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50 Years of Video Game Industry Revenues, by Platform

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Area chart showing 50 years of video game industry revenue by device category

50 Years of Video Game Industry Revenues, by Platform

Video killed the radio star.

And the video game industry’s explosive growth over the last five decades has killed any skepticism of its strength and staying power in the larger media and entertainment space.

We visualize the video game industry’s inflation-adjusted revenues every year, from its humble beginnings in 1970 to the media juggernaut it is now, worth more than $180 billion of revenue in 2022. All data presented in the chart and in this article was provided by UK-based market intelligence firm Pelham Smithers.

YearTotal Game Industry Revenue (USD, Billions)% Increase (YoY)
1970$0N/A
1971$1N/A
1972$2100%
1973$350%
1974$6100%
1975$15150%
1976$2567%
1977$22-12%
1978$15-32%
1979$2247%
1980$3559%
1981$389%
1982$4211%
1983$37-12%
1984$26-30%
1985$14-46%
1986$157%
1987$1713%
1988$2229%
1989$2723%
1990$3011%
1991$3310%
1992$3712%
1993$4214%
1994$38-10%
1995$34-11%
1996$340%
1997$340%
1998$366%
1999$398%
2000$4310%
2001$441%
2002$4810%
2003$528%
2004$579%
2005$571%
2006$629%
2007$6810%
2008$748%
2009$774%
2010$782%
2011$791%
2012$835%
2013$853%
2014$917%
2015$976%
2016$10811%
2017$12819%
2018$15219%
2019$147-3%
2020$17720%
2021$1907%
2022$183-4%

Note: Numbers are rounded to the nearest billion.

From an industry that was nearly wiped out by a market crash, to the highest-earning media sector today, video games have had a tumultuous journey.

As medium has evolved, so too have the consumer preferences for different gaming platforms. Which formats led the overall industry’s revenue growth through the years?

Arcades, Home Consoles, Handheld Gaming

The history of mass-market consumer-oriented video games starts with Atari.

The company that released Computer Space (1971) and Pong (1972) on coin-operated arcade machines took the market by storm, spawning a series of competitors, earning an estimated $35-40 per day, and selling nearly 8,000 units in two years.

For an industry that barely existed until a couple years prior, those numbers spurred the inception of video games as a legitimate (and profitable) form of entertainment.

YearArcade Revenues
(USD, Billions)
Console Revenues
(USD, Billions)
Handheld Revenues
(USD, Billions)
1970$0N/AN/A
1971$1N/AN/A
1972$2N/AN/A
1973$3N/AN/A
1974$5$1N/A
1975$10$5N/A
1976$15$10N/A
1977$15$7N/A
1978$10$5N/A
1979$15$7N/A
1980$25$10N/A
1981$26$12N/A
1982$27$14N/A
1983$20$14N/A
1984$15$5N/A
1985$9$1N/A
1986$10$2N/A
1987$11$4N/A
1988$12$8N/A
1989$13$10$1
1990$15$8$2
1991$14$9$4
1992$13$11$6
1993$14$12$8
1994$15$7$7
1995$14$5$5
1996$11$7$6
1997$9$9$7
1998$7$11$7
1999$6$14$8
2000$5$17$8
2001$5$16$9
2002$5$18$9
2003$5$20$10
2004$5$22$10
2005$4$22$11
2006$4$20$14
2007$4$21$16
2008$4$24$15
2009$4$25$13
2010$3$25$11
2011$3$24$9
2012$3$23$7
2013$3$22$5
2014$3$23$4
2015$3$23$3
2016$4$23$3
2017$4$26$3
2018$3$33$2
2019$3$28$1
2020$2$32$0
2021$2$33$0
2022$2$30$0
Share of Total
Industry Revenue
in 2022
1.1%16.6%0.0%

Note: Numbers are rounded to the nearest billion.

Within just seven years, thanks to the proliferation of arcade games, the video game industry generated more revenue than the American box office and music industry put together.

Then, in the 1980s, a once little-known playing card company in Japan released one of the best-selling video game franchises ever, Super Mario Bros on their home console the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

A few years later, at the cusp of the ’90s, Nintendo released the iconic Game Boy on which enthusiasts could play Tetris—a popular arcade game—from the comfort of their bed, cementing video games’ place in consumers’ homes.

PC Gaming, Mobile Gaming, and Virtual Reality

By the ’90s, another technological boom was taking place: the rise of personal computing.

Naturally, companies developed video games (like Doom, Prince of Persia, Dangerous Dave) for this new platform, taking advantage of increased computing power, bigger screens, and more flexibility in programming.

