How Much Did Online Gaming Make



The global gaming industry has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, with online gaming at the forefront of this phenomenon. As technology continues to advance, more people are immersing themselves in the world of virtual entertainment, resulting in a surge in online gaming revenue. In this article, we will delve into the financial success of online gaming and explore the factors driving its popularity.

The advent of the internet has revolutionized the way people interact, communicate, and entertain themselves. Online gaming has emerged as a prominent form of entertainment, offering thrilling experiences, engaging gameplay, and the opportunity to connect with other players from around the world. With the accessibility of smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles, the potential audience for online gaming has expanded exponentially.

Online gaming revenue has experienced rapid growth, with lucrative possibilities for game developers, publishers, and platform providers. This sector has surpassed traditional gaming platforms, such as console and PC gaming, capturing a substantial market share in the global gaming industry.

In this article, we will explore the top grossing online games, examine the driving factors behind the success of online gaming, analyze the monetization strategies employed in this industry, and discuss the preferences for gaming platforms. We will also delve into the revenue generated from mobile gaming and the emerging field of esports.

Overall, the purpose of this article is to shed light on the financial aspects of online gaming and provide insights into the trends and factors that contribute to its staggering revenue. By understanding the dynamics of this industry, we can better comprehend its impact on the global gaming market and anticipate its future growth and potential.


The Global Gaming Market

The global gaming market has become a powerhouse, surpassing many other forms of entertainment in terms of revenue and popularity. According to market reports, the gaming industry generated a staggering $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020, and this figure is expected to reach $200 billion by 2023. It is evident that gaming has evolved from niche hobby to mainstream entertainment.

The rise of online gaming has played a significant role in the growth of the global gaming market. Online gaming provides an interactive and immersive experience that appeals to a wide range of players. It allows individuals to connect and compete with others, transcending geographical boundaries and establishing a global community. The convenience of online gaming platforms has contributed to its popularity, as players can access their favorite games anytime and anywhere.

Furthermore, the proliferation of mobile devices has greatly influenced the global gaming market. The advent of smartphones and tablets has made gaming more accessible than ever before. Mobile gaming revenue alone accounted for $86.3 billion in 2020, making it the largest segment within the gaming industry.

In addition to mobile gaming, the emergence of esports has also had a significant impact on the global gaming market. Esports refers to competitive gaming at a professional level, with players participating in tournaments and leagues for substantial cash prizes. The popularity of esports has skyrocketed in recent years, with dedicated teams, sponsors, and millions of viewers tuning in to watch competitions. In 2020, esports revenue reached $1.1 billion, further solidifying its position as a major player in the gaming industry.

Overall, the global gaming market continues to thrive and expand, driven by the growth of online gaming, mobile gaming, and the rise of esports. As technology advances and new innovations emerge, the gaming industry is poised for continued success. The next sections will delve deeper into the revenue generated by online gaming and the factors that contribute to its financial triumph.


Online Gaming Revenue

Online gaming has become a lucrative source of revenue for game developers, publishers, and platform providers. The global online gaming revenue reached an astonishing $94.8 billion in 2020, accounting for more than half of the total gaming market revenue.

One of the primary drivers of online gaming revenue is the freemium model. Many online games are available to players for free, enticing a large user base. However, these games offer optional in-game purchases, such as virtual currency, cosmetic items, or additional content, creating a revenue stream for developers. This model has proven to be highly successful, as players have shown a willingness to spend on these optional items to enhance their gaming experience.

In addition to the freemium model, online gaming also generates revenue through subscription-based services. Some games offer monthly or yearly subscription packages that provide players with exclusive content, early access to updates, and enhanced features. These subscriptions offer a steady source of income for game developers and provide players with added benefits and incentives to continue playing.

Another significant source of online gaming revenue is in-game advertising. Advertising within games has become increasingly prevalent, with brands recognizing the vast audience reach and engagement potential. Advertisements can appear as product placements, banner ads, or even interactive elements within the game. Developers and publishers can monetize their games by partnering with advertisers, allowing them to access a captive audience and generate revenue through ad impressions and clicks.

