How the Video Game Industry Drives DC Location Decisions

Monday, November 30, 2020

It’s natural to expect more data center capacity is needed to handle the boom in e-commerce, streamed programming and virtual meetings since the pandemic arrived. But there’s another subset of screen-based transactions that requires that expansion too.

Statista reports there are an estimated 2.7 billion video gamers around the world in 2020. The largest proportion of these gamers, some 55% or 1.5 billion players, live in the Asia Pacific Region. North America, with 8%, claims just over 200 million gamers. Total prize money in 2018 for e-sports was $1.5 billion, with the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Finals reaching 99.6 million viewers across 19 languages.

QTS Realty Trust, a data center REIT based in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, says the gaming industry is forecast to be a $165 billion market this year. CBRE values the U.S. market at $36 billion. QTS says, “the promise of 5G may have the greatest impact as it is expected to allow cloud-based gaming to shed many of its technical constraints.”

Streaming content is one reason the North American data center sector was resilient in the first half of 2020, says CBRE. The seven primary U.S. markets — Northern Virginia, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Phoenix, New York Tri-State and Atlanta — saw 134.9 megawatts (MW) of net absorption.

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