SuperData Research has put out their 2019 year in review summary. It is available for free over on their Insights page. [Edit: Link removed, SuperData has been shut down.] You have to fill out a form in order to get access to it… they have to have an email address to harvest for their efforts… but it isn’t a big deal and I have email addresses just for that sort of thing.
The report follows the pattern set by the 2017 and 2018 reports in providing details. It is more of an ad for their services, but there is some data to be gleaned. I do wish they would stick to the categories they use for their monthly report. I mean, they start there with some opening numbers in the summary.
Mobile gaming remains the biggest category. However, past that point things get broken down into more discreet categories… or mashed together into larger ones… so that comparison and alignment with the monthly charts becomes problematic. The report, which focuses on free to play, dices up the numbers like this to start:
- Mobile – $64.4 billion
- Free-to-play PC – $21.1 billion
- Premium Console – $13.8 billion
- Premium PC – $5.2 billion
- Pay-to-play PC – $3.3 billion
- Free-to-play Console – $1.6 billion
So consoles look a bit sad there, but you have to remember that consoles are also the market segment that remains the most dependent on physical, as opposed to digital, sales. As we see in the NPD numbers every month, Nintendo can top the charts there with physical sales… with Switch games taking up half the spots on the chart one month… and still have little or no presence on the digital sales side of the house.
And then I am not sure how they really break out the PC market. PC F2P is pretty easy I guess, as we all know League of Legends and Fortnite and those three China titles that hold the top spots every month. And I would guess that Premium PC would be buy to play titles, and that we might find things like World of Warcraft over in Pay-to-play PC, but I don’t really know as the report neither provides details nor uses those categories elsewhere, choosing instead to launch into a couple of broader charts. First up is free to play, which at least lines up to a chart used last year so we have some year over year comparison value in it.
Fortnite tops the lists for 2019. Despite it not dominating the monthly categories as frequently, it is available as a PC, console, and mobile title, so when you combine all three you get Fortnite on top. It topped the same chart last year as well, though in 2018 it brought in $2.4 billion as opposed to the $1.8 billion in managed in 2019. Still a lot of dough.
Dungeon Fighter Online was second again this year, with its revenue going from $1.5 to $1.6 billion, though that change is small enough that it could be from an adjustment in the US Dollar (USD) to Chinese Yuan (RMB), which was up in late 2019 relative to the same period in 2018. Still, that is fairly steady as the 2017 number was also $1.6 billion.
Honour of Kings is the top mobile exclusive title on the list, also ringing in at $1.6 billion. It moved up from 6th place last year when it reported $1.3 billion.
And then we get to League of Legends in fourth spot. While down a position in the chart, its revenues were $1.5 billion, up from $1.4 billion reported in 2018. That still puts it off its peak number in 2017 when it reported $2.1 billion in revenue.
After that we see perennial members of the mobile chart listing, Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go. Only the last two spots saw new entries on the list, with Game for Peace and Last Shelter: Survival, which replaced Monster Strike and Clash Royale.
Game for Peace is a reworked version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made specifically for the China market in order to comply with content restrictions around things like blood and gore in video games. Unlike PUBG, Game for Peace is free to play, which is probably the most practical approach in the Chinese market.
I couldn’t find much information about Last Shelter: Survival, aside from the fact that it is a mobile game from a Chinese company named Long Tech Network., so I am guessing its position on the chart in based on access to the Chinese market.
The other chart lists out the top premium PC and console titles for 2019:
Unsurprisingly, combining PC and consoles ends up favoring titles that are on both PC and consoles. Literally everything on the this list is available on Windows and at least two consoles, to the point that I wonder if the title of the list literally allows only games that are cross platform.
We have three sports games… with two versions of the same sports game… five shooters, and action-adventure game that could pass for a shooter, and The Sims 4. (Which I was surprised to find out was on consoles and which really ought to have a shooter mode.)
Unlike the free to play chart, this one saw a much bigger shakeup over last year, with only Rainbow Six: Siege, Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII (or 4), and FIFA 19 returning. (Though the 2019 chart also had double FIFA entries, with FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 on the list.) And last year’s chart topper, PUBG, is nowhere to be seen.
The report goes on into some general statements about the digital market, like that 4 out of every 5 dollars spent on digital gaming were for free to play titles and 3 out of every 5 dollars spent was on a mobile title. (Though given those opening numbers, it is closer to 3 out of every 4 dollars.)
Not stated specifically, but available from some of the charts provided that break out revenue by region, Asia is far and away the top spender on mobile games, with 61% share as well as free PC titles, with a 55% share. When it comes to premium PC titles Europe is the biggest spender with a 46% share. And, on the console front the US is out in front with 54% of the premium console market and 53% of the free console market. But the markets where Europe and the US are ahead are also the smallest markets on the list. If it is big, it is big in Asia, with mobile being especially so.
The report also wanders off into streaming segmentation along with VR and AR markets. For the former, Twitch and YouTube are the top dogs, with 23% and 22% of the revenue between them. On the VR and AR side of things, Beat Sabre and Pokemon Go are probably the titles worth mentioning.
Anyway, some data to chew on there. There is more detail available if you sign up and download the report.