Furthermore, the online gaming industry has seen a rise in the popularity of loot boxes or mystery boxes. Loot boxes offer players a chance to obtain random virtual items, ranging from cosmetic enhancements to powerful in-game assets. Players purchase these loot boxes with real or in-game currency, creating a gambling-like mechanic that has faced scrutiny from regulators in some jurisdictions. Despite the controversy, loot boxes have proven to be a lucrative revenue stream for game developers.

The revenue generated from online gaming is expected to continue its upward trajectory. As more players embrace online gaming and new technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, enter the space, the opportunities for revenue growth are endless. The next section will explore some of the top grossing online games that have contributed to the remarkable revenue figures in the industry.


Top Grossing Online Games

Online gaming has seen the rise of several immensely popular titles that have garnered massive revenue. These top grossing online games have captivated millions of players worldwide and have become household names in the gaming industry.

One of the most successful online games is “Fortnite,” developed by Epic Games. Released in 2017, “Fortnite” quickly became a phenomenon, attracting millions of players across different platforms. The game’s revenue mainly comes from in-game purchases, where players can buy cosmetic items and battle passes to customize their characters and progress through the game’s seasons. “Fortnite” has earned billions of dollars in revenue and has become a cultural phenomenon with its iconic dances and collaborations with popular brands and celebrities.

Another highly profitable online game is “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (PUBG), developed by PUBG Corporation. The game popularized the battle royale genre, where players compete against each other until only one remains. PUBG’s success lies in its addictive gameplay, realistic graphics, and intense player-versus-player encounters. With millions of players worldwide, PUBG has generated substantial revenue through in-game microtransactions, offering players cosmetic items and a battle pass system for seasonal rewards.

Minecraft, developed by Mojang Studios, is another online game that has amassed significant revenue. With its sandbox-style gameplay and limitless possibilities, Minecraft has become a global phenomenon since its release in 2011. The game’s revenue primarily comes from game sales and merchandise, as well as the Minecraft Realms service, which allows players to host their own private servers with friends.

Other top grossing online games include “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Riot Games, and “World of Warcraft,” a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. These games have attracted dedicated player bases and have generated substantial revenue through subscription models, in-game purchases, and esports competitions.

These top grossing online games serve as a testament to the financial potential of the online gaming industry. Their massive revenue figures highlight the immense popularity and engagement these games have achieved. With ongoing updates, new content, and innovative monetization strategies, these games continue to thrive and dominate the online gaming landscape.


Factors Driving Online Gaming Revenue

Several factors contribute to the remarkable revenue generated by online gaming, making it one of the most lucrative sectors in the entertainment industry.

The first factor driving online gaming revenue is the exponential growth of the global gaming community. With advancements in technology and increased internet accessibility, more people are engaging in online gaming than ever before. The growing player base translates into a larger market and consumer demand, leading to increased revenue opportunities for game developers and publishers.

Another key driver of online gaming revenue is the social aspect of online gameplay. Online gaming provides players with the opportunity to connect and interact with others from around the world. Whether it’s collaborating with teammates in a multiplayer game or competing against each other in a virtual arena, the social interaction greatly enhances the gaming experience. This social element fosters loyalty and engagement, leading players to invest more time and money in the games they love.

The development of immersive technologies has also played a significant role in driving online gaming revenue. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have revolutionized the way players experience games, providing a heightened level of immersion and realism. These technologies open up new possibilities for game developers to create innovative and captivating experiences, enticing players to spend more on VR or AR devices and related games.

Additionally, the rise of live streaming platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming, has contributed to the growth of online gaming revenue. These platforms allow gamers to showcase their gameplay to a vast audience, creating a new form of entertainment and engagement. Viewers can watch their favorite streamers play and interact with them in real-time. The popularity of live streaming has led to collaborations between streamers and game developers, boosting game sales and in-game purchases.

