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US Gaming Spend Is On Track for a Record Year

The NPD Group market research firm released a report this week showing Americans have already spent a lot of money on video games in 2018. Video game revenue from the first half of the year is 43 percent higher than the first half of 2017. In the first six months of 2018, the video game industry generated $19.5 billion, and it could be on track to crest $40 billion this year. According to earlier data, this means the U.S. gaming market is on track to see its biggest year since 2010, if not longer. 

According to NPD Group’s report, Americans spent $16.9 billion on software, which includes games, expansion packs and purchasable content, such as loot boxes and seasonal passes. Mobile games brought in the lion's share of the revenue and saw the most growth. Candy Crush is the big winner in the mobile world, and Roblox, with its 15 million gamers, is also holding a spot near the top. Meanwhile, a handful of AAA titles also lead the charge. NPD Group singled out Far Cry 5 and God of War as two of the biggest new releases so far this year, while last year’s battle royale titans—Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds—are still holding their own, thanks to loot sales. 

“Video game industry spending in the U.S. showed strong growth in the first half of 2018, with content sales driving performance across all platform segments, including mobile, console, portable and PC,” Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at NPD Group, said in a statement. “Hardware and accessories also reflected strong performance, while the evolving segment of subscription spending has experienced an accelerated growth rate.”

NPD Group attributed $1.7 billion to hardware sales, which is a seven-year high. The report tracks game consoles, portable gaming devices, PCs and peripherals. Gamers spent twice as much money on gaming headsets this year than they did last year. NPD Group does not track sales of individual graphics cards, though, so the hardware figure should be much higher.

NPD Group also shares information breaking down gamers' purchasing habits. According to the data, in the first half of this year 28 percent of people ages 13 to 54 purchased additional content for at least one game, and 55 percent of those people bought an expansion pack. Of those who purchased items through in-game microtransactions, 31 percent bought weapons or tools, and 28 percent bought power ups of some sort. Approximately 37 percent of people who made purchases did so to have fun, and eight percent bought items to save time. Most gamers spent approximately $53 over the last three months. People who play more than 10 hours per week tend to spend and average of $64 on extra content.

The Rest of 2018

NPD Group is “optimistic for the remainder of 2018.” The research firm believes it’s conceivable to see “double-digit annual percentage gains for the total market.” There are a handful of big titles scheduled for the coming months leading up to the holiday season, such as Forza Horizon 4, Battlefield V, Fallout 76 and Just Cause 4. 

If games and other related products continue to sell at this pace, it’s conceivable that U.S. gamers could dump more than $40 billion on video games and related items before the end of the year.

  • rssbailey
    Remember this is pre Tariff's #'s give it 6 months and im sure that the totals will be hit WAY harder!
    Reply
  • HyperMatrix
    "Approximately 37 percent of people who made purchases did so to have fun, and eight percent bought items to save time."

    So 55% of people bought it to get an advantage in the game. These in-game purchases, loot boxes, micro transactions, etc, have to be outlawed. Games are being engineered to trigger your brain the same way gambling addiction does. You end up paying for things that should have been designed as an enjoyable part of the game. And if you don't buy it, some others will. And then you'll be at a disadvantage. Lowering your enjoyment with the game.

    It's all based on greed. And manipulation.
    Reply
  • Druidsmark
    I spend lots each year on new games, additional content I usually only buy in special pc game bundle deals that include all the add on content for one low great price only.
    Reply
  • HyperMatrix
    21280363 said:
    I spend lots each year on new games, additional content I usually only buy in special pc game bundle deals that include all the add on content for one low great price only.

    I spend money buying cosmetics in games. Often a lot. Because those are just cosmetics. They have no impact on gameplay. My problem is that developers try to push “time savers” as they call it for real life money when there is no reason for them to charge money. They’re just taxing you. And again, the problem is that it gives an advantage to people who have money. Games used to be the great equalizers. Regardless of how rich or poor you were, all were equal in the game. But that’s been killed off now. Which is unfortunate. I’m an adult with a very healthy income. So I can more than afford to pay. But I still disagree with the business model very strongly.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    21280258 said:
    "Approximately 37 percent of people who made purchases did so to have fun, and eight percent bought items to save time."

    So 55% of people bought it to get an advantage in the game. These in-game purchases, loot boxes, micro transactions, etc, have to be outlawed. Games are being engineered to trigger your brain the same way gambling addiction does. You end up paying for things that should have been designed as an enjoyable part of the game. And if you don't buy it, some others will. And then you'll be at a disadvantage. Lowering your enjoyment with the game.

    It's all based on greed. And manipulation.

    I think fortnite does it perfectly. You don't need to spend any money in the game at all. The only reason to spend money is to outfit your character with new costumes, dances, a different looking glider and pickaxe(neither give any performance benefit). You can also get a battlepass which allows you to obtain those items faster.

    Most other games do it poorly, and it's alot like gambling. You pay for a loot box, and like a slot machine, you could get a big prize or small one.

    Reply
  • almarcy
    I bought a game, once, for myself. It was dead boring. I bought my first SSD. WOW! I love technology. Games are wonderful, if you enjoy them. The rest is just more politics. Dead dull BS.
    Reply