With COVID-19 rampaging across the globe, 2020 was a tough year economically for many industries. But one shining light in that otherwise dismal time for investors and the rest of us was video games. Whether you saddled up to the Animal Crossing craze or just doubled down on your normal routine, 2020 was a boom year for video games as a cultural force and as a way to make money.
An industry that is no stranger to success, many people questioned whether the particularly heady times that were 2020 were a fluke or part of a larger trend wherein gaming is coming of age, so to speak, as an industry.
Well, 2021 could be the answer to that question as analysts are not only predicting another awesome year for console makers and publishers but also one that could top 2020’s record-breaking numbers.
So what is buoying such optimism? Mainly the February industry numbers and they are impressive.
In February 2021, the video game industry recorded $4.6 billion in revenues, a 35% increase over 2020’s $3.4 billion. Using this as a preliminary figure, analysts believe the industry could reach $189.3 billion as a combination of new gamers plus new hardware translates into exceedingly higher revenues this year over last.
Of course, the tale of the tape is quite a familiar one. While February 2021 was a great month for gaming as a whole, it was particularly profitable for one name in particular, Nintendo. The top-selling game for February 2021, Super Mario 3D World: Bowser’s Fury, is both a rehash of the Wii U Mario outing and an upgrade at the same time. Still, it happened to beat out a full slate of brand spanking new games that could match King Koopa’s wrath at the cash register.
For those of you that follow the industry quite closely, you will notice that the game of the moment then, Animal Crossing, was also a Nintendo property, demonstrating that the Kyoto-based company can, if anything, maintain momentum.
Outside of games and new IP, the launch of the new consoles is also expected to manifest itself this year and help catapult revenue numbers higher than 2020. That said, it will be interesting to see what the profit situation ends up looking like since companies rarely make money on new console hardware and getting as many of those units into homes as quickly as possible tends to be the name of the game. In fact, should things not go to plan, this can have a knock-on effect for publishers relying upon a certain audience size for their increasingly expensive projects. Long story short, 2021 could be an interesting year for watching how the dynamics of a general boom and a technology generational shift coincide to impact bottom lines for everyone.
What do you think? Will 2021 top 2020’s numbers in terms of industry sales? What do you think will help us get there? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Also, be sure to check out some other video game news at this link.