With the recent release of the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S as well as the PlayStation 5, this end of the year 2020 ends by launching a whole new era in the video game industry: that of the ninth generation. of consoles.
In 2020, the video game industry is arguably the most profitable on the planet with more than $ 165 billion in revenue. This is more than the cinema, which by comparison generated $ 96.8 billion in 2018. With the COVID19 crisis, video games are one of the sectors that has not suffered too much this year. Some postponed games, some difficulties in the events, but an industry which continues to set records.
Video games are undoubtedly the sector that has evolved the most and grown the most in recent years and this visualcapitalist illustration shows it.
1970, the golden age of arcades
In 1972, Pong was released in arcades and would become a huge success for more than five years, allowing the video game madness to be launched. In 1978, when things started to calm down, it was Space Invaders’ turn to rekindle interest in the arcade market. In 1980, Pac-Man will also become a colossal success by generating more than a billion dollars in a single year in the American arcades.
1980, the video game goes on the verge of Game Over
Between 1980 and 1983, video games became the new El Dorado in entertainment and new businesses emerged. It becomes very easy to make video games, but it is another story to create good innovative and revolutionary video games. Thus, the entertainment sector finds itself with a lot more supply than demand with a rather disastrous quality.
The video game market is collapsing and everything suggests that this new technology will quickly become a distant memory. The famous game ET The Extra-Terrestrial is an example of this wave of bad games that will invade the industry with thousands of stocks that do not sell, that will put resellers and developers in debt. Many companies are going to go bankrupt, the end is near.
In 1985, a man will save this industry. This man is Shigeru Miyamoto, the genius who will create Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, but also and above all Mario Bros. And precisely, it was in 1985 with the Nintendo NES and Super Mario Bros. that the video game industry will rebound and reach new heights.
In 1980, this industry represented 59 billion dollars with 39 billion dollars for arcades and 20 billion dollars generated by consoles. These figures will be halved in a few months between 1983 and 1985 following the video game Krash.
After the release of Super Mario, the video game industry will start to rise again and will never be worried again. PCs arrive and will join the arcades and consoles. Sega will launch the MegaDrive from 1988 and Nintendo will launch the portable console industry with the Game Boy. History was on the move.
1990, the golden age of video games
After having come close to bankruptcy, the video game is preparing to live its roaring twenties. From 1991, Nintendo extended the success of the NES with the release of the Super NES. From 1993, Doom popularized shooters and famous FPS games. This is the year that the consoles will again grapple with the $ 20 billion in revenue. A first since the Krash of 1983.
In 1994, Sony entered the industry with the PlayStation and did a lot of good for this sector. Sega, for its part, launched the Saturn, and in 1997 Nokia launched the video game on mobile with the famous “Snake” game.
Video games still hover around the $ 50 billion generated with consoles and arcades slowing down, but PCs and portable consoles making up for this drop.
2000, the roaring twenties
The 2000s kicked off with the release of The Sims on PC. The game that will deliberately launch a real “Sims-Mania” and democratize life simulation games. It was that same year that Sony literally broke the Game with the release of the PlayStation 2, which would become the best-selling video game console in history with more than 157 million copies sold.
In 2001, it was Microsoft’s turn to enter the industry with the Xbox. A year later, it will be the launch of Xbox Live and the democratization of online console gaming. The start of the Microsoft Store, online content, and paid membership to play popular games like Halo.
From 2004, World of Warcraft will arrive on PC and will be a real phenomenon on PC. It is the launch of the famous online RPG (MMO RPG) which will bring together more than 14 million players.
In 2006, it was a big year with the launch of the PlayStation 3 as well as the Nintendo Wii. The PS3 will be the first Blu-Ray console in history, while the Wii will be a revolutionary console that for the first time in history will allow video games to reach a wide range of people, including seniors and families. .
In 2007, Apple will launch the iPhone. A revolution in the industry of the phone market that would become a big upheaval in video games years later with the increase in mobile games. Moreover, we won’t have to wait long to see the first highly successful smartphone game since in 2009 the famous Angry Bird was released, which would become the free-to-play game and the most downloaded new license.
Finally, in 2009, it will be the launch of the famous League of Legends by RIOT Games which will also mark history and become a real pillar of eSports a few years later.
2010, the years of maturity
As of 2010, Minecraft will be launched in beta form. It will also become one of the most significant games in the history of video games over the years and easily exceed 200 million copies on PC, consoles and mobiles. In 2011, the Twitch platform was launched and will be a platform specializing in the distribution of LIVE games.
In 2012, Candy Crush Saga will once again popularize mobile games and will become the most profitable application in many countries around the world.
In 2013, it was Rockstar Games that was going to rob the world of video games, but also of entertainment. With Grand Theft Auto V, the star-studded firm will explode all records. Over $ 800 million in profits in 24 hours. Over a billion in three days. Over 140 million units sold in seven years with an online service (GTA Online) which brings together more and more players over the years allowing attendance records in 2020. That is 7 years after its launch. GTA V will become the highest grossing cultural product in history with $ 7 billion generated.
In 2016, Pokémon Go will once again show that smartphones are a new platform to play. The augmented reality game will be an incredible hit, generating over $ 500 million in a single year.
Nintendo continued in 2017 with the release of the Nintendo Switch, the first hybrid console to play on its television, but also in portable mode. The console will be a huge success and will manage to exceed the sales of the Xbox One (released in 2013) in just 3 years.
In 2018, Fortnite will arrive on the free-to-play battle-royale market and will also set some pretty incredible records. Epic Games (the developers) will manage to create a real phenomenon and launch its game on PC, consoles and mobiles (even if in 2020 a conflict with Apple will result in the game being withdrawn from the Apple Store).
2020, the turning point for video games
This year, video games will definitely have taken a new direction. Between the arrival of Google in video games with Stadia, Amazon with Luna, Microsoft with XCloud, or even Nvidia with GeForce Now, video games are clearly moving towards Cloud Gaming.
The arrival of the PlayStation 5 as well as the Xbox Series X makes it possible to launch a new generation of console. But for the first time in history, Sony and Microsoft are not launching one, but two consoles with the PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S, all-digital consoles that tend to make us understand that the video game is heading towards a new destiny without physical games, with services and the cloud.
See you in ten years or so to take stock again. Regardless, video games today total more than $ 165 billion in generated revenue, including $ 85 billion for mobile games, $ 40 billion for PCs and $ 33 billion for consoles.