New research from Omdia reveals that the global game subscriptions market is poised to reach record heights, with revenue anticipated to exceed $22 billion by 2027, or 11.6% of the total global spend on games. Following unprecedented growth in 2020 and 2021, games subscriptions plateaued in 2022 in line with broader market trends. However, a resurgence is anticipated in 2023, with a projected 10.9% growth, reaching $16 billion.
Microsoft and Sony lead the charge in games library services, collectively boasting 51 million subscriptions. Services offering cloud gaming are projected to generate $3.6 billion in 2023 and grow to $6.4 billion by 2027. This growth will be primarily driven by ‘cloud-enabled’ games library services Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PlayStation Plus Premium, as opposed to cloud-only services like Amazon Luna+, which will account for just 5% of the total subscriptions revenue by 2027.
“Subscriptions have evolved into a cornerstone strategy for leading game companies, which increasingly emphasize expanded capabilities, exclusive content, and cross-platform accessibility,” commented George Jijiashvili, Senior Principal Analyst, Omdia. “However, subscriptions’ role as the primary business model remains unproven. While offering a cost-effective and user-friendly experience, sustaining blockbuster game development within this model raises difficult financial questions. This further underscores our belief that, while subscriptions will continue to grow, they will not become the dominant business model for games but rather complement a diverse range of monetization approaches.”
Omdia’s Game Subscriptions and Cloud Gaming Market Forecast provides comprehensive insight into all types of game subscriptions and offers detailed sizing and projections for 43 markets. Three main categories of subscriptions are analyzed: Games library services offering Netflix-style access to a selection of titles, which have a share of 44% ($7.3 billion) in 2023, in-game subscriptions within individual games with30% ($4.8 billion), and platform access subscriptions primarily giving access to online features instead of a large games library with 26% ($4.3 billion). A further eight sub-categories, eight companies, and ten services are included in the full forecast. The total number of paid subscriptions is set to reach 175 million at the end of 2023, growing to 217 million by 2027 – this excludes subscriptions within individual games.