What you need to know

The video games and console market is estimated to be worth £1.17 billion in 2019, declining from £1.26 billion in 2018. The market has been on a continued decline for several years and is waiting for its next major console launches. This will happen with Project Scarlett for Xbox in late 2020 and whilst the next PlayStation is expected to be around the same time, this is yet to be officially confirmed.

Intent to upgrade to next generation machines is good, with 68% of console owners at least considering upgrading. The new launches and early games are set to be major contributors to the industry’s return to growth by the end of 2020.

Google is also entering the gaming industry with its Stadia streaming platform. Whilst Google’s console-less approach is different from the competition, a move towards playing console quality games on a variety of mobile devices is being seen across the industry. Xbox’s upcoming Project xCloud forms part of this trend, offering game streaming even over a mobile connection. The flexibility users are now getting could lead to an increase in time spent gaming, although it could negatively affect the usage of dedicated mobile games from the App Store or Google Play Store.

This increased focus on digital content is likely to be well received by younger consumers in particular, who prefer digital games to physical discs. Whilst there remains a preference for discs across all consumers, many people (47%) would be happy buying a digital-only console.

The growing impact of Esports is also driving the importance of gaming performance. Ownership of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X has increased compared to 2018, and consumers considering next generation consoles say performance is the second most important factor in their decision – second only to price.

Products covered in this Report

Static consoles are devices primarily for gaming in the home. They require connection to a television or external monitor. Static console alternatives are static consoles that are not manufactured by the three major players in the static console market – ie Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Steam Machines fall under the definition of static console alternatives. Steam Machines, Nvidia Shield devices and other static console alternatives are not included in Mintel’s market size and forecast.

Current-generation static consoles are the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Previous or last-generation static consoles are the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.

Portable consoles are devices designed primarily for gaming outside of the home. Handheld devices have a built-in display (ie do not need to be connected to a TV or external monitor) and support cartridges or smaller discs. Smartphones and tablets are not included in the definition of handheld consoles.

Current-generation handheld consoles are the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console that can be played in both static and portable mode; it is included in Mintel’s market size estimate.

Post-purchases micro-transactions are not included in Mintel’s software market size data.

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