The US gaming industry got 2021 off to an excellent start judging by revenue figures for the first two months.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, the total spending on games surged by 35% year-over-year (YoY) in February 2021. Thanks to the huge uptick, sales reached $4.6 billion from $3.4 billion in the previous year, setting a new February record. The previous month had seen a 42% YoY jump to $4.7 billion.
In total, gamers in the US spent $9.3 billion on their favorite titles during January and February 2021. Compared to a similar period in 2020, that marked a 39% YoY jump.
Notably, the 35% jump recorded in February 2021 is the same as the February 2020 uptick, which coincided with the start of the pandemic.
During the month, hardware sales led the uptrend, posting a 121% increase to $406 million. Spending on content across mobile, console, PC, cloud and subscription services shot up by 30%, reaching $4 billion. Accessories’ sales jumped 41% to $195 million.
Comparatively, hardware sales were $319 million in January 2021, content sales $4.17 billion and accessories $222 million.
In all the three categories, consumer spending in 2021 is running well ahead of 2020 figures. Hardware sales at the end of February 2021 stood at $725 million, up by 130% YoY from $315 million in the previous-year period.
Video game content sales on the other hand totaled $8.171 billion, up by 33% from $6.137 billion in 2020. The smallest segment was up by 57%, at $417 million compared to $266 million in the corresponding period last year.
Call of Duty Franchise Generated $27 Billion Between 2003 and 2020
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War by Activision Blizzard was the best-selling game in the US during the first two months of 2020.
The game was the best-seller in January 2021 in terms of dollar sales. According to NPD, it was also the 20th best-selling game in the history of the US. Released in November 2020, the game has had an impressive run. During the months of November and December 2020, it took the title of best-selling game of the year despite being only two months old.
Its popularity is attributed to Call of Duty: Warzone. The two titles got integrated in December 2020 allowing for the sharing of multiplayer cosmetics and maps. As such, many players may have come onboard to boost their Warzone content. According to Activision, the Call of Duty franchise is among the company’s most successful franchises of all time. It generated $27 billion in revenue between 2003 and 2020.
In February 2021, the best-selling title was the new Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Interestingly, it clinched the title without the inclusion of digital sales.
Roblox Market Cap Soars to $38 Billion, Close to 10 Times Its February 2020 Valuation
On the global front, January 2021 started off on a high note with total spending on digital games rising by 15% to $11.6 billion according to Superdata Research. During the month, the PC segment posted the highest increase in spending, up by 31%. Console spending shot up by 24% while spending on mobile games rose by 6%.
In the same month, Playtika kicked off a highly anticipated rush of gaming industry IPOs for 2021. The Israeli-based mobile game developer raised $1.88 billion from 69.5 million shares worth $27 each. Share price surged by 34% on the opening day driving the company’s market cap to almost $15 billion. The company produces nine of the top 100 highest grossing games in the US. Almost half its revenue comes from just two games.
Roblox went public on March 10, 2021 through a direct listing on the NYSE. Its shares started trading at $64.50, up by 43% from the $45 price set in January during a private financing round. At the time, it had a valuation of $29.5 billion in the private market.
The January valuation was more than seven times the $4 billion that Roblox was worth in February 2020. Following the listing, shares closed at $69.50, sending the market capitalization to $38.26 billion, close to 10 times the previous years’ valuation.
Ahead of its listing on March 10, Roblox hit $2.5 billion in lifetime revenue according to Sensor Tower estimates. In 2020 alone, it generated a total of $1.2 billion across the App Store and Play Store.