Video Games Surprise: Half-Year Sales Up Over 2020 Boom Year

The video game industry continues to prosper through six months of 2021 after setting revenue records during pandemic 2020.

According to the Q2 2021 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report from The NPD Group, overall total consumer spending on video gaming in the U.S. totaled $14 billion in the second quarter of 2021 (April to June), an increase of 2% compared to Q2 2020.

Gains were seen across PC, cloud and non-console VR content, mobile and subscription spending, as well as hardware. Console content and accessories experienced declines.

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Overall content spending in Q2 reached $12.57 billion, an increase of 2%. Subscription content was the only content segment with double-digit percentage gains compared with Q2 2020. Hardware posted a 12% increase, while accessories declined 11%.

Among the best-selling and most played games across all platforms in the second quarter were Among Us, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Warzone, Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Clash of Clans, Coin Master, Fortnite, Garena Free Fire, Genshin Impact, Grand Theft Auto V, Homescapes, Mario Kart 8, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Minecraft, MLB The Show 21, New Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Go, PUBG Mobile, Resident Evil: Village and Roblox.

“Despite changing pandemic conditions across the country, video games spending remained strong in the second quarter of 2021,” Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group, said in a statement. “A year ago, in the second quarter of 2020, consumer spending on video games increased a remarkable 47% compared to the same period in 2019. Consumer spending has not only maintained the elevated levels reached a year ago, but exceeded them in key areas such as hardware, mobile and subscription spending. Video games have become a bigger part of consumers’ entertainment and social lives, factors that lend confidence to continued growth for the industry.”

Data from Sensor Tower shows U.S. consumer spending in mobile games during the second quarter increased 5% from Q2 2020. Multiplayer gaming on mobile continues to be a standout theme, with seven of top 10 earning titles focused on real-time online play, up from five in Q2 2020.

“Spending in mobile games remains elevated, showing signs of a continuing lift from the surge of new players who flocked to the category beginning in the second quarter of 2020,” said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. “Thus far, we see no indication that spending or usage has diminished as consumers have begun their return to life in a post-vaccine world.”

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