbers.
Let’s take a look at them chronologically.

1. The gaming industry made $116 billion in 2017.

(Source: VentureBeat)

That was estimated to be 10.7% growth from 2016. Mobile gaming revenues grew the most, with $50.4 billion. Esports have also made their mark in the video game market, and their revenue is expected to hit $2.5 billion by 2020. Console gaming revenue reached $33.3 billion and is followed by PC gaming, with $32.3 billion for 2017.

In 2018 those numbers exploded.

2. The gaming industry generated almost $135 billion in 2018.

(Source: Game Industry)

10.9% increase since 2017. Talk about steady growth.

Mobile gaming is the blossoming flower of the gaming market once again – $63.2 billion. Console gaming revenues inspire optimism too $38.3 billion for just a year. PC gaming didn’t register much movement, but there’s still some growth to be noted – it reached $33.4 billion in earnings.

Now we’re gonna use the Force to try and look in to the future.

Kidding, we’ve done our research.

3. Video game profits are expected to reach $180.1 billion in 2021.

(Source: VentureBeat)

We want to thank the star of our show – smartphones. We’ve already established that mobile gaming is taking over the world. Their part of the market share is expected to grow by 59%. PC games are predicted to generate $32.3 billion in profits in 2021 and to have 19% of the global games market. Console games, on the other hand, will get 22%.

Okay, that’s great.

But what type of video games do people play, and which are the most popular?

We have more surprises prepared for you. You know how your grandma just adores Solitaire? Well, she’s not the only one.

4. Casual and hyper-casual games rule the mobile gaming world.

(Source: GameSpace)

Puzzles, arcade, simulation, lifestyle and bingo-like games are all the craze, both among young and old alike.

Users like simple games that take little time to play. They’re also known as hyper-casual games, and include titles such as Love Balls and SpinUp Jump.

We asked Yoda to tell us how much the casual gaming industry’s worth is.

The bigger part of smartphone owners are in the puzzle games fanclub. They carry the golden laurel wreath with $3.8 billion profit in 2018. Arcade games are breathing down their necks though. They generated a 95% increase in revenue or $1.9 billion between 2017 and 2018. Those numbers, however, are expected to grow.

Fascinating, innit?

Let’s talk about Esports though.

What exactly are E-sport games? Techopedia defines them as “competitive first-person shooter games, large online multiplayer role-playing games, or even primitive logic or action games, as long as there is a competitive element.”  

Come on, ask us how popular they are and how much of the video gaming industry’s revenue do they generate. Please.

5. Global esports audience is expected to reach the total of 456 million.

(Source: Newzoo)

Venues can hardly hold everyone willing to attend. Overwatch and LoL leagues are even supposed to have their own venues built in the future. Even now, there are new esports arenas under construction – the LCK Esports Stadium in Seoul, Full Sail University’s arena in Florida and also one in Richmond, Canada.

We never thought we’d get those numbers when researching how much the gaming industry is worth.

Now that we’re aware of how many people are diehard esports fans, it is hardly astonishing that

6. Esports revenues are forecasted to reach $1.1 billion in 2019.

(Source: Game Industry)

Numbers are supposed to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. Predictions cite wildly different numbers about this one, though. Apparently, the best case scenario is they will be up to $3.2 billion. On the other hand, if things don’t go as planned, they might drop to the more humble $1.3 billion.

Doesn’t sound too humble to us, truth be told.

It’s important to mention there is money flowing towards the esports industry from advertising, sponsorships and media rights. We’re talking about huge brand investments.

Alright, now that we’ve had our fun here, time to take a trip to the PC gaming market world.

7. The Sims 3 is the best selling game worldwide.

(Source: WePC)

It has sold 7.95 million units as of January 2018. World of Warcraft comes second, with 6.3 million. Diablo III comes third not only in its series, but in ranking as well, with 5.23 million units sold.

8. Sony Interactive Entertainment is the richest video game company as of 2019.

(Source: The Daily Records)

It holds an estimated value of $13.4 billion – quite a big piece of the gaming market. Sony is the company behind PlayStation 1, 2, 3, and 4, along with PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita.

Microsoft Studios come right after them, with $12.82 million. They have created games for Xbox and Steam and are also the people responsible for Minecraft, Halo, Age of Empires and more of the widely known games.

Japanese giant Nintendo is third, with their estimated value being “just” $6.28 billion. They are responsible for the existence of the Nintendo Entertainment system, Nintendo Wii and Game Cube. You can also thank them for games like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon and Donkey Kong.

How about we now proceed to clear the stage for some of the lesser known names? After all, the indie gaming market deserves its 5 minutes of fame too.

Are you wondering what exactly does an indie game mean?

Indie comes from ‘independent’, meaning they don’t belong to any of the big sharks in the industry.

Popular titles in the indie game territory include Super Meat Boy, Furi, Bastion, Fez, Dead Cells and Celeste.

They have been on the market for a long time, overshadowed by the giants. Still, they are slowly and surely making a name for themselves.

And if we haven’t blown your mind with the size of the video game industry yet, then prepare for your jaw to hit the floor.

It turns out that the video game industry makes more money than Hollywood.

9. The profits from ticket sales are expected to reach $41.7 billion.

(Source: TechCrunch)

Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings even admitted he sees Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO. Seems like the new generation prefers actually partaking in the action, not just watching it on the screen.  

So, what’s the outtake from all of this?

The gaming craze is huge. The video game industry revenue is forecast to reach $180.1 billion in 2021. It marked a 10.7% growth between 2016 and 2017 and then a 10.9% between 2017 and 2018. Casual and hyper-casual games rule the mobile gaming world.

The Sims 3 is the Jedi master amongst PC games. Esports revenues should reach $1.1 billion in 2019. Sony Interactive Entertainment is the rich kid of the video game companies. As an industry, it is bigger than even Hollywood.


Did we manage to give you an answer to how much the gaming industry is worth? We are honestly surprised by all those big numbers and we hope you found them as entertaining as we did! Till next time!

  1. VentureBeat
  2. Game Industry
  3. VentureBeat 
  4. GameSpace
  5. Newzoo
  6. GameIndustry
  7. WePc
  8. The Daily Records
  9. TechCrunch
Teodora Dobrilova
Teodora Dobrilova
Devoted my whole life to words - reading, writing and trying to be original on social media. Got certified in digital marketing - still not cool enough to be an influencer. Finished a master’s degree focused in Literature, Publishing, Mass Media. Hobbies include traveling, reading and hoping that yoga will be the thing to finally teach me some patience. Would like to take over the world at some point, but that’s an optional dream. Maybe modern tech can help me do that?