Gaming in all its forms continues to enjoy lasting appeal, with worldwide consumer spend on gaming software growing to US$144 billion in 2018, according to research from Futuresource Consulting. The gaming market is currently driven by three key areas, namely uptake of the Nintendo Switch hybrid console, spend on console and PC gaming software, and strong growth in mobile gaming, which accounted for nearly half of all software spend in 2018.
The next generation of consoles, poised for release in 2020, will also add a boost to the industry. Immersive audio and advanced communication capabilities are likely to be key components of these consoles, helping to unlock new opportunities for monetisation. In addition, developments in cloud gaming platforms such as Google Stadia will allow consumers to access content on a wider range of devices and will bring a new range of subscription business models into play. These will focus on content access or processing services, or a combination of the two. Futuresource also expects the rise of cloud gaming platforms to increase the total addressable market for gaming accessories.
The worldwide gaming accessories market, which includes headsets, speakers, keyboards and mice, grew by 22% in 2018 to achieve 76 million units shipped, according to Futuresource, and generated a global market value of US$3.1 billion. As live streaming of video game play becomes an increasingly popular pastime for younger generations, this will provide additional exposure to gaming accessories due to hardware partnerships with gaming influencers. In turn, this will generate more buying signals and help to fuel future market growth.
In 2018, the gaming headsets market hit a high point due to the widespread popularity of the Battle Royale game mode, popularised by the likes of Fortnite and PUBG, and gaming headsets grew by 35% in unit terms and 46% in value that year. Futuresource expects 2019 to have experienced a slight decline in volumes from the high levels of 2018, mainly impacted by the cyclical nature of hardware trends for consoles. On the other hand, this cyclical beat is expected to boost 2020 and 2021 shipments for console-based accessories, following the release of new hardware. Much of the 2019 console-driven decline will be offset by a strong gaming PC market and a rapid uptick in demand for gaming on mobile.
The development and demand curves for mobile gaming are being driven by improvements in both hardware and mobile infrastructure, especially in emerging markets such as China. Futuresource expects the popularity of mobile gaming, helped by its convenience, cost and accessibility, to further increase over the forecast period out to 2023, and directly benefit the gaming headset market, while negatively impacting the gaming accessories that are used for stationary gaming.
Looking to the brands, the gaming headset market remains dominated by the big four, with Logitech, Razer, HyperX and Turtle Beach having a combined share of more than two thirds of global value in 2018. And while console-focused headset brands such as Turtle Beach benefited from the 2018 upsurge in demand, 2019 saw share decline, with HyperX among the strongest performers, achieving third place with a global value share of 17%.
Latest Consumer Electronics Insights