SuperData Says League of Legends is Back on Top, But WoW is Nowhere to be Seen

SuperData Research is out with their November 2019 charts just in time to take the holidays off, and this data set has some interesting changes.

SuperData Research Top 10 – November 2018

First, League of Legends, which has been having a down year, has returned to the top of the PC games list, the spot it has pretty much owned since SuperData started publishing this particular format.  So the top three are back in what we might consider their normal alignment.  Missing, however, is Fantasy Westward Journey Online II, which had been bouncing around between fourth and sixth place for months.

But the bigger mystery is what happened to World of Warcraft?  I have been posting this chart since December 2016 and WoW has been a permanent resident, even when it was split into East and West for a few random months in 2017.  WoW has been as high as second place and as low as eighth, usually hanging around one notch ahead of World of Tanks most of the time, but it has never fallen off the list.  Well, until now.

WoW was doing well on the chart recently, rolling in the money from the Battle for Azeroth box sales and then propping up its revenues a bit with a six month subscription deal that threw in a special mount.  You know all the faithful bought in on that.

But now those birds are coming home to roost.  The faithful won’t be spending subscription dollars again until around May 2019 while the Battle for Azeroth expansion remains a confused muddle.  A pretty expansion with a set of very solid leveling zones and an actual split experience for the Alliance and Horde, seems to have fallen apart due to ill considered ideas and half measure fixes.  And once you lose the rank and file, the game is stuck until it can do something new.

I expect that we may end up seeing WoW Classic launch sooner than expected in order to “save” the game, or at least its revenues.  If Blizz sticks to the summer launch, it will be in June.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to find it moved up to May or even April now that Activision is probably on the phone every day wanting to know what the hell is going on.

That big news aside, the rest of the list isn’t unexpected.  Fortnite rang in at fourth, followed by the debut of Battlefield VPlayerUnknown’s Battleground grabbed sixth while The Sims 4 came out of nowhere to hit the list at number seven.  Was there a new expansion there?  World of Tanks hung in at is oft repeated eighth position, sans its usual partner in WoW, while the on-again, off-again Valve pair of CS:GO and DOTA 2 took the bottom two spots once more.

On the console chart, the game everybody was talking about, Red Dead Redemption 2, tops the charts.  This month shows how driven by new titles the console market can be compared to the PC market, where the same old online titles linger for years.  Almost everything on the console chart is a fairly recent release save for Fortnite in fourth place and the ever present Grand Theft Auto V in eighth.

And then on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go has managed to take the top spot, beating out the usual leader Honour of Kings, pushing it into second place.  And an even older title, Candy Crush Saga managed third place.  And so it goes.

Other items from the report:

  • Battlefield V and Fallout 76 launches fail to meet franchise benchmarksWe estimate Battlefield V and Fallout 76 sold 1.9 million and 1.4 million digital units, respectively, across console and PC at launch. Both are down from Battlefield 1 and Fallout 4.
  • Ultimate Team continues to underperform. Total additional content spending in FIFA and Madden grew by 1% in November, compared to a 25% year-over-year increase last November.
  • Destiny 2′sForsaken” boost was short lived. We estimate additional content revenue for Destiny 2 dropped 63% year-over-year. Overall, engagement and monetization seem to have reverted back to the same levels last seen before the launch of the “Forsaken” DLC in September.
  • Rainbow Six shows signs of fatigue. Ubisoft’s popular FPS title has had a better-than-expected performance throughout most of 2018. However, additional content revenue declined 33% in November, the game’s biggest decline to date, and follows a decline in October as well. This points to some likely disruption from recent launches of other high-profile AAA shooters.

3 thoughts on “SuperData Says League of Legends is Back on Top, But WoW is Nowhere to be Seen

  1. Shintar

    Sims 4 did indeed release an expansion in November, called “Get Famous”. Still amazes me how much life’s still left in that old franchise… just looked it up and the original Sims was released back in 2000!

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  2. Redbeard

    As for the charts, I’m not that surprised. Most of the PC lists are for games that have a heavy cash shop component to them, and a lot of those also have an eSports component as well. According to a couple of sites I’ve ready, Battle for Azeroth was released in June because Activision pushed Blizz into releasing early rather than release at the same time as the latest Call of Duty game. Whether or not that’s true is kind of beside the point, because BfA simply looks rushed, from concept to design to release to expacs.

    @Shintar– It’s rather sad that The Sims is the only recognizable title left from Maxis’ glory days.

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  3. seanas

    I wonder about this month’s Superdata data: this was the first month they’ve reported since they were bought by Nielsen. My wonder is if access to Nielsen’s data has had an effect on their methodology, either positively: more data points than previously; or negatively: reporting based on client wishes. I mean, sure, Superdata always reported based on client wishes, that was the whole point of splitting WoW into regions then merging them again. And, an alternative hypothesis might be: Blizzard required certain ratings for WoW in return for participation – a requirement a small company like Superdata couldn’t resist, but Nielsen more easily can.

    I don’t know, but years of doing market research (in the previous decade, it has to be said) has left me suspicious of all market research, as it was (is?) all done for the interests of the clients – where the clients are the very companies being reported on. ‘Give the client what they want, with a twist’, was one aphorism that was popular, and a reason I stopped doing it.

    So when I see the November data, after the big ownership change, I’m not surprised to see some big changes. Only question for me is what’s driving them: Nielsen straitening out Superdata’s previous client-massaging; Nielsen doing client-massaging on Superdata’s previously (straighter) data; Superdata having access to better quality data (hahaha, that’s not a criteria :) ; or just a change of priorities.

    Like you said on Massively: we wait and see what December data brings: if WoW (and Fantasy Westward Journey!) are back in the charts, then Nielsen have new paying clients; if not, then Superdata is no longer massaging its data for too-big-to-criticise clients.

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