Consumers were mostly playing older games in 2023, report suggests

A new industry report has highlighted the growing influence a group of fewer, older video games have over consumers’ annual playtime.

On Tuesday, Newzoo released its second annual games industry report – shared by Kotaku – which includes data on consumer habits, such as spend and gameplay, during 2023.

The report emphasises how, while developers can still be successful, players are spending more time in already-established franchises and live service games, in theory making it harder for new games to find an audience.

According to Newzoo, while the games industry grew in 2023, reaching $93.5 billion in revenue, a small number of publishers and developers took up a significant slice of the overall pie.

According to the data, just 66 titles accounted for 80 percent of all playtime in 2023, and 60 percent was spent in games that are six years old or older.

Consumers were mostly playing older games in 2023, report suggests
A slide from Newzoo’s report.

Five older games— Fortnite, GTA V, League of Legends, Minecraft, and Roblox —accounted for 27% of all playtime in the year, according to Newzoo.

Even the playtime spent on games defined as ‘new’ (2 years or younger) is made up partly by annualised sequels. 23 percent of ‘new’ games include these yearly titles, such as FIFA or Madden.

Just 8 percent of playtime was spent on new, non-annual games such as Diablo IV or Baldur’s Gate III, according to the data.

In Newzoo’s top ten most played games (ranked by monthly active users), Fornite took the top spot on every platform, including Switch and PC. The rest of the entries include familiar games like GTA, Counter-Strike and Apex Legends, while just one dedicated single-player game (Starfield) made the list across Xbox and PlayStation.

“It will be increasingly challenging to grow a game’s playerbase,” states Newzoo in the report, “particularly in our current landscape, where evergreen titles and robust content pipelines reign supreme.”