Popular mobile games such as Pokemon Go helped make 2016 the biggest year in digital games and playable media ever. Counting all games across all platforms, the market reached $91 billion this year worldwide, with several different sectors showing tremendous growth rates, according to a new report released by market tracking firm SuperData Researcher.
The games and playable media audience is one of the most valuable and most engaged demographics, the report claims. A little bit of research easily confirms this. According to Statista, global box office revenue tallied $38.3 billion in 2016, which is not even half the amount that digital games and playable media brought in. The divide is likely to be even wider in 2017 as virtual reality gaming takes hold.
As it stands, mobile is the top earner in gaming, bringing in $40.6 billion from consumers in 2016. While blockbuster hits such as Pokemon Go and Clash Royale led the way, the vast amount of dollars spent is a result of the mobile games market starting to mature and more closely resemble traditional game publishing. Developers and publishers are putting out mobile titles with higher production values than ever before, and they're spending increasing amounts of money marketing these titles.
Gaming on PC was not far behind—it raked in $35.8 billion and was driven in large part by free-to-play online titles and downloadable games. The PC market also benefited from a new generation of graphics cards from Nvidia based on its mighty Pascal architecture.
VR gaming also did relatively well, especially considering its late push into PC territory with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The category added $2.7 billion to the pool, though SuperData did not seem overly impressed by this.
"The first year for virtual reality was sobering, especially for manufacturers of dedicated hardware. A high price point, the absence of a strong content line-up, and difficulties with properly delivering through retail cooled consumers’ expectations of the Oculus. We expect firms with more experience in hardware manufacturing like Sony and HTC to take the lead in 2017," SuperData stated in its report.
Even so, the tracking form expects VR revenue to nearly double in 2017 and reach $17.8 billion in 2019. In the meantime, investors are looking at making a push into other sectors with VR, including educational and medical applications.