U.S. consumers spent $19.5 billion on gaming in the first half of 2018, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. This is up 40 percent from the same period last year. All sectors saw growth, including full game, downloadable content, subscription, and mobile sales. Mobile saw the most growth. The industry is healthy, and future prospects continue to look strong.
On the software front, The NPD Group attributes the games Candy Crush Saga, Far Cry 5, Fortnite, God of War, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Roblox with having the most impact. Candy Crush Saga and Roblox are long-running games that have become consistent earners. PUBG and Fortnite are carrying their debut momentum (and the start of the battle royale craze) from 2017 over to this year. God of War and Far Cry 5 are new, triple-A releases that came out in the first half of 2018.
Game revenues are evolving thanks to new monetization models, notably the season pass. Popularized by Fortnite, it charges players for access to limited time cosmetics and other in-game items that they can earn by playing.
Hardware is also doing well, with spending reaching a seven-year high thanks to traditional consoles like the Xbox One X and plug-and-play machines like the NES Classic Edition. Sales of hardware are up 21 percent from the same period last year to $1.7 billion.
“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,” The NPD Group games industry analyst Mat Piscatella noted in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “This, combined with continued strength in hardware and accessory spending, should result in double-digit annual percentage gains for the total market.”