The Video Games' Industry is Bigger Than Hollywood

Video games have higher incomes than the music and movie industries combined. Discover the numbers and the story behind this 100 billion dollar industry.

Oct 10, 2018

Forget about being a movie star, forget about becoming the next Beyoncé, if you want to be rich and famous in the entertainment world, you should start playing video games right now. Gross video game sales have outweighed box office receipts for over two decades, and they surpassed home video and theatre earnings combined fifteen years ago. The video games' industry has earned more revenue than the movie and music industries combined, every year for the past eight years.

When comparing the best movie premieres in cinema history with the best game launches, Hollywood may have more glamour, but it doesn't have more money. On April 27th, 2018 the premiere of the Avengers: Infinity War generated $257,698,183, leading the best opening box office of any movie up to date, followed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18th, 2015, with earnings of $247,966,675.

In the meantime, on the parallel universe of video games, Grand Theft Auto V came out on September 17th, 2013 and in only 24 hours it sold over 11 million unities, reaching $817,5 million in sales. In just 3 days, the game registered revenue of 1,000 million dollars. It went on to become the highest grossing entertainment product of all time.

According to the latest Global Games Market Report by Newzoo (2018), video games generate $137.9 billion per year, and almost 50% of the earnings come from mobile. Experts say that by 2021 mobile will represent 60% of the total video games' income. 

Do these numbers mean that PC games and consoles are slowly dying? Not a chance!

The same research by Newzoo indicates that in the next 9 years PC and console games will register a 30% growth.

Now, the question is: what about esports?


Esports are rapidly growing and have registered bigger audiences than the Super Bowl or certain Presidential Inaugurations:

  • Starcraft SKY Proleague final in Busan (South Korea) 2005: 120,000 fans, +40,000 spectators than the Super Bowl on the same year; 
  • Intel Extreme Masters World Championship Final in Poland (the biggest eSports event so far): over 1,730,000 at the Spodek arena in Katowice, +100,000 than the 2017 Super Bowl;
  • Donald Trump's first presidential speech had 16.3 million viewers, while the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship Final gathered 46 million unique viewers all over the world via streaming.

The boom of eSports is complimented by the explosion of Twitch, where millions watch others play games in both competitions and just for fun.

Bought in 2014 by Amazon for almost $1 billion, Twitch is a video games' streaming service, where the players transmit their games live and other players can watch and comment. 

Twitch may not be as famous as YouTube yet but its numbers will leave you bewildered:  

  • Peaks of 1,74 million users simultaneously watching other players play;
  • +100 million users per month;
  • +15 million daily users; 
  • A total of 355,000 million minutes watches (42,000 million minutes per month);
  • An average of 106 minutes/day per user.

The esports are often mentioned as the future, but the truth is they are here already and their numbers are no fiction either.