While home consoles still accounted for the majority share of the industry’s revenues, handheld devices and PC gaming split the difference as arcade revenues began to drop rapidly.

YearPC Revenues
(USD, Billions)
Mobile Revenues
(USD, Billions)
VR/AR Revenues
(USD, Billions)
1982$1N/AN/A
1983$3N/AN/A
1984$6N/AN/A
1985$4N/AN/A
1986$3N/AN/A
1987$2N/AN/A
1988$2N/AN/A
1989$3N/AN/A
1990$5N/AN/A
1991$6N/AN/A
1992$7N/AN/A
1993$8N/AN/A
1994$9N/AN/A
1995$10N/AN/A
1996$9$1N/A
1997$9$1N/A
1998$9$2N/A
1999$9$3N/A
2000$9$4N/A
2001$10$4N/A
2002$11$5N/A
2003$12$6N/A
2004$13$7N/A
2005$13$8N/A
2006$14$10N/A
2007$15$12N/A
2008$16$15N/A
2009$17$18N/A
2010$18$21N/A
2011$18$25N/A
2012$21$29N/A
2013$23$32N/A
2014$26$35N/A
2015$28$40N/A
2016$30$48$1
2017$34$60$2
2018$39$74$2
2019$35$77$3
2020$41$98$5
2021$44$105$6
2022$45$101$5
Share of Total
Industry Revenue
in 2022
24.5%55.3%2.5%

Note: Numbers are rounded to the nearest billion.

However, handheld gaming revenues peaked in 2007, the year the iPhone launched, and have steadily declined since then as smartphone adoption has grown.

With smartphones came the mobile gaming juggernaut, which has made up more than half of the gaming industry’s revenues since 2019.

In the last few years however, the development of augmented and virtual reality’s more immersive, and sensory-heavy experiences have created yet another platform for video games, and yet another avenue for growth.

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Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

In total, the 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion—nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

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A portion of the top 20 biggest tech companies visualized as bubbles sized by market cap with Apple as the biggest.

Ranked: The 20 Biggest Tech Companies by Market Cap

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The world’s 20 biggest tech companies are worth over $20 trillion in total. To put this in perspective, this is nearly 18% of the stock market value globally.

This graphic shows which companies top the ranks, using data from Companiesmarketcap.com.

A Closer Look at The Top 20

Market capitalization (market cap) measures what a company is worth by taking the current share price and multiplying it by the number of shares outstanding. Here are the biggest tech companies according to their market cap on June 13, 2024.

RankCompanyCountry/RegionMarket Cap
1AppleU.S.$3.3T
2MicrosoftU.S.$3.3T
3NvidiaU.S.$3.2T
4AlphabetU.S.$2.2T
5AmazonU.S.$1.9T
6MetaU.S.$1.3T
7TSMCTaiwan$897B
8BroadcomU.S.$778B
9TeslaU.S.$582B
10TencentChina$453B
11ASMLNetherlands$415B
12OracleU.S.$384B
13SamsungSouth Korea$379B
14NetflixU.S.$281B
15AMDU.S.$258B
16QualcommU.S.$243B
17SAPGermany$225B
18SalesforceU.S.$222B
19PDD Holdings (owns Pinduoduo)China$212B
20AdobeU.S.$206B

Note: PDD Holdings says its headquarters remain in Shanghai, China, and Ireland is used for legal registration for its overseas business.

 

Apple is the largest tech company at the moment, having competed with Microsoft for the top of the leaderboard for many years. The company saw its market cap soar after announcing its generative AI, Apple Intelligence. Analysts believe people will upgrade their devices over the next few years, since the new features are only available on the iPhone 15 Pro or newer.

Microsoft is in second place in the rankings, partly thanks to enthusiasm for its AI software which is already generating revenue. Rising profits also contributed to the company’s value. For the quarter ended March 31, 2024, Microsoft increased its net income by 20% compared to the same quarter last year.

Nvidia follows closely behind with the third-highest market cap, rising more than eight times higher compared to its value at the start of 2023. The company has recently announced higher profits, introduced a higher dividend, and reported that its next-generation GPU chip will start generating revenue later this year.

AI a Driver of the Biggest Tech Companies

It’s clear from the biggest tech companies that involvement in AI can contribute to investor confidence.

Among S&P 500 companies, AI has certainly become a focus topic. In fact, 199 companies cited the term “AI” during their first quarter earnings calls, the highest on record. The companies who mentioned AI the most were Meta (95 times), Nvidia (86 times), and Microsoft (74 times).

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