In 2018, free to play (F2P) games – such as the smash-hit Fortnite – generated a staggering $88 billion in revenue.

How Free Gaming Pays

While these games do not charge up-front fees to play, developers have found a myriad of ways to generate revenue from the games. Such revenue includes in-game purchases, subscriptions for special bonuses, ad sales, and a host of other revenue generating devices.

2018: A Huge Year in Gaming

According to Nielsen’s owned gaming research company Superdata, in 2018 the global gaming market was worth a whopping $110 billion. According to the report – at $61 billion mobile gaming accounted for roughly 55% of the figure. On mobile F2P platforms, Fornite was far-and-away the largest earner, bringing in an enormous $2.4 billion in revenue. According to Superdata, the $110 billion in total gaming revenue represents an 11% rise year-over-year from 2017. At $88 billion, F2P gaming accounts for roughly 80% of that figure.

Asian Nations Leading the Way

According to Superdata, the lion’s share of this revenue, roughly $54.3 billion, was generated from Asian countries. This number reflects an expansion by tech giant Tencent into the gaming market in the region. North America came in second place, seeing some $14.8 billion in F2P generated revenue, and European countries came in third with roughly $11 billion. Much of the gaming revenue from both the U.S. and European markets was also generated from more premium sources as well.

A New Gaming Landscape

The Superdata report also mentions the rise in gaming revenue from streaming sites such as Twitch and YouTube. According to the report, nearly half of all gaming revenue was generated through these two platforms. Such figures represent a shift away from traditional platforms and, when couple with the rise in competitive gaming and e-sports, represent the ever evolving landscape of the growing gaming industry.