Furthermore, the increasing acceptance and recognition of esports as a legitimate form of competition has been a driving force behind online gaming revenue. Esports tournaments and leagues attract millions of viewers and generate significant revenue through sponsorships, ticket sales, advertising, and merchandise. The professionalization of gaming has elevated its status and further incentivized players to invest in the games they play.

Last but not least, the continuous innovation in monetization strategies has contributed to the surge in online gaming revenue. Game developers now employ a variety of models, including in-app purchases, loot boxes, subscriptions, and cosmetic item sales, to generate income from their games. These strategies provide players with additional content, customization options, and convenience, while simultaneously driving revenue for the developers.

Overall, the combination of a growing audience, social interactivity, immersive technologies, live streaming, esports, and innovative monetization strategies all contribute to the substantial online gaming revenue. Understanding these factors is crucial for businesses and developers looking to capitalize on the immense financial opportunities presented by the online gaming industry.


Monetization Strategies in Online Gaming

Monetization is a critical aspect of the online gaming industry, allowing game developers and publishers to generate revenue while providing players with engaging experiences. Various monetization strategies have emerged in the online gaming space, catering to different player preferences and revenue models.

One of the most prevalent monetization strategies is the freemium model. Games following this model are free to download and play, but offer optional in-game purchases. These purchases may include cosmetic items, such as skins or outfits for characters, or boosters and power-ups that enhance gameplay. The freemium model capitalizes on players” willingness to spend on these optional items to enhance their gaming experience, allowing developers to generate revenue while maintaining a sizable player base.

Another popular monetization strategy is the subscription-based model. With this approach, players pay a recurring fee, typically on a monthly or yearly basis, to access exclusive content, additional features, or special in-game benefits. Subscriptions provide a steady source of revenue for developers and publishers and can foster player loyalty by offering ongoing value and rewards.

In-game advertising is also a significant source of monetization in online gaming. Developers and publishers partner with advertisers to display advertisements within the game environment. These advertisements can appear as banner ads, sponsored content, or even product placements. In-game advertising provides a way for developers to monetize their games without directly charging players, while advertisers can leverage the captive audience and engagement of gamers.

Furthermore, loot boxes have gained popularity as a monetization strategy, despite facing regulatory scrutiny in some regions. Loot boxes are virtual crates containing random items or rewards that players can purchase with real or in-game currency. The element of chance and the desire to obtain rare or valuable items drives players to spend on these loot boxes, creating a gambling-like mechanic that can generate substantial revenue for developers.

Season passes or battle passes have also become a prevalent monetization strategy. These passes offer players access to a series of in-game challenges, rewards, and exclusive content for a specific period. By purchasing a season or battle pass, players can unlock cosmetic items, character upgrades, or additional story content. Season passes not only generate revenue but also create a sense of progression and achievement for players, encouraging them to invest in the game.

Lastly, game developers may offer premium or deluxe editions of their games, which include additional content, bonuses, or early access to new releases. These premium editions cater to players who are willing to pay a higher price for more extensive gameplay experiences or exclusive perks.

Overall, the diverse range of monetization strategies demonstrates the creativity and adaptability of the online gaming industry. Game developers continuously explore new methods to generate revenue while maintaining player satisfaction and engagement. By effectively implementing monetization strategies, developers can ensure the financial success of their games and support ongoing development and updates that keep players coming back for more.


Platform Preferences in Online Gaming

Online gaming offers a multitude of platforms for players to choose from, each with its own unique features and characteristics. The platform preferences of players can significantly impact the online gaming landscape and determine the success and revenue potential for game developers and publishers.

One of the most widely adopted platforms for online gaming is the PC (personal computer). PC gaming offers a vast library of games, often with superior graphics and performance capabilities compared to other platforms. The PC gaming community is known for its dedication to gaming, with a thriving esports scene and a wide range of genres and gameplay experiences available. PC gamers enjoy the flexibility of customization, allowing them to modify games, optimize settings, and play with various peripherals, such as high-end gaming mice and keyboards.

