2022 was a tumultuous year for the PC and console games market for esports, which continues to grow as more gamers are attracted to competitive gaming. In February, Microsoft struck a 10-year deal to bring ‘Call of Duty’ and other Activision games to Nvidia’s gaming platform if the Xbox maker is allowed to complete its much-contested US$69 billion acquisition of Activision. Regulators and competitors like Sony are giving much flak to the proposed Microsoft-Activision tie-up.
Meanwhile, Sony’s gaming business is looking to pour investment into PC and mobile, as the PlayStation 5 maker vies for talent as industry dealmaking heats up.
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According to Newzoo’s 2023 report, PC and console revenues reached US$92.3 billion in 2022, a decline of -2.2% year on year. The market may be cooling down after the pandemic, but overall performance still outshines previous forecasts. There are still plentiful opportunities to reach over one billion PC players and 611 million console players.
The report also reveals that in the last six months, two out of three gamers played on a PC or console and 72% of PC and/or console players used at least two platforms. The market also became more equitable in 2022, with women gamers accounting for 40% of the total PC and console player base.
Playtime datashows that average playtime dropped by 23% across Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation from 2021 to 2022, seen as a corrective step as the market levels out to pre-pandemic activity
Playtime datashows that average playtime dropped by 23% across Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation from 2021 to 2022, seen as a corrective step as the market levels out to pre-pandemic activity. In the past six months, 66% of PC and/or console players spent money on video games.
Longer game lifespan over new releases
According to Newzoo, with the pandemic as a contributing factor, many companies delayed their major title releases from 2022 to at least 2023. These delays significantly impacted playtime and spending, though 2023 now has a packed release schedule, including huge games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of a Kingdom.
In the coming years, companies are expected to opt for fewer new releases and focus on extending the lifespan of existing franchises
Essential business model trends show that more game publishers are pivoting their main franchises to service-based and subscription models. In the coming years, companies are expected to opt for fewer new releases and focus on extending the lifespan of existing franchises, especially with the success of titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, and ROBLOX.
Gaming & media
While remakes and remasters drove up engagement for older game IPs, 2022 was an inflection point for transmedia strategies. The HBO adaptation of The Last of Us was, of course, a major hit and an accelerant for the games, but it was by no means the only example. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, the anime based on the controversial title, drastically boosted the franchise’s popularity.
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The behaviour of esports gamers is characterized by a high level of engagement and loyalty to the games they play. As a result, esports companies are exploring new ways to engage with these gamers, including sponsorships, influencer marketing, and content creation.
One business trend that has emerged is the creation of esports teams and leagues that are backed by major investors and corporations. These teams and leagues are helping to legitimize esports as a mainstream industry and attract a wider audience of fans and investors.