Console consumers in the U.S. are starting to taper off on their hardware spend until the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation come out at the end of 2020. This behavior is expected and is showcased by the decline in console hardware sales in 3Q19 (-22% y/y) compared to 3Q18. Microsoft and Sony have been teasing their upcoming consoles for quite some time now and it looks like the gaming community has finally decided that it’s worth the wait. Nintendo Switch sales also declined by 23%.
However, this didn’t stop U.S. consumers from finding ways to spend their money in the gaming vertical. In Q3, U.S. gamers spent $9.18B led by $8.1B on video game content (up 3% compared to Q3 in 2018) which consists of digital console content, subscriptions, and mobile games.
Takeaway: consumer spending behavior within gaming constantly changes, yet consumers seem to be willing to simply shift that expenditure from hardware to another part of the ecosystem (instead of withholding it altogether).
The championship for League of Legends this week saw an +80% y/y increase in peak viewership from 2018 (2M) to 2019 (3.7M). Hours watched was up more than 2x while average minute audience was up 84%.
For context, the NHL finals’ peak viewership was up a similar amount of 92% from 5.4M (2018) to 10.4M (2019). Both the NHL and League of Legends are appealing to an audience that wants a more fast paced viewership experience. It's not suprising to see similar growth rates for each, respectively.