The Top 10 Public Game Companies Generated $126 Billion in 2021 as Subscriptions and M&A Shake up the Market

Tencent Remains the #1 Games Company by Revenues by a Huge Margin

Tencent’s game revenues grew +9.9% year on year to $32.2 billion in 2021. The Chinese tech giant’s gaming growth was again driven by its key live-service franchises.

  • At home in China, mobile MOBA Honor of Kings — one of the world’s biggest games by engagement and revenues — drove revenue growth.
  • On the international front, a new Clash Royale update saw impressive engagement and revenue jumps for the title.
  • League of Legends also benefitted from cross-promotion via the Netflix show Arcane, which is based on the game’s characters and lore. The show’s success makes it a strong test case for the growing transmedia trend. Learn more about that in our 2022 gaming trends article here.

Console: Xbox Game Pass Gives Microsoft Healthy Growth as the Other Platform Holders Face Challenges

Sony (#2) and Nintendo (#8) suffered the most from the pandemic-caused delays on console.

  • The release of the PlayStation 5 and accompanying first-party software like Spider-Man Miles Morales.
  • Highly anticipated first-party software on older hardware, like The Last of Us: Part II and Ghost of Tsushima for PlayStation, and the cultural zeitgeist that was Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo.
  • A general boost in consumer interest and spending on consoles, resulting from 2020’s pandemic-related stay-at-home orders.

Mobile: SEA Limited Enjoyed Skyrocketing Revenues Last Year, But Big Challenges Are on the Horizon

The mobile games market grew +12.5% year on year in 2021. Of course, this rise also helped mobile’s two biggest platform holders grow their 2021 games revenues, +17.7% year on year for #3 Apple and +20.8% for #5 Google. Both these companies take a 30% cut of all game purchases via their respective app stores.

The Market’s Biggest Acquisitions Would Change the Top 10 Significantly

Q1 2022 saw two of gaming’s biggest-ever public-company acquisitions. Take-Two is in the process of acquiring Zynga, while Microsoft is doing the same for Activision Blizzard.



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