Games market in 2020 and what to expect in 2021

2020 was extremely successful year for games and game market globally. Due to the worldwide lockdown people have been playing, and spending more money to games – more than ever. Mobile games are clearly the biggest winner, with $12.4 billion growth of revenue to pre-Covid times. The total revenue of mobile games in 2020 was $86,9 billion and is expected to rise to $90,7 billion in 2021 (Picture 1). (Wijman 2021a; Wijman 2021b.)

Image displays the global games market per device and segment.
Image 1. According to Newzoo  94% of the games in 2020 were played on mobile devices. In 2021 mobile game revenue is expected to cover little over half (52%) of the overall market of $175.8.billion.  (Newzoo 2021)

2020 was also a good year for the Finnish game industry, at least when we look at the turnover that was 9% higher than in 2019. For the sixth year in row Finnish games and game companies made over €2 billion, the exact turnover being €2,4 billion. Also, the number of Finnish game companies with a turnover of more than €1 million rise from 34 in 2018 to 46 studios in 2020. The number of companies with €100 million turnover or more, rose from 2 in 2018 to 4 in 2020. Mobile game development has strong footing in Finland and majority of the revenue comes from mobile game companies like Superscell, Rovio, Small Giant Games, Seriously and Next Games. (Neogames 2021, 16, 24, 30; Lappalainen 2021.) 

There are also downsides. In 2020 the number of active game studios has dropped, and it’s expected that due to COVID-19 and significant cuts in different support systems in Finland the launch of new companies will be modest. At it’s peak year, 2014 there were 260 game companies in Finland, the number has steadily dropped year to year and in 2020 there were total of 200 game studios. (Neogames 2021, 21, 24, 30.)

Director of Neogames, Koopee Hiltunen, introducing the financial outlook the Finnish game Industry. (Play Finland 2021)

Rising trends to keep an eye on

COVID-19 lockdown forced companies to innovate and game industry is no exception. During the 2020 games have had even greater meaning in people’s social life than before, and the games and game worlds are evolving to be much more than before. In 2020 when live events were nearly impossible to organize the concerts and events went to the existing online game worlds. There has been a virtual music festival inside Minecraft and concert series with 27.7 million participants in Fortnite. (Ombler 2020.)

Games have already offered a social platform for the players to congregate and the next step might be that they turn into a Metaverse. Metaverse is one, shared virtual space where people assemble to access user generated content. Roblox is a good example of a metaverse. The concept of Metaverse is still new, and something that is still been discussed and defined deeper. (James et al. 2021; Wijman 2021a)

Image 2. The consumer behavior has been exceptional during this time, so only time will tell which of these trends are here to stay. (Vaitkevich 2020)

It also seems that people are migrating towards mobile gaming and the rise of browser games is similarly expected. The COVID-19 lockdown affected Asian PC-gaming scene extremely negatively when the PC cafes were closed. Not everyone has the possibility to invest in expensive gaming hardware nor space for them, but they still enjoy the type of games played with that type of devices. Similarly, global issues in gaming hardware manufacturing and software development are affecting the interest. (James et al. 2021; Wijman 2021a).

Author

Ria Gynther works as a RDI Specialist at the LAB University of Applied Sciences, more specifically in the Baltic Explorers game industry project. She is also the Vice Chair of IGDA Finland

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References

James, C., Shah, P., Barth, M., Sehgal, S. & Bergel, S. 2021. Beyond Games: The Investor View. Panel at Beyond Games -conference. 12.5.2021.   

Lappalainen, E. 2021. Selvitimme, miten Suomen suurimmilla peliyhtiöillä menee: Koronakevät on ollut kova, mutta voittajiakin on. Talouselämä. [Cited 21 June 2021]. Available at: https://www.talouselama.fi/uutiset/selvitimme-miten-suomen-suurimmilla-peliyhtioilla-menee-koronakevat-on-ollut-kova-mutta-voittajiakin-on/9debee13-e586-444c-b682-8b171ebafb1e

Neogames. 2021. The Game Industry of Finland Report 2020. [Cited 21 June 2021]. Available at: https://neogames.fi/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/FGIR-2020-Report.pdf

Ombler, M. 2020. Are video games the future of live music? Gamesindustry.biz. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-06-10-are-video-games-the-future-of-live-music 

Wijman, T. 2021a. The Current Landscape of the Global Games Market. Superstar Session at Beyond Games -conference. 10.5.2021.   

Wijman, T. 2021b. Global Games Market to Generate $175.8 Billion in 2021; Despite a Slight Decline, the Market Is on Track to Surpass $200 Billion in 2023. Newzoo. [Cited 10 May 2021]. Available at:  https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/global-games-market-to-generate-175-8-billion-in-2021-despite-a-slight-decline-the-market-is-on-track-to-surpass-200-billion-in-2023/

Links

Link 1. Wikipedia. 2021. Metaverse. [Cited 10 May 2021]. Available at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaverse

Link 2. Baltic Explorers. 2020. About us. [Cited 10 May 2021]. Available at: https://balticexplorers.eu/

Link 3. IGDA Finland. 2021. About us. [Cited 10 May 2021]. Available at: https://www.igda.fi/about-us

Images

Image 1. Newzoo. 2021. Global_Games_Market_Per_Segment_2021. [Cited 10 May 2021]. Available at:  https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/global-games-market-to-generate-175-8-billion-in-2021-despite-a-slight-decline-the-market-is-on-track-to-surpass-200-billion-in-2023/

Image 2. Vaitkevich, N. 2020. 6120177. Pexels. [Cited 21 June 2021]. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/fi-fi/kuva/markkinointi-sininen-internet-kirjoittaminen-6120177/

Videos

Play Finland. 2021. The Game Industry of Finland 2020 – Financial Outlook. YouTube. [Cited 21 June 2021]. Available at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5SDi94l4LA

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