SuperData study of 2020 shows North Americans loved video games

Growth to continue in 2021

An exhaustive study by Nielsen-run SuperData Research has confirmed what esports followers already know: North Americans love video games, and turned to them en masse during 2020. And there was no game more popular than the first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

The report states that US$140 billion was spent on video games and interactive media last year, representing a 12 percent increase. During lockdown one out of every two Americans turned to video games to pass the time.

Free games like Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite were counterintuitively the biggest money earners for developers, generating 78 percent of gaming revenue. And of that figure most money came from gamers in Asia, who accounted for 59 percent of the business.

Interestingly, phones were the favourite gaming devices of those looking for a digital distraction. In North America 62 percent of gaming aficionados reached for their Apple, Samsung, or Google Pixels. Topping the scales in popularity were Pokémon Go, Candy Crush Saga, and Free Fire.

Those who prefer firing up the Xbox or PlayStation made Call of Duty: Modern Warfare the game to beat with over US$1.9 billion in revenue. That was followed by FIFA 20 (US$1.08 billion), Grand Theft Auto V (US$911 million).

Another big development had top titles like Fortnite and Roblox jumping into bed with mainstream celebrities like Travis Scott and Lil Nas X, both of who staged virtual concerts in the respective games.

SuperData predicts continued growth

As for the year ahead of us, remember that North Americans love video games. SuperData is predicting continued growth, but not at the same pace as 2020. The projection is for a 2 percent growth.

“Despite an increase in gaming activity due to COVID-19, the rollout of a vaccine is not expected to cause a gaming market crash,” the report concludes. “Although digital game revenue is projected to be roughly flat in 2021, the long-term habits formed during lockdown are here to stay.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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