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United States / Analyst Insights
Rising and falling fortunes of US Video Game Publishers

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by IBISWorld
Mar 16 2017

Video games have sealed their position as mainstream entertainment options, with revenues of the industry dwarfing those of Hollywood.

The industry as a whole is in the growth stage of its life cycle, buoyed by the rise of mobile and online gaming, with revenue forecasted to grow at an average annual rate of 6.2% to $29.2 billion in the next 5 years to 2021.  In the data visualisation above, we track the fortunes of 5 of the biggest video game publishers in the US.

Activision Blizzard has consistently been the No.1 video game publisher in the US and is known for its blockbuster hits such as Call of Duty, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. Following a slight slump in revenue in 2014, the publisher is back on track on a growth trajectory following strong performances from new IP such as Overwatch which takes advantage of a fully online ecosystem to keep players invested in the game.

Electronic Arts saw their revenue rebound in 2014, following a turbulent 2011 and 2012 which saw the departure of John Riccitello as CEO and a reduction of the workforce, following large acquisition of mobile game companies. Recent growth has been attributed to its core offering of sports games such as the FIFA, NBA and Madden NFL series, in addition to AAA blockbuster titles such as Battlefield.

Sony and Microsoft have seen impressive revenue gains, following the release of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 in the 2013 holiday season. Strong sales of first-party titles such as Microsoft’s Halo, and Sony’s new IPs such as Uncharted and God of War have fuelled revenue growth on both these new console.

Nintendo is one of the most beloved video game publishers, but has seen less than impressive revenue following the launch of the Wii U game system, the successor to the best-selling Wii in 2012. The Wii U failed to capture the attention of gamers, who flocked to more powerful competitors Playstation 4 and Xbox One, although revenue has been sustained by strong sales from the handheld division, specifically franchises such as Pokemon, Mario and Legend of Zelda.

It remains to be seen if Nintendo can recapture the magic of the Wii with its new Nintendo Switch console, which is set to merge portable and home console gaming.

To find out more about the US Video Game Industry and to access more statistics and market research, you can view the Video Game Software Market Research Report on IBISWorld.