SuperData Research put out its report for digital revenue for November, which saw record numbers.
- Digital games earned $11.5B in November 2020, the highest monthly revenue ever. Overall earnings were up 15% over November 2019. Mobile grew 9% while PC rose 22% to reach a new revenue record, which was driven largely by the release of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Console earnings were up 24% but fell slightly below the all-time record set in April 2020.
According to another report they put out, Black Friday fell short of 2019 by 10% due to a variety of reasons, mostly on the console front. But PC sales were the big winner, with World of Warcraft topping that end of their monthly chart.
World of Warcraft took first place on PC for digital sales, leaping past the usual suspects that make up the top four names nearly every month, due to the Shadowlands expansion.
- The release of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands led to the game’s highest monthly revenue since 2008 and player numbers since 2010. Compared to the launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion in August 2018, earnings and user numbers were 50% and 34% higher, respectively. It is unlikely the game will sustain these high player numbers for more than one to two more months. The title is now highly dependent on major expansions to drive temporary spikes in revenue and user numbers.
Great numbers… the highest revenue since 2008 and the most players since 2010… but the caveat is pretty real. This spike was driven by the new expansion and history shows that those numbers will taper off if they don’t have content that will deliver for players over time. It would be good to follow strength with strength, like maybe having some news in time for BlizzConline in February about plans for WoW Classic and The Burning Crusade.
After WoW we have the usual four, League of Legends and the heavily Asian titles, Dungeon Fighter Online, Crossfire, and Fantasy Westward Journey Online.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War dropped into six place with its Warzone free to play mode.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War sold 5.7M digital units in November, a 7% increase compared to the previous franchise record holder Black Ops 4. The ongoing success of the free-to-play Warzone mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare helped drive interest in the latest title. Warzone will likely continue to be the most common way gamers experience Call of Duty on PC or console in the near future. Thanks to Warzone, Modern Warfare had 2.7 times as many players as Cold War in November 2020.
World of Tanks returned to the list in seventh position, followed by Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, which launched early in November.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sold 1.7M units, 50% more than Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at launch. The latest game benefited from a positive reception to Odyssey, from being a showpiece game for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S and also from a last-minute delay of Cyberpunk 2077. Even though the game’s overall revenue was up 23% over Odyssey at launch, in-game revenue was down 62%. This was likely because Valhalla did not offer a paid experience booster at launch, which Odyssey was criticized for featuring. However, Ubisoft did add a booster into Valhalla in December.
Then the list wraps up with Roblox and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which was in sixth spot last month.
On the console list Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War topped the chart while Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla managed fourth position. Staple of the console list, Grand Theft Auto V managed to hold on another month in eighth, while Fortnite grabbed 10th spot.
On the mobile side of the chart Free Fire, the mobile shooter from Singapore, returned to the top spot, while Pokemon Go fell into second place after topping the list last month. Bell weather title Candy Crush Saga held on in seventh position while Honour of Kings, which held the top spot for many months this year, stayed on the list in ninth position.
Not on any of the charts, the sleeper hit of 2020, Among Us, gets a special mention in the November report.
- Among Us had roughly half a billion monthly active users in November. The title is now by far the most popular game ever in terms of monthly players. Since Among Us is not heavily monetized, earnings figures are comparatively smaller. The PC version (which has a $5 upfront price) accounted for the majority of revenue from August to November (64%) despite having an extremely small share of the total player base (3% in November).
So that is November. For December we will no doubt see Cyberpunk 2077 jump onto the PC and console charts, and we’ll have to see how well World of Warcraft holds on after its trip to the number one position.