There's plenty of industry chatter about how large esports have become. But most of that talk skips over an important number: precisely how large the industry is in Australia.
Amidst all the bustle of E3, the consultancy group PwC released their annual Australian Entertainment & Media industry forecasts, which covers the year prior and where the firm thinks the sector will be in five years.
Their report has included the local gaming industry for the last few years, and for this year the esports sector has been included. According to PwC, the Australian esports industry totalled $8 million last year, and is forecast to grow to $21 million by 2022.
The group also noted that consumer spending on "interactive games" in Australia last year totalled $2.6 billion (including consoles, mobiles, software, hardware) and predicted that figure would grow to $3.3 billion by 2022.
Image: PwC's Australian Entertainment & Media Industry Outlook 2018-2022 (Supplied)
PwC estimates that interactive games in Australia will grow annually by 5.1%, with the sector accounting for 11.8% of all Australian consumer spending on entertainment by 2022.
"The next wave of supporting infrastructure, including greater cloud usage and fifth generation wireless systems (5G), will enable hardware and software improvements to drive future growth," PwC Australia's Megan Brownlow said.
(It's worth noting that 5G infrastructure isn't expected to go live for consumers until next year, with the first 5G-enabled handsets available from the second half of next year; most Australians also only upgrade their phones every two or three years.)
While some are lucky enough to have reliable fibre connections, plenty of gamers either don't have access to fibre, or even reliable copper. Mobile internet is always an option, but anyone who's tried to game on 4G knows that the connection and bandwidth is often unstable.
PwC also estimated that esports would continue to outpace the growth of the entire video games segment, with a compounded annual growth rate of 20.6 percent.
Another intriguing part of the report was the growth in the Australian podcasting market, with more than 8.9 million Australians expected to listen to a podcast every month by 2022. "It’s forecast to more than double revenue over the next five years," Brownlow said.
Update 1543: PwC has provided some additional breakout information on the interactive games sector.
For one, revenue from the sale of physical PC games in Australia is expected to drop by almost half to $19 million by 2022 (from $39 million). The $21 million projection for Australian esports comes from a rise in esports advertising revenue ($12 million in 2022 from $5 million last year) and consumer revenue ($9 million from $3 million), while ad revenue for games broadly is expected to increase to $65 million by 2022:
PwC also projected that the sell-through rate for physical console games would dip slightly by 2022:
Digital sales for PC games were also expected to rise by 4.1%, not enough to keep pace with a 13% anticipated drop in physical sales:
The consultancy group also projected microtransaction revenue to rise for console and PC gaming, with double digit growth for consoles.
Images: PwC Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook