The US is forecast to overtake China as the world’s biggest gaming market by revenue in 2019 for the first time since 2015, according to market research firm Newzoo.
One of the main reasons was Beijing’s freeze on new game approvals in 2018, which was led by a regulatory crackdown on internet and addiction, with Chinese authorities suspending the licensing process for new games for nine months, and only restarting it in December 2018. This led to the country’s gaming annual revenue growth in 2018 to be at its slowest in over a decade.
Newzoo forecasts US revenue to hit $36.9bn this year, compared to China at $36.5bn, but China is expected to regain top spot in 2020.
“Publishers in China are now able to monetise their new games once more, but the consequences of the freeze and new approval process will still impact growth in the Chinese market this year,” said Tom Wijman, senior games market analyst at Newzoo.
In terms of region, the Asia-Pacific is top at $72bn in 2019, bagging around 47 per cent of global revenue.
There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers across the world, and expected spend $152.1bn on games in 2019, representing an increase of +9.6% year on year, according to Newzoo.
They also project that console games will be the fastest-growing segment this year, growing 13.4 per cent year on year to $47.9bn in 2019, making this the second year running that growth in console games outpaces mobile gaming growth.
Among the top 25 global gaming companies in 2018, four came from China, with Tencent, the Chinese technology company that runs popular messaging apps like WeChat and QQ, accruing near 15 per cent of the entire gaming revenue globally in 2018, according to a local Chinese report.