Market research firm Newzoo reckons that there are going to be three billion people playing games by the year 2023.
That's according to the company's 2020 Global Games Market Report, which also says that by the end of this year, there will be 2.7bn gamers around the world. That's an increase of 5.3 per cent year-on-year, with players spending $159.3bn during 2020. By 2023, that figure will have increased to $200.8bn.
1.3bn of that figure will be playing on PC, while mobile boasts around 2.5bn players. Console is the platform of choice for 800m people.
This growth is due to emerging markets, such as countries in the Middle East and Africa. Newzoo reckons those regions will have more people playing games than Europe by 2022. The firm does point out that mobile free-to-play titles are drawing in users in those parts of the world, which means they likely won't be as lucrative – at least to start with.
For 2020, the Asia Pacific region still boasts the largest portion of players in the world, taking a 54 per cent slice of the pie with 1.447bn users. That's a rise of 4.9 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, Europe takes second place with 386m gamers, a 3.6 per cent increase and 14 per cent of the total. The Middle East and Africa clocks in at 377m players, an 8.8 per cent rise.
Free-to-play is continuing to become more popular as a business model, too. For 2020, Newzoo forecasts that 74 per cent of total game revenue will come from microtransactions and in-game purchases. By 2023, that figure will be 77 per cent. Free-to-play is already popular as a business model for PC and mobile titles, but it is gaining traction in the console space, too. Subscriptions will be behind 13 per cent of console revenue for 2020.