US video game industry scored USD43.4B record sales in 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – From Fortnite to Pokemon Go, play in the United States (US) drove video-game industry revenue to a record-setting USD43.4 billion last year, according to data released on Tuesday.

Spending on games in the US in 2018 climbed 18 per cent from the previous year, according to figures from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and market tracker NPD Group.

“Whether it was playing on the go on a mobile device or at home on a PC or console, consumers of all ages and interests found compelling content that delighted in 2018,” NPD video games analyst Mat Piscatella said in a statement.

Play on all types of devices grew significantly last year, while momentum in subscription and streaming services “gave us a peek into a future full of possibilities for the industry and gamers,” he added.

US spending on video game hardware, including peripherals, climbed to USD7.5 billion last year from USD6.5 billion the previous year, according to the ESA and NPD.

Meanwhile, gamers spent USD35.8 billion on game software, subscriptions, and purchases of in-game virtual items in an 18 per cent increase from 2017 spending, the data showed.

Cowboy western-themed action video game Red Dead Redemption 2 was the top-selling title last year, followed by, Back Ops 4 the latest installment in the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was the best-selling video game of 2018.

“The impressive economic growth of the industry announced today parallels the growth of the industry in mainstream American culture,” said acting ESA President and Chief Executive Stanley Pierre-Louis.

“Interactive entertainment stands today as the most influential form of entertainment in America.”

Some 150 million people in the US play video games, while the industry here boasts more than 220,000 jobs throughout the country, according to the ESA.