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ESA: The U.S. game industry saw $36B in revenue in 2017

ESA: The U.S. game industry saw $36B in revenue in 2017

January 19, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

According to the ESA’s annual assessment, the U.S. game industry once again saw a year-over-year increase in revenue, with this year’s numbers coming in at $36 billion in revenue between hardware, peripherals, software, in-game purchases, and subscriptions. 

By the ESA’s count, that makes for an 18 percent increase over the $30.4 billion reported in 2016. Those numbers were based on the NPD Group’s annual year-end reporting and supplemented with App Store and Google Play data from the mobile analytics firm App Annie.

Keep in mind however that the NPD’s reporting on game and downloadable content sales, particularly digital, isn’t an exact measurement. The report notes that its numbers don’t include digital sales for Switch and 3DS games, or PC digital sales from Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony,, Origin, or Uplay. 

Game developers should be aware that data gaps like that have led to amended reports in the past, but, with that in mind, the NPD’s overall reports still offer a useful glimpse at larger trends in the game industry as a whole.

Looking at just the NPD Group’s record of game industry sales for 2017, video game hardware brought in a total of $4.7 billion in 2017, a 28 percent increase from the $3.6 billion sold in 2016. That same report clocked a 6 percent increase year-over-year in physical and digital games sold on consoles and handhelds, though these numbers exclude digital sales on Nintendo platforms. 

PC games, however, saw a 20 percent decrease in game sales between 2016 and 2017 on the platforms tracked by the NPD Group. By the NPD’s count, PC game software saw $275 million in sales this year, down from the $342 million reported in 2016. 

Across all platforms, the NPD says that Call of Duty: WWII saw the most money brought in from both physical and digital sales in 2017 though, as mentioned above, not all platforms or storefronts provided digital sale information to the group. Following that, NBA 2K18 falls in second place with Destiny 2 coming in third overall.

Looking at just December and, again, ranked by dollars in sales, Call of Duty: WWII was the highest selling game when comparing sales on all major platforms. Additionally, the game topped the charts for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One individually. Meanwhile, the Xbox console exclusive PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds saw the next most sales on the Xbox One while the runner-up on PlayStation 4 looks to be Star Wars: Battlefront II.

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