Paid competitive gaming (PCG) has been identified as the fastest growing segment of the gaming sector, growing six times faster than the market as a whole, according to a new report by Newzoo and Mobile Premier League. The segment is expected to reach $16 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.9% from 2021 to 2024.
The report identifies several key components of paid competitive gaming: PVP gameplay, effective skill-matching, the chance to win real money, and skill-based gameplay.
The USA is identified as the top market for PCG, accounting for 42% of revenue with an estimated market size of $6.6 billion in 2024. India, which accounts for 21% of the market, is estimated to generate $3.5 billion in revenue.
Despite only coming in second place in terms of market share, the top three PCG companies - Mobile Premier League, Dream11, and Winzo - are all based in India.
Among mobile gamers, skill-based gamers prove to be more engaged, playing for longer (an average of 5.4 hours per week compared to 4.4 hours for traditional gamers) and installing more apps (6.8 compared to 5.3).
In addition, there’s a notable share of traditional gamers who are likely to play skill-based games in the future. India led the market in this regard, with 48% of traditional gamers surveyed expecting to do so. This was followed by players in Latin America at 40%. The fact that both territories leading the way in terms of likelihood to enter the skill-based gaming world are mobile-first suggests that the accessibility of PCG and skill-based gaming on mobile devices will lead the way as the sector grows.
The rise of skill-based gaming
Notably, skill-based gamers across all markets expect to increase the money spent on related games in the long term. Once again, India leads this market at 58%, while the USA and Brazil - the biggest gaming market in Latin America - come in second place at 51%.
Despite the success of PCG, the genre sees what Newzoo calls a “moderate-to-high” churn rate, suggesting that many new players uninstall soon after downloading a new game. However, many return to the genre,the report stating “virtually no one stops playing permanently but instead takes a 6-to-12 month hiatus.”
Outside of the PCG world, Newzoo reiterates the remarkable strength of mobile gaming, stating that the proliferation of affordable Android devices will see the number of smartphone users worldwide rise to 4.8 billion in 2024 - well over half the worldwide population. Over 3.1 billion of these smartphone users are forecast to take part in mobile gaming.
The report also notes that, as part of the technological advancement of mobile gaming, more and more PC and console publishers are making steps to increase their profile in the mobile space to maximise growth and market penetration. Newzoo forecasts that the mobile games market will account for $113 billion in revenue by 2024, compared to $67.7 billion for consoles and $41.9 billion for PC.
Earlier this year, Newzoo reported that 60% of all media engagement takes place on mobile platforms.