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2021 Console and PC Game Publisher Sales Report: Spend grew 36% across all publishers over 2020

Source: https://trends.edison.tech/research/gaming-publisher-sales.html

Ubisoft led console and PC video game spend in February with 653% YoY growth, ahead of publishers Nintendo (487%), Epic Games (108%), and Activision (89%).

Key Takeaways

  • Overall online consumer spending on console and PC gaming grew 36% across all publishers over 2020 (comparing December 2019 to December 2020).
  • Comparing online spend on console and PC games vs. add-on purchases for Ubisoft saw 63% go to games vs. 37% to add-ons while Nintendo saw 86% go to games vs. 14% to add-ons.
  • Publishers that saw more spend on add-ons vs. games included Epic Games, Aquaplus, and Ultimate Games.

2021 offers a promising year for video game publishers following last year’s releases of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, as well as highly anticipated games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Immortals: Fenyx Rising. Our previous gaming research demonstrated how demand and online sales of video games increased amid the pandemic as people settled into life indoors and sought entertainment. To see how sales among console and PC game publishers are trending, Edison Trends analyzed over 1.5 million transactions.

Which console and PC video game publisher do consumers spend the most on online?


Figure 1a: Chart shows estimated online spend by month for console and PC video game publishers Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, Electronic Arts, and Epic Games, from February 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021, according to Edison Trends. Note: the highest monthly value for spend was set to 100, and all other values scaled accordingly. This analysis is based on over 600,000 transactions, and includes full game, currency and add-on purchases from Sony (PS Store), Microsoft (Xbox Live and Microsoft store), Nintendo (Nintendo Store) as well as digital sales from retail stores (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart).


Figure 1b: Chart shows year-over-year growth in online spend on console and PC games by publishers Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, Electronic Arts, and Epic Games, comparing February 2020 vs. February 2021, according to Edison Trends. Note: the highest monthly value for spend was set to 100, and all other values scaled accordingly. This analysis is based on over 600,000 transactions, and includes full game, currency and add-on purchases from Sony (PS Store), Microsoft (Xbox Live and Microsoft store), Nintendo (Nintendo Store) as well as digital sales from retail stores (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart).

Overall online consumer spending on console and PC gaming grew 36% across all publishers over 2020 (comparing December 2019 to December 2020). Thus far in 2021, the top selling publishers when it comes to online consumer spend on console and PC products are Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, Electronic Arts (EA), and Epic Games. Of these, Ubisoft reached the highest peak in the last year, during the month of December when they released Immortals: Fenyx Rising.

Of these top publishers, Ubisoft has also grown the most YOY. Customers spent 653% more online on Ubisoft console and PC products in February 2021 than they had in February 2020. Nintendo had YOY growth of 487%, Epic Games 108%, Activision 89% and EA 24%.


Figure 1c: Chart shows the percentage of console and PC gamers who have purchased from these publishers in the past year, looking at sales from March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021, according to Edison Trends. The publishers studied are Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Activision, Take-Two Interactive, Microsoft Studios, Sokpop Collective, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, and Sony Computer Entertainment. This analysis is based on over 600,000 transactions over $0, and includes full game, currency and add-on purchases from Sony (PS Store), Microsoft (Xbox Live and Microsoft store), Nintendo (Nintendo Store) as well as digital sales from retail stores (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart).

Among customers who spent money on a console and PC gaming purchase online over the last year, 34% bought from Ubisoft. EA was second with 29%, while 28% of customers put money down for a product from Nintendo.

Which console and PC video game publishers do consumers buy from the most across gaming platforms?

Figure 2: Chart shows online customer spend on console and PC games by publisher and platform from January 1 - February 28, 2021, according to Edison Trends. The platforms studied are Playstation, Xbox, Switch, and PC. The publishers studied are Ubisoft, Nintendo, Activision, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take-Two Interactive, Ultimate Games, Aquaplus, Sokpop Collective, and ShriaVN. Note: the highest total spend per publisher was set to 100, and all other values scaled accordingly. This analysis is based on over 200,000 transactions, and includes full game, currency and add-on purchases from Sony (PS Store), Microsoft (Xbox Live and Microsoft store), Nintendo (Nintendo Store) as well as digital sales from retail stores (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart).

Breaking down online spending on top selling publishers’ console and PC games in the first two months of 2021, the biggest amounts of spending went to Playstation and Xbox games and add-ons for most publishers. For products from Ubisoft, 42% of what customers spent online was on Xbox items, while 47% was on Playstation items, 9% on PC items and 2% on Switch items.

Publishers who saw a large proportion of spending on Switch games include Nintendo (58%) and Epic Games (36%). Conversely, Activision and Electronic Arts saw customers spend larger amounts on PC games, at 22% and 26% respectively.

How much more do consumers spend on games vs. add-ons?

Figure 3: Chart shows online customer spend on console and PC games by publisher and product type from March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021, according to Edison Trends. The publishers studied are Ubisoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Activision, Take-Two Interactive, Sokpop Collective, Epic Games, Aquaplus, Ultimate Games, and ShiraVN. Note: the highest total spend per publisher was set to 100, and all other values scaled accordingly. This analysis is based on over 800,000 transactions, and includes full game, currency and add-on purchases from Sony (PS Store), Microsoft (Xbox Live and Microsoft store), Nintendo (Nintendo Store) as well as digital sales from retail stores (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart).

Among the top ten publishers for online spend in the first two months of 2021, seven saw customers spend more on games than on add-ons over the last year. Of the spending on Ubisoft products, 63% went to games and 37% to add-ons; for Nintendo it was more skewed, with 86% going to games and 14% to add-ons. Publishers that saw more spending on add-ons than on games were Epic, Aquaplus, and Ultimate Games.

To learn more about the data behind this article and what Edison Trends has to offer, visit https://trends.edison.tech/.

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Data is changing the speed of business. Investors, Corporations, and Governments are buying new, differentiated data to gain visibility make better decisions. Don't fall behind. Let us help.

DATA PROVIDER SPOTLIGHT

ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys is one of the leading travel analytics firms that provides investment firms with alternative and predictive data on the travel industry. Data is offered both on the demand and the offer-side of the aviation market.

Actual Air Reservations is an aggregation of flight bookings made via the Global Distribution Systems. Exclusive agreements make that global travel data is available, including regions that are generally difficult to track. This data contains valuable insights into the profile, behaviour, and impact of events on past, present and future air travellers.

Seat Capacity provides insights into the scheduled flights from 99% of global commercial airlines.

Financial institutions use this data for artificial intelligence and predictive models to forecast the performances of businesses. Combined, the datasets can provide insights into the financial health of businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry. This list contains companies like airlines, airplane leasing companies, oil companies, hotels and travel agencies.