Sports Video Game Publishing in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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Industry revenue has declined in the past five years after record-breaking sales of Wii's sports games carried the industry in the early part of the period. This wave of additional revenue masked lower consumer spending in the rest of the industry. In the five years ahead, an increase in mobile gaming and an effort to target new markets, such as women and older adults, will bring about healthy growth. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Sports Video Game Publishing industry to its growing industry report collection.

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Many start-ups have entered the industry, dragging down average profit margins

The Sports Video Game Publishing industry has weathered a rollercoaster ride over the past five years, ultimately declining an average of 10.0% annually in revenue. “However,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Dale Schmidt, “the unprecedented success of Wii Sports and its sequel and spinoffs are almost entirely responsible for the steep overall revenue decline.” After its release in 2006, Wii Sports became not only the most popular sports video game ever, but the most popular video game ever of any genre. Its sequel, Wii Sports Resort, and spinoffs, Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, were also massive successes, and those four games have each sold twice as many copies as any other sports video game ever. But such a quick rise in revenue, from $2.1 billion in 2005 to a peak of $3.9 billion in 2009, led to a steep decline in subsequent years as those games reached market saturation and sales waned. Following double-digit percentage drops in 2010 and 2011, revenue is expected to drop a further 28.5% in 2012 to reach $1.8 billion.

The past five years also saw the creation of the mobile gaming market, which caused a seismic shift in the industry's makeup. According to Schmidt, “Previously, developing and releasing a video game was an undertaking that required the financial and labor backing of a large-scale corporation.” But, with the creation of the Apple App Store and Google Play market, simpler games designed for mobile phones can easily be released to a wide audience. This has caused participation in the industry to explode, with the number of firms growing at an estimated average of 75.7% annually in the 10 years to 2017. Most of these firms employ fewer than five people and all but a few are unprofitable. As a result, the influx of companies has dragged down the average profit margin across the industry from 24.1% in 2007 to only 5.9% in 2012.

Market share concentration in the Sports Video Game Publishing industry is currently in a period of polarization. While the top companies continue to solidify their share of the console and PC market through their blockbuster AAA games, start-up video game publishers have flooded the industry. These publishers develop and release games for distribution over the internet (for play on smartphones, tablets, consoles or PCs) for free or a small upfront fee. However, their combined revenue is still dwarfed by the revenue of major players. The four largest sports video game publishers are estimated to garner just over half of the market in 2012, which is down from a high concentration of about three-quarters in 2009.

The industry is primed for moderate growth following the comedown from the Wii Sports high. This growth will primarily be the result of growing consumer incomes as more and more consumers return to work over the next five years, leading to strong revenue growth over the period. On the other hand, demand will be suppressed somewhat due to a reduction in consumer leisure time, stemming from the growing employment rate, as well as a growing variety of competing forms of entertainment.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Sports Video Game Publishing in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry publishes sports and fitness-related video game software. These establishments carry out operations necessary for producing and distributing such video games, including design, documentation, installation and support services. These firms may design, develop and publish games, or they may solely be involved in game publishing.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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