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Peak Video Game? Top Analyst Sees Industry Slumping in 2019

  • Smithers sees games revenue falling for first time since 1995
  • China’s game regulations, Fortnite fatigue cited for slowdown
Inside The 2018 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo
Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The rise of video games has turned Fortnite into a social phenomenon, made esports a rival to the NFL for viewers, and grown button-mashing into a bigger money-maker than Hollywood. Now one veteran analyst is calling for the first industry downturn in a quarter century.

Video game revenue is headed for the first decline since 1995, with sales expected to fall by 1 percent to $136.5 billion this year, according to Pelham Smithers, owner of an eponymous London-based research firm. He blames China’s stricter approach to game approvals, a shortage of big console hits, and fatigue among players for battle-royale titles like Fortnite.