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Almost 40% of the Earth's population will be gamers by 2023

There will be 3 billion gamers on the planet by the time 2023 comes along, and the gaming market will surpass US$200 billion worldwide during the same year, according to the latest data from Newzoo.

The United Nations projected that the world will reach a population of 8 billion in 2023 - which means in three years, 38% of the planet's population will be a gamer of some kind.

The games market insights and analytics company recently released its Global Games Market Report, which outlines trends for the international gaming industry as it continues to see rises in engagement and revenues.

Mobile is king

2020 sees the continued dominance of mobile gaming – of the 2.7 billion projected gamers around the world this year, a huge 2.5 billion will play on mobile, with 1.3 billion playing on PC and 800 million playing on consoles.

This dominance will perpetuate the popularity of the free-to-play, in-game revenue model of games, which is by far the most commonly used model for mobile games. Newzoo’s data claims that a massive 98% of all mobile game revenues were generated through in-game transactions, like loot boxes or popular cosmetic upgrades.

In 2020, in-game transactions will represent a huge 74% of overall gaming revenue, with this figure rising to 77% in 2023. By comparison, full-game digital purchases will only constitute 12% of all gaming revenue this year, and this will fall to 11% by 2023.

And while there is a growing market for premium, paid games on mobile – either through outright initial purchases or indirectly via Apple Arcade – Newzoo projects that the huge revenue opportunities in in-game transactions will push the 98% figure closer to 100% throughout the next few years.

While full-game purchases are by far the most common form of revenue for consoles, Newzoo says even those won’t be spared from being affected by the dominance of in-game revenues. Publishers and developers will look for alternate revenue streams when subscription revenues replace full games sales.

Subscriptions will soon be part-and-parcel for consoles

Together, the subscription services on console will generate $5.8 billion in 2020, which accounts for 13% of the console market and 4% of the overall global games market, according to Newzoo.

However, these revenues can vary extensively depending on the availability of certain services in specific markets. Subscription services are most readily available in the regions with the biggest spenders on console – which is usually concentrated in more mature markets.

Subscriptions for Sony’s (PlayStation Plus) and Microsoft’s (Xbox Live Gold) online console services have been available in most countries worldwide since the launch of the previous generation, with Nintendo coming later to the table with the launch of Nintendo Switch Online in 2018.