US to overtake China to become world’s top gaming market in 2019: Newzoo

China, currently the world’s largest gaming market, is forecast to lag behind the US this year in the face of the country freezing game approvals for nine months in 2018.

The US is expected to overtake China's leading position as the world's biggest gaming market this year as China's nine-month ban on approving new games in 2018 continues to send chills throughout the entire market, market research firm, Newzoo said in a research note on Tuesday.

While China is projected to register $36.5 billion in game revenue for 2019, Newzoo forecasts the US will regain the crown of the world's largest gaming market for the first time since 2015, by achieving $37 billion in revenue this year which has primarily been driven by growth in the mobile and console market.

China has been the world's largest gaming market for the past three years, but with its nine-month ban on gaming approvals -- primarily aimed at controlling video game content and combatting youth addiction in China -- the country's gaming annual revenue growth in 2018 was its slowest in over a decade.  

See also: Gaming doesn't make you fat, says new study

There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers across the world, who are expected to spend a total of $152 billion on games in 2019, representing an increase of 9.6% year-on-year, according to Newzoo. Console is on pace to become the fastest-growing segment this year, with it being projected to expand by 13.5% to $48 billion in 2019, according to the market research firm.

The Asia-Pacific is the top region at $72 billion this year, bagging around 47% of global revenue. 

Newzoo also said the game market is healthy, showing growth in every segment.

Among the top 25 global gaming companies in 2018, four came from China, with Tencent, the Chinese technology giant operating popular messaging apps QQ and WeChat, leading the global chart by accruing nearly 15% of the entire gaming revenue globally in 2018, according to a local Chinese report. But Tencent's 9% gaming growth last year was also the slowest seen from the company in recent years.

Failing to cash in on the global blockbuster title, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG), due to China's licence freeze, Tencent announced in May that it shuttered its test version of PUBG in China, but encouraged players to turn to a similar version with patriotic overtones that is supported by the Chinese government.

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