Aussies spent close to $4 billion on video games last year.
That’s according to a new report from the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), which shows Australians spent big on games throughout the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. IGEA sourced the bulk of its information from consumer sales trackers GSD and Newzoo.
Mobile games made up the bulk of units sold, representing a $1.51 billion slice. Digital games made up a further $1.41 billion, with traditional brick-and-mortar retail coming in at $1.07 billion.
The trend towards mobile games shouldn’t be a surprise: in the modern age, everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and just about everyone keeps a game or two installed. Kotaku Australia reached out to IGEA CEO Ron Curry on this particular point, and it seems he wasn’t terribly surprised either.
“Last year’s Digital Australia (DA22) report showed that mobiles were the second most common devices used to play games, with 54% of households using them for gaming,” said Curry via email. “With this in mind, it’s not surprising that mobile achieved the largest chunk of consumer sales. Mobile gaming hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic in the same way consoles or AAA titles have. This also aligns with global trends of mobile gaming being the dominant category for gameplay now.”
The console games that sold the best? All Switch heavy hitters: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Minecraft: Switch Edition, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Despite near-constant hardware shortages, hardware sales still managed to pull in year-on-year spending growth. A big part of this was a frantic push by punters to secure a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console. The PS5 was the best-selling console, by value, sold in 2021. The reason for that is, of course, its markedly higher price point compared to last-gen hardware. The Switch also had an absolute innings, selling like mad off the launch of the Switch OLED.
PC gaming also saw a boom period, with digital sales of PC games growing by 11.5% year-on-year. It beat out spending growth on both mobile and consoles, which both remained below the global average.
Let’s quickly run through it by the numbers.
Among digital games sold:
- $566 million was spent on full games
- $687 million was spent on in-game transactions (if you’re still wondering why publishers push microtransactions, what a perfect illustration of why)
- $162 million was spent on subscriptions (across platforms like Game Pass, PS Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, Apple Arcade, Fortnite Crew, et al)
And across traditional retail:
- $560 million was spent on hardware
- $378 million was spent on games for that hardware
- $131 million was spent on first-party peripherals (controllers, chargers, batteries, screen protectors, et al)
In all, a huge year for the Australian games market. Certainly proof of the nation’s appetite for games in daily life.