Video game subscription services, already a dominant force in the entertainment industry, will become even more in the coming years, a new analysis has said.
According to figures from Juniper Research, the video games service platform sector will grow from US$6.6 billion in 2020 to US$11 billion by 2025. This is offset against a 3% decline for the entire games industry across this period.
Subscriptions for the sector have historically been for individual games or for access to platforms like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, but gaming has increasingly adopted a Netflix-style model in recent years.
Microsoft, for example, has invested heavily in its Game Pass product – a monthly subscription which gives gamers access to hundreds of games from first- and third-party games, including many premier titles which would, for the new generation of consoles, cost players US$70 each.
The report cites platforms such as Game Pass, EA Play and PlayStation Now as a “strong new revenue stream”. It says that subscriptions accessed through PCs will be the biggest segment and account for over US$5 billion in revenue in 2025.
By contrast, mobile games subscriptions will be niche, it says, with less than 1% of mobile gamers worldwide using such a service on their phones.
Despite a great deal of mainstream attention on cloud gaming services such as Google Stadia and the just-announced Amazon Luna, their growth will be hampered by poor connectivity. Juniper predicts that cloud gaming will only be adopted by around 1% of active gamers globally and making up only 25% of the overall US$11 billion total by 2025.
Research co-author James Moar, said: “Cloud gaming is a highly concentrated market, with over 60% of anticipated subscriptions to be in the US and China. Targeting specific types of players in these markets will bring sustainable success, but awareness of cloud gaming outside of particular gamer segments will keep the market niche.”
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