Gaming is one of the most common and beloved pastimes internationally, thanks to its ability to act as a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of workday life. Daily, millions of people immerse themselves in the fantasy, fiction, and adventure that gaming has to offer.
In New Zealand, things are no different. A report conducted in 2022 by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association revealed that more than 3.7 million Kiwis actively play video games. Considering that the population of New Zealand was just 5.12 million in 2021, this is a significant number of gaming enthusiasts!
With so many players buying gaming hardware and the latest titles coming out on the market, they are generating considerable revenue. This revenue can be broken up into different items within the gaming industry. Let’s look at what New Zealand gamers spent the most on in 2022.
Hardware and First-Party Peripherals
The latest video game consoles are what gamers’ dreams are made of. Offering high resolutions, near-instantaneous inputs, and support for an incredible number of spectacular games, they truly are portals to other worlds.
Leading the pack, brands like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series were the top sellers in the country, both experiencing higher sales in 2022 (17% and 15% respectively) compared to 2021. The total revenue generated by gaming hardware sales reached a staggering NZ $82 million last year.
Meanwhile, first-party peripherals, such as VR headsets and game controllers, also saw incredible sales. These hardware accessories—called first-party because the same manufacturer makes them to go along with the main console—cost Kiwi players an additional NZ $21 million.
Together, the hardware used for gaming and peripherals alongside this hardware added a total of NZ $103 million to the industry’s revenue in 2022.
Full Game Software
Full game software still stands as king in the world of subscription models and DLCs (downloadable content). This is because players want to own their favorite games outright and not worry about whether the title will be removed from the list of supported games on their chosen subscription service.
This fact is clearly evidenced by the amount of cash spent on full game titles throughout 2022. New release games, such as FIFA 23 and God of War Ragnarök, were among the biggest sellers both online and in retail stores.
Brick-and-mortar stores recorded an incredible NZ $42 million in revenue from sales of full game software. Further proof that online sales are becoming increasingly popular is the fact that online sales of these full game titles reached NZ $73.3 million—totaling a combined revenue of NZ $115.3 million for the year.
Although gaming subscriptions like the Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus service have been gaining popularity for several years, the concept of a game subscription service is much older. The first to exist was launched in the early 1980s and was called the Intellivision PlayCable.
However, modern subscriptions are much more advanced than this original concept. These days, they offer an incredible number of game titles, exclusive benefits and discounts, and a variety of game features, such as online multiplayer.
These services are exploding in popularity because of their many perks and the seriously reduced cost of accessing so many games compared to buying each game individually. In total, NZ $38.3 million was spent on these subscriptions in 2022—more than double the amount (NZ $19 million) spent in 2021.
In-Game and Mobile
While buying a full game gives you access to almost everything it has to offer, many games also allow players to purchase additional items ranging from special gear for your avatar to DLC that grants bonus levels. These items are known as in-game content and can be purchased from within the game itself.
In 2022, a staggering NZ $126.7 million was spent on this type of content, exceeding the amount spent on the games themselves. This incredible figure accounts for in-game content across all platforms except mobile gaming.
Mobile gaming is often considered its own genre—and it’s also growing by leaps and bounds. Mobile gaming alone saw a 14% increase in revenue from 2021. This significant jump was made up of consumers paying to access mobile games, purchases of subscriptions through platforms like the Google Play Store and Apple Store, and in-game purchases on mobile devices.
Mobile gaming exceeded every other category listed above with an annual revenue of NZ $225 million in 2022. This off-the-charts growth highlights the significant shift in gamers’ behavior and their growing interest and investment in mobile games.
Due to their entertainment factor, range of game options, and online availability, casino games are also wildly popular in New Zealand.
While there may be a cap on the amount this industry can generate due to strict local regulations, it is still highly lucrative—not just for the companies offering these games but also for players lucky enough to strike it rich with a major win.
In 2021, New Zealand gamblers spent an incredible NZ $2.63 billion on a combination of lotteries, instant games, prize competitions, and games of chance, such as slots and other popular casino games. This amount far exceeds what was spent on traditional video games, which is unsurprising, considering these games allow players to win some of their money back.
Regardless of your preferred console, game, or way to play, there is no doubt that gambling is hugely popular in New Zealand. With a total 2022 revenue of NZ $608 million generated by video games and a further NZ $2.63 billion generated by casino games, this sector has seen incredible growth in popularity and consumer spending.
With the upcoming release of newer and better hardware and games, there is no telling the heights that this currently NZ $3.24 billion industry will grow to in the coming years.