Editorial

Which Gaming Brands Will Be the Biggest Winners This Christmas?

The final quarter of the year is often the biggest for gaming companies. Their products and services are typically in much higher demand for several reasons. 

Firstly, players in the northern hemisphere are spending more time indoors to escape the cold weather and long nights and turning to video games as their go-to form of entertainment. Secondly, Christmas helps to drive sales of both consoles, computers, and games as many people receive them as gifts. 

This is why Sony and Microsoft traditionally release their new hardware in the run-up to the holidays and why publishers like EA and Activision release their biggest titles in late Q3 or early Q4. 

So, of all the gaming platforms and companies, which ones are going to achieve a high score in 2021?

Consoles

Video game consoles are always popular Christmas gifts. Even in years when there isn’t a new product launch, they remain in the list of most-wanted items. 2021 won’t be any different, with all three major console manufacturers expecting to ship healthy numbers. 

In 2020, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S went on sale. Ahead of Christmas, Sony’s console outperformed Microsoft’s machine, with the former selling nearly 5 million units by the end of the year, compared to less than 4 million Xboxes. 

That trend has continued into 2021, with Sony reaching over 11 million units sold by August 2021, while Microsoft hadn’t quite achieved 7 million. With the shortages experienced by both companies over the last 12 months, demand and scarcity are likely to be as high in the run-up to Christmas this year as they were last. 

Sony has recently announced it will be reducing its production because of this, but it will still benefit greatly from the holiday sales. 

With the Nintendo Switch being several years old already, its sales figures are likely to be lower, but the Japanese company will still ship a sizeable number. 

Free-to-Play and Casual Games

Casual games really took off after smartphones became widespread. Since everyone had their own device, they were free to play whatever games they wanted without having to fight over the TV or computer. 

Free-to-play titles have become some of the most successful releases of recent years, with the likes for Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile attracting 4-6 million players every single day. 

Like consoles, smartphones and tablets are popular Christmas gifts and since games account for more than half of all apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, it’s pretty likely that most people will at least try out a game or two over the holidays.

The publishers of the most popular titles, including Activision, Epic Games, and Tencent, are likely to be the biggest winners in this category as they stand to benefit the most from microtransactions. 

iGaming

iGaming companies offer traditional casino games like blackjack, roulette, and craps over the internet. In addition to these classics, they’ve developed broad catalogues of video slots that include branded games like Deal or No Deal Megaways and exclusive titles like Pacific Boom II. 

Over the Christmas period, demand for online casinos is likely to rise in a similar way to casual games and free-to-play titles as players try out their new smartphones, tablets, and computers. 

With such a competitive market in most of Europe, the benefits are likely to be shared among the entire industry. 

Merchandise

Gamers don’t just buy games. They also like to collect merchandise like T-shirts, figurines, and posters. In recent years, the merch market has exploded, particularly as companies seek to cash in on their most popular IP. 

Nintendo is one of the companies that has really embraced this. The My Nintendo Store is packed with everything from Animal Crossing playing cards to Mario Gold luggage tags. 

Similarly, Epic Games has licensed its Fortnite IP to several manufacturers to produce T-shirts, Llama Loot plush toys, and even drones. 

For people that are passionate about a particular title or just gaming in general, these products make great gifts, especially for secret Santa or as a stocking stuffer. Therefore, the owners of these popular gaming brands and their licensed manufacturers are likely to benefit greatly in the coming weeks.

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