In 2017, the Asia-Pacific was the largest regional market for digital gaming but in the present scenario funding in European gaming firms by Chinese acquirers are primarily driving the European market.
Market scope and segmentation
Based on platforms
PC games Mobile games
Based on revenue models
Freemium Pay-to-play Advertising
Based on regions
North America Europe Asia-Pacific Latin America The Middle
PC games are installed and played using a personal
computer. These include the following:
• Web games which are played using an
Internet browser or on social networks like
• CD/digitally downloaded games which are
either purchased through online or offline
retail channels, as well as downloaded from
websites such as Steam.
Mobile games are games played on smartphones
(iPhones/Android enabled phones, etc.) and tablets
(iPads, Android-enabled tablets, etc.).
Console games are played using consoles such as
PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Wii. For market
estimation the revenues generated from gaming
content have been taken into consideration,
The global digital gaming market comprises PC games, mobile games and console games. The revenue generated from the sale of software, content and hardware for these segments have
been taken into consideration.
2014 2017 2022
• Game development companies are considering digital distribution as the preferred distribution channel compared to physical
distribution. Digital distribution allows gamers to purchase and download digital content for different gaming platforms.
• Increasing adoption of eSports especially in the Asia-Pacific has bolstered growth of the gaming industry. Currently, eSports is one of
the major areas that gaming companies are willing to invest in.
• Gaming studios are focusing on monetizing content through in-app and in-game purchases by utilizing the developed communication
software and virtual credits.
• Inclusion of women and non-millennial gamers is a major focus for many gaming companies including Electronic Arts (EA).
• Increase in consumer spending in games, high interest in eSports, AR/VR games, and digitally downloadable content are driving the
market in North America.
• Funding in European gaming firms, particularly by Chinese acquirers are primarily driving the European gaming market. Data from the
biggest merger and acquisition transactions between 2013–2017 shows that European gaming studios accounted for 70% of the
value, out of which 55% came from the Chinese acquirers.
• In the Asia-Pacific region, improvement in technology and rapid shift of consumers from 2G to 4G have resulted in increased user
base for digitally-downloadable gaming content and other live game formats such as massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and
• The size of installations, regular updates and patches for each game requires a lot of memory space and physical storage still remains a challenge.
• Piracy is a major challenge for PC games especially in the developing countries where regulations are not strong.
• Low Internet penetration and speed in regions such as South Asia may hurt the rising market of digitally downloadable games despite high
demand in the region. With speeds of 3.5 Mb/s and 4.2Mb/s respectively, India and Philippines are lagging way behind the developed markets like
the United States (U.S.), which had an average speed of 16.3 Mb/s in 2016.
• The global digital gaming market is forecasted to have a significant growth, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of
18.98% to reach USD 272.24 Bn in 2022.
• The mobile gaming segment is the largest segment - having generated USD 35.49 Bn in 2016 - followed by console and PC games.
• The overall purchasing trend has gradually shifted from brick and mortar stores towards digital purchases. Physical stores still exist as
they provide heavy discounts, and some of the gamers are keen to own boxed collections.
Global market overview
The global digital gaming market is forecasted to have a significant growth with a CAGR of 18.98% to reach USD 272.2 Bn in 2022, a little less than triple the 2016 revenue of USD XX Bn. In
2016, the global mobile gaming segment was the largest segment, generating USD XX Bn, followed by console and PC games.
2014 2015 2016
2017E 2018F 2019F 2020F 2021F 2022F
Global historical market revenue (USD Bn) Global forecasted market revenue (USD Bn)
CAGR (2014-2016): XX%
CAGR (2017-2022): 18.97%
Geography-wise market revenue (USD Bn)
• The rise in the number of global active gamers (1.8 Bn in 2014
to 2.1 Bn in 2016), increased proliferation of Internet (from
~44% in 2015 to ~51% in 2016) as well as smartphone
penetration (~33% in 2015 to ~37% in 2016), and introduction
of new technologies in gaming such as augmented reality (AR)
and virtual reality (VR) are driving the digital gaming market.
• Population within the age group of 12–35 years have higher
propensity to purchase consoles and mobile devices. They are
also interested in buying gaming products using the digital
• With the offline retailing market shrinking due to slower sale
of consoles, the speciality retailers will reduce their footprint.
However, there will still be a certain section of gamers who
prefer brick and mortar shops since they provide heavy
discounts. Online behemoths, such as Amazon, are leveraging
its physical footprint to capture the offline channel. Recently,
they have acquired GameStop, a leading retailer in games.
