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The U.S. game industry made $43.4 billion in 2018, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. Not only is this up 17 percent from 2017’s $36.9 billion, but it is a record year for the industry.

Software sales, which includes things like in-game purchases and subscriptions, made up $35.8 billion of that 2018 total. Hardware and peripherals earned $7.5 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 at The NPD Group, in a statement sent to GamesBeat. “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.”

Incredibly, the U.S. film industry also made $43.4 billion in 2018. This gives you an idea of the financial parity that now exists between the two entertainment worlds.


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Software sells hardware

Hardware and peripheral sales were up 15 percent in 2018 over 2017. Unlike with 2017 and the launch of the Switch, 2018 did not have a major console release. But it was the Switch’s first full year of availability.

This was a strong year for console exclusives, which can help drive up system sales. Switch had Super Smash Bros. Ultimate come out on December 7, and it sold 3 million copies in the U.S. in its first three days.

PlayStation 4 had major exclusives this year with God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man, both critical and financial hits.

And then, of course, there’s Fortnite. Epic’s free-to-play battle royale has become a giant success on all platforms — consoles, PC, and mobile.


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