With over 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2020, the video game industry is undergoing a renaissance. Billions of dollars are pouring in as transformations occur on multiple fronts, including in mobile, PC, and console gaming markets.
For gamers in the latter category, there comes a monumental time when the cycle flips the page to the next generation of consoles. We are now at that pivotal moment, with the Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 set to launch on November 10 and 12, 2020, respectively.
How will this generation of console games fare relative to past iterations, and which target demographics will be driving future sales?
There Can Only Be One
Xbox and Nintendo have put up a respectable fight, but the history of gaming console sales point to an extended era of PlayStation dominance.
In fact, PlayStation sits quite comfortably on the top of the podium, with the PS2 alone experiencing greater sales than both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One combined.
Over time, Sony has only widened the gap between themselves and the competition. The spread in unit sales between PS3 and Xbox 360 ended 1.6 million in favor of Sony. In the following product cycle, Sony achieved only further dominance, with the difference between PS4 and Xbox One sales now sitting at 63.7 million units.
Looking ahead, unit sale estimates for the PS5 range from 120-170 million and the new console is set to outperform Xbox again—in line with past trends.
Game Console Sales Galore
Gaming revenues have gone unscathed despite a pandemic, a retraction in economic activity, and the tightening of budgets for households in 2020. This trend could well be a result of video games growing as a form of stay-home entertainment.
On an annualized basis, global video game console revenues are to hit $51 billion in 2020 and reach past $60 billion in the next two years.
An Attractive Disconnect
It’s clear there is significant buzz around the new consoles, but here’s another perspective that highlights their allure to consumers.
Video games possess an attractive disconnect in that they are an entertainment cash cow for gaming companies, yet gaming products also happen to be a huge cost saver for the consumer relative to other platforms and devices.
The average cost per hour for gaming services is much cheaper than the cost of a book and even more competitive relative to the cost of entertainment giants Netflix and Spotify.
An Evolving Landscape
Consoles have transformed to being about much more than just gaming. They now take front and center in people’s homes as a centralized hub for all things entertainment. For both the Xbox One and PS4, half of all gamers use their consoles for non-gaming activity.
Another more notable form of transformation is the identity of the gamer itself. The classic portrayal of teenage boys engaged in Super Mario after school in their parents’ basement has all but dissipated.
In addition to older male users, there’s now a significant emergence in female gamers. In the U.S., women surpass men in both the 36-50 and 51-65 age cohorts. Furthermore, age demographics show a higher usage amongst men in the 36-50 age group, relative to the 10-20 cohort.
A Bright Future
There are reasons to expect the next generation of console gaming to be the greatest yet.
PlayStation has momentum on their side, and a slew of new gamers exist today that will continue to help transform the market.
With a more digitally connected world, this new era will see gamers that play and compete with one another from all four corners of the globe. For gamers, this will be a thrilling experience—and for companies, a potentially very lucrative one.
How Big Tech Revenue and Profit Breaks Down, by Company
How do the big tech giants make their money? This series of graphics shows a breakdown of big tech revenue, using Q2 2022 income statements.
In the media and public discourse, companies like Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft are often lumped together into the same “Big Tech” category. After all, they constitute the world’s largest companies by market capitalization.
And because of this, it’s easy to assume they’re in direct competition with each other, fiercely battling for a bigger piece of the “Big Tech” pie. But while there is certainly competition between the world’s tech giants, it’s a lot less drastic than you might imagine.
This is apparent when you look into their various revenue streams, and this series of graphics by Truman Du provides a revenue breakdown of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.
How Big Tech Companies Generate Revenue
So how does each big tech firm make money? Let’s explore using data from each company’s June 2022 quarterly income statements.
View the full-size infographic
In Q2 2022, about 72% of Alphabet’s revenue came from search advertising. This makes sense considering Google and YouTube get a lot of eyeballs. Google dominates the search market—about 90% of all internet searches are done on Google platforms.
View the full-size infographic
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon’s biggest revenue driver is e-commerce. However, as the graphic above shows, the costs of e-commerce are so steep, that it actually reported a net loss in Q2 2022.