2016: USD XX Bn
2022:USD XX Bn
2016:USD XX Bn
2022:USD XX Bn
2016:USD XX Bn
2022:USD XX Bn
2016:USD XX Bn
Global market trends
Digital distribution: Delivering games digitally instead of
distributing the same via retail/physical channels is the most
prominent trend at present. In digital distribution, the barriers
to entry are significantly lowered. Leading gaming companies
have created their own platforms for digital distribution, such
as Steam, Origin, and Xbox Live Marketplace, using which
gamers purchase and download digital content for different
Use of communication software and virtual credits:
Games are now being equipped with message and video
applications to allow smooth communication among the
players in between. The gaming studios presently focus on
monetizing content by enabling a virtual credit system for
sale of downloadable digital content within the game, or
in-game purchases like buying a new avatar, purchase of
extra levels, etc. This is becoming a key source of revenue
for mobile games.
Adoption of AR and VR technologies: AR and VR are actively
being made available to customers at affordable prices. VR is
relevant for games where the gaming experience is of primary
importance. On the other hand, AR games have relevant real-
world content and are easily implementable. Its success is visible
from the popularity of Pokémon Go and Night Terrors.
Adoption of eSports: eSports is a form of competitive video
game where players compete with each other in an online or
live environment for a large number of viewers. The most
common genres of video game associated with eSports are
real-time strategy, combat, first-person shooter (FPS),
and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). Currently,
eSports is one of the major areas that gaming companies are
willing to invest in, as the eSports market revenue rose more
than four times between 2013 and 2016, and could almost
triple again by 2021.
Women and non-millennial gamers: There has been
a massive change in the number of
female gamers since earlier times. Since 2010,
female gamers make up around half of the global
gamers. In the U.S., a leading gaming country, the
average age of gamers is 37. Also, 31% of the video
game playing population comprises adult women,
while only 18% are boys below 18 years of age.
Mobile games are gaining importance: More gamers are
turning to smartphones and tablets for entertainment,
thereby facilitating digital distribution. Entry barriers in the
mobile gaming industry are also lower than other platforms.
As a result, major companies are investing in mobile games. In
2016, Activision Blizzard completed acquisition of King Digital
Entertainment to expand its opportunities in mobile gaming.
7. Top 10 Console games
Top 10 Mobile games
Top 10 PC games
Role - playing action Shooter Sports Strategy
Top 3 games
League of Legends
Dungeon Fighter Online
Westward Journey Online II
Call of Duty: WWII
Madden NFL 18
Candy Crush Saga
Clash of Clans
Top games based on genres for major platforms
Distribution channel analysis (2013-2016)
Since the dawn of the broadband Internet era, the landscape of the game
distribution channel has changed over the years. Major gaming companies
like EA, Take-Two, Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft are increasingly shifting
away from the retail distribution channel to the digital distribution channel.
Clearly, digital distribution is a common growth strategy for the top players as
it allows companies or individuals to make their products available to
consumers at a minimal price (with manufacturing and distribution cost
This is allowing digital game producers to focus more on story and content
development, crucial for the success of a game.
By leveraging digital distribution channels, gaming companies are launching
titles, which were previously available only on PCs and gaming consoles, such
as FIFA, Madden NFL, The Sims, SimCity, and Star Wars across mobile
platforms, as well as free, downloadable versions for PCs.
In addition to developers and publishers, digital distribution benefits
consumers by enabling them to buy/play the games online without having to
purchase it through any retailer. They can download the games directly
through websites such as Steam and Origin.
The share of the retail distribution channel for the big four companies has fallen
while the digital distribution channel has gained prominence. In 2015, the revenues
from both the channels of distribution were almost equal, while in 2016 it became
clear that the future of the market is in the hands of games downloaded over the
Internet and not so much in those bought via retailers.
Distribution channel analysis: four major companies
2014 2015 2016
Note: the graph represents the value
in USD Bn
Total Paid Players
Paying players’ share – based on platform
Console Mobile PC
The maximum share of paid gamers
are accounted for in console games.
Of the total number of paid players,
36% are paying for console games,
while within the set of console
gamers, a whopping 73% actually
make in-game purchases on console
games. The demand for console
games comes from developed
regions like North America and
Europe, where propensity to spend
on paid games is much higher due to
the high purchasing power in the
Though there are about 1.9
Bn mobile gamers globally,
only 20% of the global
mobile gamers spend
money on pay-to-play
games and make in-app
purchases. Of this 20%, the
maximum share of gamers
come from the Asia-Pacific
region, followed by North
America and Europe.
