This year is shaping up to be phenomenal for the video game industry, as players have gobbled up new content.
Total consumer spending on games in the U.S. was up 40% in the first half of 2018 to $19.5 billion, according to The NPD Group. The majority of that surge came from spending on game software (including mobile), which totaled $16.9 billion in that time. Mobile games saw the biggest growth, the group says.
Spending on video game hardware hit a seven-year high, thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Super NES Classic Edition, surging 21% to $1.7 billion during the first six months. (Hardware spending traditionally ramps up during the holiday period.)
Among the games having the biggest financial impact this year are Fortnite, Activision’s Candy Crush, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 (the best-selling console game of the year as of early July), and Sony’s God of War.
The spending surge is only likely to increase with the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, the newest game from Rockstar Games, the creators of Grand Theft Auto, which is set to release Oct. 26. Sentiment is running exceptionally high for that game among players and other retailers are scheduling the release of their big titles so they’re not caught in the retail blast zone of Red Dead.
“I maintain an optimistic outlook for the remainder of 2018, thanks in part to the strong lineup of titles set to be released in the fourth quarter,” said Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group. “This, combined with continued strength in hardware and accessory spending, should result in double-digit annual percentage gains for the total market.”