The video game industry has grown from niches to mainstream. As of July 2018[update], video games generated US$134.9 billion annually in global sales. In the US, it earned about $9.5 billion in 2007, $11.7 billion in 2008, and US$25.1 billion in[update] 2010, according to the ESA annual report. Research from Ampere Analysis indicated three points: the sector has consistently grown since at least 2015 and expanded 26% from 2019 to 2021, to a record $191 billion; the global games and services market is forecast to shrink 1.2% annually to $188 billion in 2022; the industry is not recession-proof.
In the early 1980s, the golden age of video arcade games reached its zenith. The total sales of arcade video game machines in North America increased significantly during this period, from $50 million in 1978 to $900 million by 1981, with the arcade video game industry's revenue in North America tripling to $2.8 billion in 1980. By 1981, the arcade video game industry was generating an annual North American revenue of $5 billion (equivalent to $14.9 billion in 2021). In 1982, the arcade video game industry reached its peak, generating $8 billion in quarters, surpassing the annual gross revenue of both pop music ($4 billion) and Hollywood films ($3 billion) combined. This was also nearly twice as much as the $3.8 billion generated by the home video game industry that year; both the arcade and home video game markets combined in 1982 total of $11.8 billion (equivalent to $33.1 billion in 2021). The arcade video game industry would continue to generate an annual revenue of $5 billion in quarters through to 1985. The most successful game of this era was Namco's Pac-Man, released in 1980, of which more than 350,000 cabinets were eventually sold, and within a year, collected more than $1 billion in quarters; in total, Pac-Man is estimated to have grossed over 10 billion quarters ($2.5 billion) during the 20th century.
On various Internet forums, some gamers have expressed disapproval of publishers having creative control since publishers are more apt to follow short-term market trends rather than invest in risky but potentially lucrative ideas. On the other hand, publishers may know better than developers what consumers want. The relationship between video game developers and publishers parallels the relationship between recording artists and record labels in many ways. But unlike the music industry, which has seen flat or declining sales in the early 2000s, the video game industry continues to grow.
China had not been a major factor in the global video game market early on due to economic factors, governmental oversight, and a black market for foreign products. The government initiated a ban on video game consoles in 2000 that lasted through 2014, during which China's video game market grew for personal computer games, particularly subscription-based and microtransaction-based ones that were amenable to use in PC cafes, and later into mobile games. Media publishers like Tencent and NetEase focused on these types of games, growing successfully during the 2010s to become leading international companies. As of 2015, China's video game market revenue exceeds that of the United States, and is the largest country by both revenue and number of players. China is also the largest contributor towards esports in both revenue and in the number of professional players from the country. The industry, like most media in China, is tightly controlled by the government, with strong restrictions on what content may be in games, and incorporation of anti-addiction measures to limit playtime. It is home to Asia Game Show, the largest game convention in the world by attendance.
By its nature, IPR infringement is difficult to quantify, and estimates of its level and cost are sensitive to the assumptions made. Quantifying IPR infringement in the digital environment is all the more challenging given, for example, that "infringing files are traded online and websites offering counterfeits are launched and accessed, countless times each day."63 By one estimate, nearly a quarter of global Internet traffic infringes on copyrights.64 Another study pegs the value of digitally pirated music, movies, and software (not actual losses) as growing anywhere in the range of $80-$240 billion by 2015, up from $30-$75 billion in 2010.65 Online sales of pirated and counterfeit goods reportedly could exceed the volume of sales "through traditional channels such as street vendors and other physical markets."66 As a reference point, trade in physically traded counterfeit and pirated goods was estimated to be up to 2.5% ($461 billion) of world trade in 2013, based on custom seizures data (i.e., for goods seized at the border by countries' customs administrations).67 2b1af7f3a8