Console gaming has also played a significant role in online gaming, with major players like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo dominating the market. Consoles offer a simplified and user-friendly gaming experience, with pre-built systems and exclusive titles. Many online games are optimized for consoles, providing seamless multiplayer experiences and integrated online communities. Console gaming has a strong presence in the gaming industry, attracting a dedicated player base and generating substantial revenue through game sales and subscriptions.

Mobile gaming has experienced exponential growth in recent years, fueled by the widespread availability of smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices provide a convenient and accessible platform for casual and on-the-go gaming experiences. The simplicity of touch controls and the availability of a wide range of free-to-play games make mobile gaming appealing to a broad audience. Mobile gaming revenue is primarily generated through in-app purchases, as players have the option to buy virtual currency, unlock additional levels, or remove advertisements.

Cloud gaming has emerged as a promising platform for online gaming, offering the ability to play games on various devices without the need for powerful hardware. Cloud gaming services, such as Google Stadia, GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud), allow players to stream games directly to their devices over the internet. This platform eliminates the need for game downloads or installations, providing instant access to a vast catalog of games. Cloud gaming has the potential to shape the future of online gaming, offering flexibility and accessibility to a diverse range of players.

Virtual reality (VR) gaming provides an immersive experience by placing players inside a virtual environment. VR headsets and motion controllers enable players to interact physically with the game world. Although VR gaming is still a niche category, it offers unique gameplay experiences and has the potential to revolutionize the way players engage with games. As technology continues to improve and VR becomes more affordable, this platform may gain popularity, especially for online multiplayer experiences.

Ultimately, the platform preferences in online gaming vary among players, reflecting their individual preferences, gaming habits, and access to different devices. Each platform offers its own advantages and caters to specific gaming needs. The success of online games often relies on developers’ ability to adapt their games to different platforms and create engaging experiences that resonate with players across various devices.


Mobile Gaming Revenue

Mobile gaming has experienced a meteoric rise in recent years, becoming a dominant force in the online gaming industry. The accessibility and widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets have propelled mobile gaming revenue to impressive heights.

According to industry reports, mobile gaming revenue reached a staggering $86.3 billion in 2020, making it the largest segment within the gaming industry. This figure is projected to continue growing, surpassing $100 billion by 2023. The popularity of mobile gaming can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, the convenience and portability of mobile devices have made gaming accessible to a broader audience. With powerful processors, high-resolution displays, and responsive touch controls, smartphones and tablets provide a seamless gaming experience. Players can enjoy their favorite games anytime and anywhere, whether during their daily commute, while waiting in line, or relaxing at home.

Secondly, the availability of a wide range of free-to-play games has greatly contributed to mobile gaming revenue. Free-to-play games, also known as freemium games, allow players to download and play without upfront costs. These games generate revenue through in-app purchases, where players can buy virtual currency, power-ups, cosmetic items, or unlock additional levels or features. The freemium model has proven to be highly successful, enticing a massive player base and driving significant revenue for developers.

Speaking of in-app purchases, they are a primary source of revenue in mobile gaming. Some players are willing to spend real or in-game currency to enhance their gaming experience or progress more quickly in the game. Developers strategically design in-app purchases to offer appealing items or advantages that players can choose to acquire. The convenience of in-app purchases, combined with the addictive nature of mobile games, has led to substantial revenue growth in the mobile gaming market.

Furthermore, mobile gaming revenue is fueled by the loyalty and engagement of players. Many mobile games adopt a live operations model, where developers continuously update and expand their games with new content, events, and challenges. This ensures a continuous stream of engagement, encourages player retention, and offers opportunities for monetization through limited-time offers and exclusive items.

