Forecast: Gaming to generate highest digital revenue by 2026

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A study from Juniper Research has found that the total market value of digital content will reach $432 billion (€353.4bn) by 2026; rising from $211 billion in 2021. This represents a growth of 105 per cent over the next 5 years. This value takes into account pay-per-download revenue, in app content spend, subscription revenue and ad spend over digital content.

The study identified digital games as the sector to generate the highest revenue by 2026; accounting for 45 per cent of the global market value. It predicted that, as subscription services increase in popularity, digital games providers must differentiate their services through unique content. It also highlighted the immediate need for partnerships between digital content platforms and niche content to best position services for future growth.

The report forecasts that there will be over 3.3 billion games users by 2026; rising from 2.7 billion in 2021, and urged games publishers to capitalise on this growth by offering subscriptions that leverage extensive content partnerships to provide regularly updated content libraries that justify ongoing subscription costs.

Report co-author, Saidat Giwa-Osagie, commented: “Over half of digital content spend will come from smartphones. However, as subscriptions become increasingly competitive, niche areas, such as augmented and virtual reality, will need to be considered when onboarding content partners.’

The report identified 2 key device channels anticipated to provide new revenue opportunities over the next 5 years; immersive reality headsets and smart speakers. It predicted that digital content revenue attributable to these device categories will grow from $2.4 billion in 2021, to $8.1 billion by 2026; representing a growth of 275 per cent.

However, the research predicted that North America & Europe will account for over 50 per cent of revenue from immersive reality headsets and smart speakers by 2026, and anticipated that high device ownership will result in these regions providing the most opportunities for monetisation over the next 5 years.


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