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Video Games Made More Money Than Sports & Movies Combined This Year


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In one of the industry’s most profitable years to date, video games managed to earn more than both movie theaters and sporting events combined in 2020. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cast a large shadow over the entertainment industry this year, with several sporting venues being forced to close their doors for months at a time, movie theaters possibly running out of money, and several highly anticipated films like Black Widow and Fast & Furious 9 being delayed well into 2021.

Even the video game industry was hit by the sting of ongoing lockdowns and other necessary health precautions throughout 2020, with gaming retail chains like Gamestop switching to delivery only business models and major events like E3 being either delayed or outright canceled over the long and very difficult year. However, despite these setbacks, it seems that the video game industry still managed to land a steady profit in 2020, perhaps even more than other popular entertainment mediums.

According to a new report by MarketWatch.com, the video game industry is expected to make over $179.7 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, with most of these profits coming from mobile gaming. This is significantly higher than both the movie industry (which grossed over $100 billion in 2019) and sports (which maxed out at over $75 billion this year). The analysts at J.P. Morgan say that many factors are driving the gaming industry's high 2020 profits, with the Coronavirus outbreak, easy cross-play compatibility between different consoles, and a steady increase in digital software downloads from online outlets like Steam and the Epic Games Store being chief among them.


There’s also the release of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, which managed to raise hardware sales in November by 58 percent (translating to roughly $1.4 billion) despite the highly publicized shortage of these systems at launch. Major companies and franchises also drove up sales figures in 2020, with Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty games being the standout thanks to the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War last month and 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remaining a chart-topping title well into this year.

Given that consumers were stuck inside for most of 2020, it would stand to reason that they would gravitate more towards video games for entertainment rather than movies or sports. After all, while the latter two typically require fans to leave their homes to catch the newest game or movie (network broadcasts and online streaming services notwithstanding), video games can be enjoyed (and even purchased these days) entirely from the comfort of one’s own living room. Only time will tell if the gaming industry can continue this wave of success in 2021, but companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Activision are likely reaping the benefits after a particularly tumultuous year.
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