Mobile gaming also benefits from its integration with social media platforms. Many mobile games allow players to connect and compete with friends or strangers through social features, leaderboards, or multiplayer modes. This social aspect enhances the gaming experience and can drive increased revenue through social interactions, such as gifting in-game items or incentivizing players to invite their friends to play.

Lastly, the international market plays a pivotal role in mobile gaming revenue. Mobile games have a global reach, attracting players from various countries and cultures. Developers can leverage localization strategies to cater to specific regional preferences and behaviors, adapt monetization strategies to local markets, and target growth opportunities in emerging markets.

In summary, mobile gaming revenue continues to flourish due to its accessibility, freemium model, in-app purchases, player loyalty and engagement, social integration, and international market expansion. As technology evolves and mobile devices become even more powerful, the potential for revenue growth in the mobile gaming industry remains robust.


Esports Revenue

Esports, or electronic sports, has witnessed explosive growth in recent years, both in terms of popularity and revenue. As competitive gaming becomes a mainstream form of entertainment, esports revenue has skyrocketed, making it a lucrative sector within the online gaming industry.

In 2020, the global esports revenue reached a staggering $1.1 billion, and this figure is projected to continue rising in the coming years. The revenue streams within the esports ecosystem can be attributed to several key factors.

One of the main sources of revenue in esports comes from sponsorships and partnerships. As the popularity of esports grows, companies from various industries, including technology, automotive, and beverage brands, have recognized the immense marketing potential in associating their names with competitive gaming. Sponsorship deals involve financial contributions, product endorsements, event partnerships, and brand exposure to the esports audience. These valuable partnerships provide significant revenue for esports organizations, teams, and players.

Media rights and broadcasting deals also contribute substantially to esports revenue. Just as traditional sports are broadcasted on television, esports tournaments and leagues are streamed on popular platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and dedicated esports channels. Broadcasting rights agreements enable platforms and networks to showcase esports competitions to a global audience. These deals bring in substantial revenue through advertising, subscriptions, and licensing fees from broadcasters eager to capture the growing viewership of esports events.

Another significant revenue stream in esports is ticket sales and merchandise. Live esports events, whether in arenas or convention centers, attract thousands of fans who are eager to watch their favorite teams and players compete in person. The sale of tickets for these events generates revenue for organizers. Additionally, esports merchandise, including team jerseys, accessories, and collectibles, is highly sought after by fans and collectors. The sale of official merchandise brings in substantial revenue for esports teams and organizations.

Prize money plays a crucial role in esports revenue. The prize pools for major esports tournaments often reach millions of dollars, attracting top teams and players from around the world. These prize winnings not only provide recognition and financial rewards for the competitors but also contribute to the overall revenue generated in the esports industry. The allure of large prize pools incentivizes players to dedicate themselves to training and competition, while also attracting sponsors and media attention.

Sponsor activations during esports events offer additional revenue opportunities. Brands often create interactive experiences, booths, and activations at esports tournaments to engage with the audience. These activations provide a platform for brands to showcase their products, conduct marketing campaigns, and establish a connection with the esports community. The revenue generated from these brand activations can be significant, as companies invest in creating memorable experiences for attendees.

Furthermore, esports revenue is bolstered by content licensing and streaming platforms. Esports organizations and teams often broker deals to license their content for use in documentaries, television shows, and online streaming platforms. These licensing agreements provide additional revenue streams and expand the reach of esports beyond the traditional gaming and esports audience.

In summary, esports revenue is derived from sponsorships and partnerships, media rights and broadcasting deals, ticket sales and merchandise, prize money, sponsor activations, content licensing, and streaming platforms. As the esports industry continues to grow, the potential for revenue generation and profitability will attract more investment and drive further growth in this exciting sector of the online gaming industry.


Online Gaming Industry Outlook

The online gaming industry shows no signs of slowing down, and its outlook remains promising as technology continues to advance and consumer demand for immersive entertainment experiences grows. With evolving trends and emerging technologies, the online gaming industry is poised for continued success.

