Big picture: Research firm Ampere Analysis predicts global video game sales will decline 1.2 percent in 2022 to $188 billion. Last year, the games and content services market brought in a record $191 billion. If it does, it would be the first drop in spending in this category in at least eight years.

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Ampere Analysis was founded in 2015 and hasn’t seen a year-over-year drop in video game spending so far.

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Video game spending skyrocketed during the pandemic as people sought to have fun while staying at home. In 2019, before the pandemic, category spending reached $151 billion. The following year, consumers collectively spent $182 billion on games, content, and services.

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Looking at it another way, spending increased 26 percent — nearly $40 billion — from 2019 to 2021.

Looking deeper, we can see that PC games are likely to be hit the hardest, with sales forecast falling more than three percent this year. The mobile gaming segment could fall 1.3 percent and consoles could lose about half a percentage point. The only category that is expected to grow is cloud gaming.

However, what goes up must go down. Now that many countries have returned to a more normal routine, the time spent playing video games may be reduced, and with it, the costs. The question of how big the blow will be is still under discussion.

Severe inflation and rising cost of living can have a negative impact on gaming spending. Conversely, if consumers cut back on discretionary spending in other areas and stay at home more, gaming may remain on the radar for many, and spending may not suffer much.

The fall can also be short-lived. Ampere expects global gaming markets to recover in 2023 as growth markets continue to embrace games and mature markets continue to stabilize.

Image credit: Ron Lach