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Analyst: Worldwide Video Game Market to Reach $82 Billion by 2017

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Call of Duty: Black Ops II

As big as video game are today, they're about to get a whole lot bigger.

New analyst research from DFC Intelligence predicts the global market for video games will hit $82 billion by 2017 — a 22 percent increase over this year's expected $67 billion. That's news that's likely to be a relief to those who have eyed the past seven months of sales data (all of which have shown significant declines).

The number encompasses much more than just retail game sales, of course. It includes hardware as well as games for all sorts of mobile devices. But DFC's David Cole says new console systems from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will help that segment regain momentum in 2014 or 2015.

PC and mobile gaming, though, will continue to see substantial growth, he says. PC game revenue alone should pass $25 billion in 2017 — a $5 billion increase from this year's forecast.

Mobile is a notable, but still burgeoning, market today — and in the U.S., the PC doesn't begin to compare to console sales numbers, but Cole notes that on a global scale, things are reversed.

"The U.S. is actually relatively weak for PC and mobile devices, but in many global markets PC and mobile devices are the only platform," said Cole.

Brick and mortar retailers hoping to get relief, though, are in for a rude awakening, says Cole. DFC predicts worldwide revenue from online games will hit $35 billion by 2017. (This year, it's only expecting it to hit $19 billion.) Those new consoles aren't going to help matters. DFC says the next generation will create new online distribution opportunities.

"By 2017 we forecast 39 percent of console game revenue will be via online distribution and online revenue sources," says Cole.

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