SuperData Says Gaming Continues to Do Very Well in the Pandemic

SuperData Research is out with its chart and report on digital revenues for April 2020.

SuperData Research Top 10 – April 2020

As with last month, digital revenue for video games were at record heights

  • Game spending totaled a record-breaking $10.5B in April 2020, showing the continued strength of the medium during the COVID-19 crisis. Lockdowns that began during March had an even greater impact on gaming habits in April as they continued for the entire month in many regions. Revenue was higher than March 2020 and was up 17% over April 2019 ($8.9B). Year-over-year earnings grew on both mobile (up 14%) and PC (up 12%). Console growth was even more substantial (up 42% year-over-year) largely due to strong performances from existing titles.

On the PC end of the chart, League of Legends returned to its usual spot at the top of the list, with revenues reported to be at their highest since February 2017 (see supplementary info at the bottom of the post), followed by the other three usual suspects that own the top four spots every month.

After them however, Doom Eternal, which launched across multiple platforms near the end of March, shows up.

Then there is CS:GO, which continues to hold a rare position for it halfway up the chart.  It generally shows up every so often for a 9th or 10th place bite before disappearing for a bit.

Fortnite is also up the list, having gone absent last month, making it to seventh spot, even getting a call out from SuperData.

  • An in-game concert reinvigorated interest in Fortnite. The limited-time event, Astronomical starring the artist Travis Scott, required players to log in to the game at a specific time to be part of an audiovisual experience. Player numbers grew month-over-month on all platforms, and monthly earnings reached their highest point since May 2019.

Back in February Epic and Tim Sweeney were whining about SuperData’s reporting on Fortnite, claiming their estimates were wrong while declining to offering any data to dispute SuperData’s reports.  I suppose this will make Tim Sweeney feel better.

Then we have World of Warcraft, Roblox, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare rounding out the list.  Gone missing is World of Tanks, which is in the midst of an anniversary celebration with special events.

On the console front Animal Crossing: New Horizons claims the top spot for the second month running.  That is rare for a platform exclusive title, a Switch title (Nintendo customers still buy phyical units primarily), and for a title that isn’t heavily online cash shop focused.  But demand for the game remained strong for a second month as SuperData reports:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons once again sold the most digital units (3.6M) of any game during the month. The Nintendo title has become a cultural phenomenon with major celebrities and an NFL team posting about the game on social media. Digital sales declined a modest 27% in April, but it is now the top Switch title in lifetime digital sales and lifetime digital revenue after only two months on the market.

Following behind Animal Crossing was the Final Fantasy VII Remake, which also sold big despite being another platform exclusive, this time locked into the PlayStation 4.

  • The long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake from Square Enix sold a total of 2.2M digital units, setting records for the franchise and for PlayStation exclusives. The share of digital copies sold was extremely high for a single-player game as players had difficulty acquiring physical copies due to factors like store closures. As a result, digital sales at release narrowly surpassed Marvel’s Spider-Man, which previously held the launch digital sales record for a PlayStation 4 exclusive title.

After those two we get into more familiar territory, with FIFA 20, GTA V NBA 2K20, and Fortnite along with expected newcomers Doom Eternal and the Resident Evil 3 remake.

On the mobile end of the chart Peacekeeper Elite, the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile for China, took over the top of the chart, displacing the long reigning Honour of Kings.  Perennial chart member Candy Crush Saga held on in fourth position, but Pokemon Go fell off the chart for April.  It is possible that players, being unable to go outside as readily, may have set the game aside for now, but Niantic has been running a lot of special events and has introduce things like remote raid passes, so they have been trying to hold on.

As for my usual comparison chart from NPD… well… with the collapse of brick and mortar retail it seems that NPD has given up on its monthly chart, as it is heavily driven by physical sales.  They still had their February numbers posted when I last checked.  Like SuperData, they only display their most recent data, so if a year from now you click on that link and see a later chart, that is why.  If you still see February 2020 though… ouch.

So it goes.

I will leave it with that then, adding on the additional items from the SuperData report below”

  • Resident Evil 3, another remake of a late 90’s classic, also performed well, moving 1.3M digital units in April. The Capcom title sold nearly as many digital units at launch as the remake of Resident Evil 2, which sold 1.4M units in January 2019. Resident Evil 3 had notably lower review scores than Resident Evil 2 but likely benefited from the extremely positive reception its recent predecessor enjoyed.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered showed there is still demand for single-player Call of Duty experiences by selling 3.4M units in April. The remaster of the single-player portion of the 2009 title also sold 622K copies the previous month (it did not launch until March 30). The game will likely perform well on Xbox One and PC over the course of May, since it was exclusive to PlayStation 4 until April 30.
  • Lockdowns caused players to return to, and spend on, long-running online titles. Revenue for League of Legends hit the highest level for the game since February 2017. Player numbers for the game also hit an all-time high. Similarly, Grand Theft Auto V saw its highest monthly spending on in-game content ever during April. The title will also see a significant boost to its PC player numbers in May due to a free giveaway that caused the Epic Games Store to crash.

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