SuperData spoke about the success of the gaming industry in 2020. Last year, digital sales reached $126.6 billion, and the list of the best-selling premium titles included Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Cyberpunk 2077.

In their report, analysts divided the industry into three segments: digital games, video game content and XR (virtual, augmented and mixed reality).

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Digital Games


The largest and most profitable segment. Its revenue in 2020 amounted to $126.6 billion, which is 12% more than it was in 2019.

Revenue of digital games by segment for 2020The main growth factor was the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Due to the global lockdown, people lost a lot of entertainment and began to launch games more actively. For example, in 2020, 55% of Americans played because of the pandemic.
  • The struggle with boredom (56%), the desire to escape from the real world (45%), the attempt to keep in touch with family and friends (29%) were among the main reasons why gamers played more often during quarantine.
  • Also, the increase in sales of digital versions was affected by delays in the delivery of games and the closure of local gaming companies.


Fritupley games were responsible for the vast majority of the revenue of the “figures”. In 2020, they brought the industry $98.4 billion (78%) at once. Frituplay’s revenue grew by 9% year-on-year.

Revenue of free-play games by device (2019-2021)Most of the cash went to mobile — $73.8 billion.

  • While on PC, frituplay earned $ 22.7 billion, and on consoles — only $ 1.8 billion.
  • 59% of the total revenue of freeplay games was collected in Asia. Which is not surprising, considering that 6 out of 10 top titles were released by Asian companies.
  • The most profitable game of last year was the Chinese Honor of Kings. Title revenues reached $2.45 billion. Note that only four projects managed to overcome the $2 billion milestone: Honor of Kings itself, Peacekeeper Elite ($2.32 billion), Roblox ($2.29 billion) and Free Fire ($2.13 billion).

Top 10 highest-grossing Freeplay games of 2020 Premium Games

Despite lower sales compared to the frituplay ($24.5 billion), premium titles showed much greater annual growth — 28%. A significant part of the revenue was generated by players from the USA and Europe, who accounted for 84% of the earnings of all premium games.

Revenue of premium games by device (2019-2021)Analysts called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ($1.9 billion) the most profitable premium digital game of 2020.

  • This success of the game was largely ensured by the appearance of a free mass add-on Call of Duty: Warzone. According to SuperData, a significant number of gamers after downloading Warzone decided not only to make in-game purchases, but also to purchase the full version of the game.
  • Singles games also demonstrated good results. The top 10 highest-grossing premium titles included, for example, DOOM Eternal. Its revenue reached $454 million. Cyberpunk 2077, which was released at the end of 2020 and earned $609 million, was also on the list of the best.

Top 10 highest-grossing premium games of 2020 Game video content

The second most profitable gaming segment. According to SuperData estimates, in 2020, gamers spent $9.3 billion on video content related to games. The audience of such content grew by 18% — by the end of December, the number of viewers was 1.2 billion people.

Moreover, Twitch and YouTube generated only 40% of revenue. Analysts did not specify where another 60% of earnings came from. Most likely, we are talking about Chinese platforms.

Gaming video content market for 2020Last year, people often watched and were interested in competitive and social games like Fall Guys and Among Us.

  • The first one even managed to sell a record circulation of 8.2 million PC copies sold during its premiere month after streamers started talking about it.
  • Game crossovers and streams with branded events enjoyed considerable popularity. For example, the virtual concert of rapper Travis Scott (Travis Scott) in Fortnite has collected 45 million views.

Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (XR)

The annual volume of the XR market was $6.7 billion. This amount includes sales of headsets and, possibly, sales of geolocation mobile games (such as Pokémon Go). However, this time the analysts did not analyze in detail the situation with the revenue of augmented and mixed reality, focusing only on virtual reality. According to their data, the VR segment earned relatively little in the “figure” in 2020 — $589 million. Nevertheless, this is 25% more than in 2019.

  • The key factor to sales growth was the release of Half-Life: Alyx in March 2020. This game alone earned more than all the VR titles for PC in 2019.
  • In addition, the new Oculus Quest 2 headset attracted the interest of players;
  • But the once-popular mobile VR almost died in 2020, analysts said. They attributed this to the fact that the platforms refused to support Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream.

Revenue of VR games (2019-2020)
SuperData suggested that the gaming industry will continue to grow in 2021.

However, it is no longer as active as in the “covid” 2020. The likely earnings of the industry will increase by only 2% and amount to $142.2 billion.

Gaming industry revenue (2019-2021)