2022 U.S. Video Game Spending 2nd Highest in History, Falls 5% Compared to 2021
U.S. consumer spending on video game hardware, content, and accessories totaled $56.6 billion during 2022, decreasing 5% compared to 2021. Spending increases in console hardware and non-mobile subscription content were offset by declines in other areas.
The NPD Group – U.S. Video Game Industry Sales – 2022
|2022 Dollar Sales, Millions||2021||2022||Change|
|Total Video Game Sales||$59,621||$56,562||-5%|
|Video Game Content (Physical & Digital Full Game, DLC/MTX and Subscription consumer spending across Console, Cloud, Mobile*, Portable, PC and VR) platforms)||$50,833||$47,475||-7%|
|Video Game Hardware||$6,060||$6,571||8%|
|Video Game Accessories||$2,728||$2,516||-8%|
* Mobile spending provided by Sensor Tower
Copyright 2023. The NPD Group, L.P. All Rights Reserved.
Source: The NPD Group/Games Market Dynamics
Continued supply constraints of new console hardware, a limited slate of new game releases, and changing macro conditions all drove inconsistent market performance throughout 2022. May 2022 was a low point for the market, as consumer spending declined 18% below May 2021 levels. By the year’s end performance had improved thanks to an ample supply of console hardware (particularly PlayStation 5) and the releases of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet.
Consumer spending on video game hardware, content, and accessories continued to trend well above pre-pandemic levels throughout 2022. While market performance in 2022 fell behind the all-time highs reached in 2021, spending during the year was 30% higher than 2019 levels.
Video Game Content
Video game content spending totaled $47.5 billion in 2022, a 7% decline from 2021. Subscription spending was the only content segment to grow, gaining 10% compared to 2021. But increases in this segment were offset by declines in mobile and digital add-on spending for consoles and PC platforms.
While it was a relatively light year for new releases, sales performance for several titles stood out. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarök, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet were among the notable successes in 2022.
Several long-running live service titles contributed to strong spending and engagement. Among Us, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, Roblox, and The Sims 4 continued to rank in the most-engaged games, some doing so years after their initial launches. Players of these titles have responded positively to continued content updates and built-in social features allowing them to play with family and friends.
Video Game Hardware
Spending on video game hardware totaled $6.6 billion in 2022, increasing 8% over 2021. Q4 2022 performed particularly well, as spending grew 21% compared to Q4 2021 and reached $3.2 billion.
PlayStation 5 was 2022’s best-selling console in dollar sales, while Nintendo Switch led in hardware unit sales.
PlayStation 5 sold particularly well in Q4, driven by increased supply reaching the market. Dollar sales for PlayStation 5 nearly doubled in Q4 2022 compared to the prior year, and PlayStation 5 finished the quarter as the leading hardware platform in both unit and dollar sales.
Video Game Accessories
Much like the rest of the gaming market in 2022, sales performance in accessories improved as the year approached its end. Total consumer spending on video game accessories reached $2.5 billion in 2022, falling 8% compared to 2021. However, accessories spending was flat in Q4 2022 compared to the previous year, the first time the segment didn’t decline since Q1 2021.
Headset/headphone spending declined most, as sales returned to 2019 levels following a pandemic-driven surge. In Q4 2022, headset/headphone spending was flat compared to the prior year, suggesting the market may be stabilizing. With continued flow of new console hardware and natural replacement cycles, the segment may rebound in 2023 and beyond.
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 was 2022’s best-selling accessory in dollar sales. The Xbox Wireless Controller Carbon Black led accessories in units sold.
The video game market appears to be stabilizing after several shocks, including pandemic-driven changes in consumer behavior, supply constraints of new console hardware, and disruption to video game development schedules.
Increased supply of new console hardware and several high-profile releases, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Starfield, could lead to a return to low single-digit percentage growth in 2023.
The short-term outlook remains uncertain. Supply chain and economic disruptions may continue to impact the market, while geopolitical and pandemic-related challenges could also present themselves. Beyond the macro factors, there are industry-specific areas of uncertainty. Changing consumer play preferences, challenges associated with AAA video game development, and even the uncertain release timing of Nintendo’s next-generation console also exist.
United States Video Game Trends We’re Watching:
- Hardware Supply Stabilizes — It will be easier for consumers to find PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles in 2023. But any unit sales gains from these platforms are likely to be offset by a cycle-driven decline from Nintendo Switch.
- Big Games on Deck — The planned releases of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Starfield provides each of the big three console manufacturers a contender for game of the year, along with potential strong sales.
- Accessories May Grow — An influx of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles and replacement purchasing is likely to bring growth in accessory spending for first time since early 2021.
- Subscription Gaines Ease — After approaching console-owner penetration caps, alternative avenues (cloud, Smart TV integration) will be targeted for continued growth. It’s been a slow start.
- Another VR Push — PlayStation VR2 will boost VR gaming during its launch window. But limited supply, a software slate with unproven mass appeal, and high price may provide headwinds to adoption. Expect single-digit percentage attach rate to PlayStation 5 hardware. Meta Quest price hikes from 2022 won’t help grow the segment.
- Portable PC Growth — Steam Deck is proving portable PC gaming has an audience. Although still a small market compared to the full PC ecosystem, this could be a new avenue of player engagement and expand the appeal of PC gaming overall.