Is The Gaming Industry Bigger Than Films and Music?

We’ve said it before, but we can’t stress it enough. The games industry is thriving, established globally as an entertainment force that is arguably unmatched. Game fans are passionate, with an entire industry taking in roles across development, writing, art, marketing, legal, finance and much, much more. 

The games industry is also growing relatively consistently… 8% on average in the UK between 2017 and 2022, and globally expected to grow by 9.32% between 2023 and 2023. 

But, we wanted to know if it’s bigger than the two creative powerhouse sectors, the film industry and music industry. Read on to find out!


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Game development students working on computer together


How much is the gaming industry worth?

As we’ve already seen, games industry growth is substantial. But it takes real, monetary terms to understand the scale. The UK games industry was worth £7.7 billion in 2022, and globally, a whopping $249.6 billion (predicted) this year.

Those numbers are easier to understand when you consider that the games industry employs more than 330,000 people globally, and it should highlight how much potential there is in terms of working in this exciting industry, as it continues to grow.


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How much more money does the gaming industry make than films and music?

But how do those numbers compare to film and music? Both industries have been established for a long time and have rich histories. Enjoyed by billions of people every year, music was worth $31.2 billion in 2022, and film was worth $93.4 billion in the same year.

You don’t need to do the maths to see that the games industry is worth almost double the film and music industry, combined


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What makes the games industry so profitable?

But why is it worth so much? Not only do some games sell millions of copies, but the industry is fairly unique these days in that it also sells specialist hardware (consoles, PCs etc) to play games on.

Alongside that, the industry also incorporates esports (competitive gaming), microtransactions and downloadable content (extra add ons that are bought with real money, ranging from outfits for characters to full game expansions), to merchandising. 

Games in general are more accessible to a wider scope of people than ever before. Games can be bought on release, second hand via physical retailers or on sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, on digital retailers like Steam (sometimes at massive discounts) and via online streaming through platforms like PlayStation Plus.

Mobile gaming has also ballooned, in step with the continuous improvements in phone processing speeds and graphics power. The market is now worth $89.25 billion worldwide (predicted), a not small chunk of the overall value of the games industry.

On top of all of this, platforms like Twitch and YouTube have revolutionised how we consume games, with audiences tuning in regularly to watch ‘Let’s Play’ videos or esports tournaments for some of the industry’s biggest games.

All of this combined makes the games industry a huge revenue generator, with more people investing time and money as the industry becomes ever-more accessible.


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Man playing video game on PC


What game has made the most money?

We know what you’re thinking. The highest-grossing game is going to be something like Grand Theft Auto 5. Maybe it’s a twist, and it’s a mobile game like Candy Crush. Good guess, but you’d be wrong.

There are technically two highest-grossing games of all time. Space Invaders is the highest adjusted for inflation, with an incredible $30 billion, and the highest-grossing game, not adjusted for inflation, is Dungeon Fighter Online with $22 billion

In terms of franchises, the highest grossing is Pokémon, selling 47,520,000 games equating to $90 billion total. 


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What are some other highest-grossing video games?

There are too many highest-grossing games to give them all mentions here, but some of the biggest include: 

* Stats sourced from IGN

As can be seen from the list, there’s no one set type of game that is successful. Big sales usually come down to a combination of a high-quality finish, a passionate game dev team and an effective marketing strategy that reaches the right audience in the right places. Take for example, Rockstar Games, a company renowned globally for complex and detailed games with a high level of polish.  The reputation the company has built up, arguably gives a major boost to their sales figures. 

In other cases, it’s the richness of the story, the replayability, or even the communities that form around the game (Minecraft is a great example) that ensure players invest big upon release.


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Games development student

Looking for a Games Development Course?

So, what does all this growth mean for you, someone who loves games.

Well, if you want to build a career in games, it’s great news, there’s never been a better time to. Games development education is easier to access than ever, with courses and guidance widely available from a variety of sources including our very own Games Development and Games Art courses

At ACC, we do things differently, with 30 years of experience in building bespoke curriculums with industry expert tutors and partnering with key industry organisations to give you the best possible start to your career. If you study with us, you’ll work in high-spec, industry standard games labs, and get direct exposure to industry through our GoLive careers programme.

The average Game Developer salary is between £41,000 and £70,000 per year, increasing as you build your career and professional experience. While studying at ACC, we’ll also work with you to refine your portfolio which can be a huge boost when joining industry and increase your chances of starting out in the best possible position. 

We know we’re biased, but education is such a key foundation for any highly skilled role such as a games developer. If you’re feeling inspired and want to find out more about a games industry career, as well as what we can offer you, we’ve got open days coming up in your area. Book your place now on our events page.

Last updated on: 26th February 2024