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.
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.
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.