Out of about 1.2 Bn unique PC
gamers, only 35% of the gamers
pay for the games. The major PC
gaming portals such as Steam
and Origin often allow users to
play games over the Internet
(digitally) for free. Also, piracy is
a very big challenge for paid PC
games. For most of the paid PC
games a pirated version is easily
available, resulting in reduced
spending by players, and
In 2017, out of the 2.3 Bn active gamers in the world, 56% (i.e. 1.2 Bn gamers) spent money on in-
game purchases, and generated global digital gaming revenue worth USD 114.20 Bn, up 22% from
the 2016 revenue of USD 93.89 Bn.
Global digital gaming market – based on players per platform
North America - market overview
XX XX XX XX XX XX
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
CAGR (2017-2022): 11.4%
Market revenue (USD Bn)
In the U.S., total consumer expenditure on video gaming
has increased rapidly in the past few years at ~16.48%
With the introduction of events like eSports, supported by
astounding Internet connectivity at 14-17 Mb/s as on 2016,
the U.S. stands as a major market for development of digital
Gaming is becoming a key contributor Canada’s GDP. It
now has approximately 600 active video gaming studios.
Along with mass employment generation, these firms
contributed about USD 4 Bn to the country’s GDP in 2016.
• Higher disposable income has a direct impact on the sale of
digital games. The growth in real median income of the U.S.
households, based on the average age of family members,
has increased from 3.2% to 4.3% in 15-24 years age group
and from 2.9% to 5.6% in the 25-34 years age group during
2014-2015. Thus, the average income of the target market
has increased rapidly. Average annual wage in the U.S. stood
at USD 60,154 purchasing power parity (FY2016), and is
ranked among the highest.
• With Internet penetration reaching 88% in the region, the
average time spent by an adult using digital media has
increased from 2.7 hours/day to 5.6 hours/day (2008-2015).
Mobile Internet usage has increased from <1 hour/day in
2010 to ~3 hours/day in 2015. About 70% of time spent on
digital media is accounted for by mobiles. Therefore, the
propensity to install or play games has also increased.
• The consumer spending on gaming has increased rapidly in
the past few years, expanding at a CAGR of 16% (2014–2016)
in the U.S. In addition, high interest in eSports, AR/VR games,
and digital downloadable content are driving the growth in
• The scope of further development of the market is low with an
already high smartphone penetration in Canada (70%) and the U.S.
(69%), ranked 6th and 7th respectively. Thus, year-on-year (YOY)
growth in certain gaming segments may face stagnation.
• In the U.S., 66.5% of females and 85.8% of males work for more
than 40 hours a week. As a result, with increasing working hours,
there has been a reduction in time spent on gaming.
• Time spent by youth on social media has seen an increase
(Facebook now has 89% penetration), implying that less time may
be spent on playing games, which would affect the U.S. digital
Company overview: Electronic Arts
Company snapshot Key numbers (2016)
Major game titles
• Year of establishment: 1982
• Headquarters: California, USA
• Key people: Larry Probst (Chiarman)
Andrew Wilson(Chief Executive Officer)
• Employee strength: 9,300
• Website: www.ea.com
• North America
• Swiss Legal Entities
• Army of Two
• Star Wars
• Medal of Honour
• EA Cricket
• Dragon Age
• EA wants to invest in business models where users engage more in
their areas of interest, and that is why it is focusing on eSports. In
2018, EA launched the eChampions League in collaboration with the
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to connect with
millions of football fans around the world.
• EA believes in business growth through diversification and inclusive
playing. It introduced women soccer players for the first time in 2016
in its FIFA series to attract female gamers around the world.
• Net revenues: USD 4.3 Bn
• Net margin (%): 26.3
• Gross margin (%): 69.2
• RoA (%): 17.5
• RoE (%): 35.9
Digital revenue (2016)
USD 2.4 Bn
Note: indie game, or independent video game, is a video game that is often
created without the financial support of a publisher
• In October 2017, Visceral Games became one of the indie
studios among the many like Origin Systems, Bullfrog
Productions, Mythic Entertainment, etc. to be shut down
• In October 2017, EA announced its first eWorld Cup where
there would be a series of qualifying tournaments for
players and they would compete for their spot in the
• In November 2017, EA introduced women soccer players in
FIFA 2016, which previously had only male players.
