With nearly $180 billion in 2020 revenue, video game industry surpasses movies, sports combined

The sports and movie industry took hard hits this year with limitations in place due to the coronavirus.

Updated: December 27, 2020 - 12:14pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

With a year full of stay-at-home orders and lockdowns due to the coronavirus, video game revenue worldwide is expected to rise 20% to $179.7 billion by the end of 2020, making the global industry bigger than the sports and movies industries combined, according to the International Data Corporation.

The movie industry reached $100 billion in revenue in 2019, however with the widespread closures of movie theaters and a dearth of new productions, some reports have the industry losing $32 billion in 2020. Sports are predicted to gross an estimated $75 billion by the end of the year, with declines associated with the loss of live attendance revenue due to pandemic restrictions. 

New consoles, hardware, software and the latest accessories all contributed to the global rise in video game sales, with U.S. consumer spending on the sector rising 22% in the first 11 months of the year to $44.5 billion. November's release of the long-awaited Sony Playstation 5 and the new Microsoft Xbox boosted hardware sales 58%. 

"I do think there will be a deceleration as soon as effective, cheap, globally available vaccines get out there over the course of 2021, but I'm quite sure at the end of 2021 there will still be billions of potential people that will need vaccines," gaming research director at IDC Lewis Ward told MarketWatch. "So, my deceleration happens in 2022."