The U.S. video game industry generated a record $43.4 billion in revenue in 2018, up 18 percent from 2017, according to new data released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group.
“2018 was another record setting year for the U.S. video game industry as consumer spending jumped 18 percent to over $43 billion. Whether it was playing on the go on a mobile device or at home on a PC or console, consumers of all ages and interests found compelling content that delighted in 2018,” said Mat Piscatella, video games industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Console, PC, and mobile platforms all saw significant growth, while developing portions of the market like subscription and streaming services gave us a peek into a future full of possibilities for the industry and gamers.”
Both hardware revenue, which includes peripherals, and software revenue across all platforms (console, PC, portable, and mobile), from physical and digital sales, including in-game purchases and subscriptions, experienced record growth in 2018.
|U.S. Video Game Industry Revenue||2018||2017||Growth Percentage|
|Hardware, including peripherals||$7.5 billion||$6.5 billion||15%|
|Software, including in-game purchases and subscriptions||$35.8 billion||$30.4 billion||18%|
|Total:||$43.4 billion||$36.9 billion||18%|
|Source: The NPD Group, Sensor Tower|
Software sales posted an 18 percent growth in revenue year-over-year for $35.8 billion, fueled by mega-hits such as 'Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2', 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,' Marvel's Spider-Man,' 'God of War' and Nintendo's 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.'
Meanwhile, hardware sales also increased significantly from 2017 to 2018. Up 15 percent, hardware revenue (which includes peripherals such as controllers, VR headsets and plug-and-play consoles like the SNES Classic and PlayStation Classic) grossed $7.5 billion across all three major consoles, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch had an incredible month this past December, as it breeze past the competition, selling more units than either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
Nintendo video game console generated the highest December month hardware dollar sales for a single platform since the Nintendo Wii in December 2009, and achieved the highest December unit sales for a single platform since December 2010, tweeted the NPD Group's Mat Piscatella.
The console was also the best-selling system in the US in 2018 period.
While the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the best-selling game in December, it was the only Nintendo exclusive title to make it on the top 10 list of bestsellers in 2018. It was No. 5, according to NPD, but that figure doesn't include digital sales. Meanwhile, the console missed out on the year's two top sellers, Red Dead and Black Ops 4, which were available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Furthermore, Sony had two exclusives in 2018 that cracked the top 10 list: Marvel's Spider-Man and God of War. The success of the titles wasn't enough to maintain Sony's position on the top of the console heap, however, as the PS4 fell to No. 2 for the first time. Still, Sony announced in December that the console had over 91 million units since its launch in 2013.
There are 150 million Americans who play video games, making the U.S. video game industry one of the nation’s fastest growing economic sectors. The industry provides more than 220,000 jobs in communities across all 50 states, and more than 500 colleges and universities across 46 states offer programs or degrees related to video games.