• In August 2017, EA teamed up with NFL to launch Madden
EFL eSports tournament.
• In December 2015, EA decided to invest in eSports with
the launch of a competitive game division headed by Peter
Moore (Chief Operating Officer), as they estimated the
revenue from eSports to add about 20% to 30% to their
earnings per share over the next few years.
The study begins with identifying the right research question(s). The question depends on what we are going to achieve by conducting the research or what we want
to convey to the prospective customers through this research. Next we identify the logical steps to arrive at the answers to the question(s). These logical steps form
our research objectives. The research objectives provide us a guideline regarding what information we need to conduct analysis. We strongly believe that clear
objectives will lead to clear results about the given market
The next stage of the research is conducted utilizing the secondary sources of information, process called desk/secondary research. Netscribes Inc. has a considerable
volume of information in both quantitative and qualitative forms, across all major industries and its sectors. Also, we conduct in-depth study of the market,
understanding its key stakeholders, drivers, trends, challenges and opportunities globally covering major regions such as North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia
Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. The key sources consumed for these research include (but not limited to) the following:
Financial reports published by the key market players
Government and other official sources including the National Statistics
National and International trade associations
Other reliable sources
The qualitative and quantitative findings from the above stages are brought together by specialists to perform a rigorous analysis. The regional market trends, drivers,
and opportunities obtained during the analysis is compared with regional economic indicators, sector growth rates, population index, etc. to ensure the data
consistency. After ensuring the consistency, these historical and present indicators help us to understand how the market will perform in future. Our proprietary
forecasting model factors in all these indicators to predict the future market accurately.
Primary research complements the secondary research, as and when required, as it helps us to gain insights from the industries directly by communicating with the
senior executives, key opinion leaders and independent consultants who are experts in their industries or specific industry sectors. Such interviews are conducted
across the value chain of the market in question. A survey questionnaire is usually prepared for conducting any primary interview or survey. The questionnaire is
developed with utmost care to fulfil the key research objectives and also to validate the assumptions about the market. This supplements the information otherwise
unaddressed via secondary research. The primary data collection is done by expert interviewers who have specific industry knowledge. Linguists are hired to conduct
interviews in the respondent’s native language. Some of the primary research methods applied at Netscribes include the following:
About Netscribes Inc.
Netscribes provides end-to-end research-driven solutions that help clients meet their growth objectives by collaboratively transforming information into business advantage.
In-house research Data visualizationGlobal coveragePanel expertise Premium databases
We utilize an in-house
resource model to provide
our clients with actionable
Specialized panel of senior
executives, analysts and
Extensive experience of
working on various premium
Ability to conduct research
across the globe in multiple
Ability to present complex
data insights in crisp, easy-to-
Venture-funded by US
equity firm Helix
700+ member delivery
team across Mumbai,
Kolkata and Gurgaon,
and sales presence in
Singapore and the USA
– Inrea Research
– Research on
https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/entertainment-media/publications/global-entertainment-media-outlook/segment-highlights.html (segments of media and entertainment industry)
http://www.bbc.com/sport/39119995 audience number
Annual Reports of EA, T2, etc
https://qz.com/780475/us-census-bureau-real-median-household-income-saw-the-largest-recorded-increase-in-history-in-2015-rising-5-2-almost-3000/ (1st driver)
https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=AV_AN_WAGE (1st driver)
http://www.lsainsider.com/study-us-adult-daily-time-spent-with-digital-media-grows-2-5-hours-in-5-years/archives#sthash.OQaF4ODf.dpbs (2nd driver)
https://marketingland.com/mobile-now-accounts-nearly-70-digital-media-time-comscore-210094 (2nd driver)
www.reuters.com%2Farticle%2Fus-usa-economy-idUSKBN1810BZ&usg=AOvVaw0ZYNy07sFB6CbkIoFmPYWv (3rd driver)
http://theesa.ca/2017/11/01/strong-video-game-new-report/ ( 3rd TREND)
Essential facts report 2015 and 2017 calculated for 1st trend
Wikipedia search esports started in California. And internet speed in USA (https://www.fastmetrics.com/internet-connection-speed-by-country.php)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_smartphone_penetration (challenge 1)
https://www.creditloan.com/blog/the-state-of-the-40-hour-workweek/ (challenge 2)
https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/ (challenge 3) important site for data on usa