One of the key factors driving the online gaming industry’s outlook is the increasing prevalence of mobile devices. With the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, more people have access to gaming platforms than ever before. Mobile gaming revenue continues to surge as game developers create innovative and engaging experiences tailored for mobile devices. The convenience and accessibility of mobile gaming make it an attractive option for gamers of all ages.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are reshaping the gaming landscape and are expected to have a significant impact on the industry’s future. These immersive technologies provide players with a level of immersion and realism previously unseen in gaming. With advancements in VR and AR, the potential for more interactive and captivating gaming experiences is immense.

Another area of growth in the online gaming industry is the rise of cloud gaming. Cloud gaming allows players to stream games directly to their devices without the need for powerful hardware. This technology eliminates the need for game downloads or installations and provides instant access to a vast library of games. As internet connectivity improves and more players embrace cloud gaming, the industry is likely to witness increased revenue and gameplay accessibility.

Esports is also playing a significant role in shaping the online gaming industry’s future. The popularity of competitive gaming continues to grow, drawing massive viewership and attracting global brands as sponsors. Esports revenue is projected to rise even further, with increased investments in tournament infrastructure, media rights deals, and the expansion of regional and international leagues. The professionalization and mainstream acceptance of esports will continue to fuel the growth of the online gaming industry.

Additionally, the continuous advancement of monetization strategies will contribute to the industry’s growth. Game developers will explore new ways to generate revenue while maintaining player satisfaction. The successful implementation of microtransactions, subscriptions, and in-game advertising will continue to generate substantial income for developers and publishers.

Furthermore, the online gaming industry will likely experience increased cross-platform integration, allowing players to connect and play games seamlessly across different devices. This trend encourages collaboration and engagement among players, further enhancing the social aspect of online gaming.

As the online gaming industry evolves, data privacy and security will become increasingly important. Developers will need to prioritize user privacy and protection, implementing robust measures to safeguard personal information and combat potential threats.

In summary, the online gaming industry’s outlook is bright and promising. With the advancements in technology, the increasing popularity of mobile gaming, the rise of immersive technologies, the growth of esports, and the continuous innovation in monetization strategies, the future of online gaming is characterized by boundless possibilities, stimulating growth, and enhanced player experiences.



The online gaming industry has transformed into a behemoth, generating staggering revenue and captivating millions of players worldwide. With the continuous advancement of technology, the industry’s future looks promising and filled with opportunities for growth and innovation.

The global gaming market has witnessed exponential growth, with online gaming at the forefront. Online gaming revenue has outpaced traditional gaming platforms, driven by monetization strategies such as the freemium model, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and in-game advertising. The preferences for different gaming platforms, including PC, console, mobile, and emerging technologies like cloud gaming and virtual reality, cater to diverse player demographics and preferences.

Esports has risen to prominence, attracting millions of viewers and generating substantial revenue through sponsorships, media rights, ticket sales, and merchandise. The growing acceptance of esports as a legitimate form of competition has opened new avenues for revenue growth in the gaming industry.

Looking ahead, the industry’s outlook remains promising. Mobile gaming revenue continues to surge, driven by the accessibility and convenience of smartphones and tablets. Emerging technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality offer exciting possibilities for immersive gaming experiences. Cloud gaming and cross-platform integration enable players to access games seamlessly across various devices, bolstering engagement and accessibility.

The continuous innovation in monetization strategies ensures developers can generate revenue while providing engaging experiences for players. The industry’s future will see the continued evolution of freemium models, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and other revenue-generating mechanisms.

Privacy and security will become increasingly crucial as the industry grows, necessitating robust measures to protect user data and combat potential threats.

In conclusion, the online gaming industry stands as a testament to the power of interactive entertainment. With its ability to connect players worldwide, provide engaging experiences, and generate substantial revenue, the industry will continue to thrive. As technology advances and player preferences evolve, the online gaming industry remains poised for continued growth, offering exciting possibilities for developers, publishers, and players alike.

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