The game subscriptions market is projecting to surpass $22 billion in revenue by 2027. This represents a substantial 11.6 percent of the total global spending on games, according to a recent study by Omdia.
The research reveals that after witnessing unprecedented growth in 2020 and 2021, game subscriptions plateaued in 2022 in line with broader market trends. However, a resurgence is expected in 2023, with a projected 10.9 percent growth, reaching $16 billion.
Omdia’s Game Subscriptions and Cloud Gaming Market Forecast provides detailed insights into various game subscription models and offers projections for 43 global markets. The analysis highlights three primary categories of game subscriptions: games library services, in-game subscriptions, and platform access subscriptions.
Games library services, which offer Netflix-style access to a selection of titles, are expected to represent 44 percent of the market, generating $7.3 billion in revenue in 2023.
In-game subscriptions within individual games will constitute 30 percent of the market, amounting to $4.8 billion.
Platform access subscriptions, primarily providing access to online features instead of a large game library, are projected to capture 26 percent of the market, generating $4.3 billion.
The study also includes data on eight sub-categories, eight key companies, and ten services within the game subscriptions market. The total number of paid subscriptions is forecasted to reach 175 million by the end of 2023 and is expected to grow to 217 million by 2027, excluding subscriptions within individual games.
Leading the charge in games library services are Microsoft and Sony, with a collective 51 million subscriptions. Additionally, services offering cloud gaming are projected to generate $3.6 billion in revenue in 2023, with an anticipated growth to $6.4 billion by 2027. This growth will primarily be driven by ‘cloud-enabled’ games library services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus Premium, as opposed to cloud-only services, such as Amazon Luna+, which are forecasted to account for just 5 percent of the total subscriptions revenue by 2027.
George Jijiashvili, Senior Principal Analyst at Omdia, commented on the findings, stating, “Subscriptions have evolved into a cornerstone strategy for leading game companies, which increasingly emphasize expanded capabilities, exclusive content, and cross-platform accessibility. However, subscriptions’ role as the primary business model remains unproven.”
“While offering a cost-effective and user-friendly experience, sustaining blockbuster game development within this model raises difficult financial questions. This further underscores our belief that, while subscriptions will continue to grow, they will not become the dominant business model for games but rather complement a diverse range of monetization approaches.”
The gaming industry’s shift towards subscription models and the anticipated growth in this sector is indicative of the evolving landscape of the gaming market, offering players more options and companies innovative ways to monetize their content.