The pandemic has sometimes accentuated trends already at work for several years. This is particularly the case with regard to the dematerialization of video games. For the large physical sales signs, the game was already difficult and the difficulties were accentuated because of the sanitary measures. The setbacks of GameStop, which is in the middle of a financial saga that totally exceeds it, are there to convince us.

Conversely, sales of digital copies have been in the majority for a long time on PC and since 2020 on console. This is confirmed by the figures in the annual report produced by SuperData. In all, the authors estimate the market for digital games on mobile, PC and console at $ 127 billion last year. This is an increase of 12% compared to 2019. As a reminder, some estimates expect revenues of 163.1 billion overall for the video game industry in 2020.

Free-to-play pays off big

In detail, the mobile market outrageously dominates with 73.8 billion digital spending and the PC follows with 33.1 billion. Finally, the consoles brought up the rear with $ 19.7 billion.

Free games take the lion’s share with $ 98.4 billion generated through in-game purchases, or 78% of the total, for a 9% increase year-over-year. Free-to-play like Peacekeeper Elite, Pokemon Go, or League of Legends continue to bring in billions of dollars to publishers.

The paid gaming industry is also in good shape at $ 24.5 billion. It is based on the release of many big hits with for example The Last of Us 2 or Cyberpunk 2077. Other more traditional franchises such as Fifa 20, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, GTA V, or Animal Crossing are also proving to be very profitable.

According to SuperDate, this trend observed last year should continue well into 2021 and the habits born of the pandemic may not disappear anytime soon.