As it often is, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the company’s main profit-earner this quarter.
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Apple’s biggest revenue driver is consumer electronics sales, particularly from the iPhone which accounts for nearly half of overall revenue. iPhones are particularly popular in the U.S., where they make up around 50% of smartphone sales across the country.
Besides devices, services like Apple Music, Apple Pay, and Apple TV+ also generate revenue for the company. But in Q2 2022, Apple’s services branch accounted for only 24% of the company’s overall revenue.
View the full-size infographic
Microsoft has a fairly even split between its various revenue sources, but similarly to Amazon its biggest revenue driver is its cloud services platform, Azure.
After AWS, Azure is the second largest cloud server in the world, capturing 21% of the global cloud infrastructure market.
Animation: The Most Popular Websites by Web Traffic (1993-2022)
This video shows the evolution of the internet, highlighting the most popular websites from 1993 until 2022.
The Most Popular Websites Since 1993
Over the last three decades, the internet has grown at a mind-bending pace.
In 1993, there were fewer than 200 websites available on the World Wide Web. Fast forward to 2022, and that figure has grown to 2 billion.
This animated graphic by James Eagle provides a historical look at the evolution of the internet, showing the most popular websites over the years from 1993 to 2022.
The 90s to Early 2000s: Dial-Up Internet
It was possible to go on the proto-internet as early as the 1970s, but the more user-centric and widely accessible version we think of today didn’t really materialize until the early 1990s using dial-up modems.
Dial-up gave users access to the web through a modem that was connected to an active telephone line. There were several different portals in the 1990s for internet use, such as Prodigy and CompuServe, but AOL quickly became the most popular.
AOL held its top spot as the most visited website for nearly a decade. By June 2000, the online portal was getting over 400 million monthly visits. For context, there were about 413 million internet users around the world at that time.
|Rank||Website||Monthly Visits (May 2000)|
But when broadband internet hit the market and made dial-up obsolete, AOL lost its footing, and a new website took the top spot—Yahoo.
The Mid 2000s: Yahoo vs. Google
Founded in 1994, Yahoo started off as a web directory that was originally called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”
When the company started to pick up steam, its name changed to Yahoo, which became a backronym that stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
Yahoo grew fast and by the early 2000s, it became the most popular website on the internet. It held its top spot for several years—by April 2004, Yahoo was receiving 5.6 billion monthly visits.
|Rank||Website||Monthly Visits (April 2004)|
But Google was close on its heels. Founded in 1998, Google started out as a simpler and more efficient search engine, and the website quickly gained traction.
Funny enough, Google was actually Yahoo’s default search engine in the early 2000s until Yahoo dropped Google so it could use its own search engine technology in 2004.
For the next few years, Google and Yahoo competed fiercely, and both names took turns at the top of the most popular websites list. Then, in the 2010s, Yahoo’s trajectory started to head south after a series of missed opportunities and unsuccessful moves.
This cemented Google’s place at the top, and the website is still the most popular website as of January 2022.
The Late 2000s, Early 2010s: Social Media Enters the Chat
While Google has held its spot at the top for nearly two decades, it’s worth highlighting the emergence of social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
YouTube and Facebook certainly weren’t the first social media platforms to gain traction. MySpace had a successful run back in 2007—at one point, it was the third most popular website on the World Wide Web.
|Rank||Website||Monthly Visits (Jan 2007)|
But YouTube and Facebook marked a new era for social media platforms, partly because of their impeccable timing. Both platforms entered the scene around the same time that smartphone innovations were turning the mobile phone industry on its head. The iPhone’s design, and the introduction of the App store in 2008, made it easier than ever to access the internet via your mobile device.
As of January 2022, YouTube and Facebook are still the second and third most visited websites on the internet.
The 2020s: Google is Now Synonymous With the Internet
Google is the leading search engine by far, making up about 90% of all web, mobile, and in-app searches.
What will the most popular websites be in a few years? Will Google continue to hold the top spot? There are no signs of the internet giant slowing down anytime soon, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that things change. And no one should get too comfortable at the top.
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