Category Archives: SuperData Research

SuperData Reviews 2019 Digital Revenue

SuperData Research has put out their 2019 year in review summary.  It is available for free over on their Insights page.  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.

SuperData 2019 Digital Gaming Revenues

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.

SuperData Free to Play titles 2019

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:

SuperData Premium PC and Console titles 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.

SuperData Shows Fornite Falling but Driving F2P on Consoles Still

SuperData Research is out with their November digital revenue chart.

SuperData Research Top 10 – November 2019

On the PC end of the chart, last month’s top five, including WoW in fifth spot, remained in place.  The new Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, came in at sixth place as EA went against type and made a single player, non-cash shop, good Star Wars title.  The big surprise on the PC side was the disappearance of Fortnite as its star continues to descend.

In the console column, Nintendo and Pokemon ruled the month as Pokemon Sword and Shield rose to the top of the chart.  Nintendo still depends much more heavily on the physical retail channel than its competitors, so topping the digital chart is a feat for them.  Call of Duty held on in second place while Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order had its debut in third position.  Fortnite hung on for console and, as noted below, drives the F2P revenue market there, but continues to slip.

And on the mobile side the top five just changed positions a bit from last month, with Candy Crush Saga going up a spot and Pokemon Go dropping down on.

Once again, we can compare the SuperData chart with NPD’s video game sales data from November in order to get some sort of sense of the market.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  3. Pokemon Sword*
  4. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield Double Pack*
  5. Pokemon Shield*
  6. Madden NFL 20
  7. Death Stranding
  8. NBA 2K20
  9. Need for Speed: Heat
  10. Luigi’s Mansion 3*

* Digital sales not included

I was a bit bemused that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield wasn’t at the top of the list until I realized that NPD broke it out into three different SKUs for the list.  While the numbers are not available, it seems that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield did very well in retail if it claimed three spots on the chart without digital sales being included.  You can see why I moan about the removal of Pokemon from the 3DS killed that console.  Pokemon sells.

NPD didn’t get their Speed Run newsletter out this month, so I do not have anything to add there.

But if you are in need of some more numbers, or want some UK sales data, Gamesindustry.biz did a summary of the 2019 UK video games market with plenty of graphs.  I’ll tease that with their first graph, which covers global sales for 2019 (as estimated with data available in October of 2019).

GamesIndustry.biz 2019 Global Revenue Chart

Other items from the SuperData update:

  • Consumers spent $9.5 billion digitally across all games in November. Combined spending across console, PC and mobile was up 5% compared to the same month last year thanks to a 20% year-over-year increase in mobile spending, which represented 59%, or $5.58 billion of all worldwide revenue.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has the best-selling console digital launch in franchise history. The latest installment in the series outsold its 2017 predecessor (Star Wars Battlefront II) by more than 2 to 1, selling 2.14 million digital units in November alone. The title’s first-month success is partially attributable to increased consumer awareness of the franchise (The Mandalorian, The Rise of Skywalker) and a series return to single-player only gameplay.  
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC finds meek interest on Epic Games Store. Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 408K units as a first-month exclusive on the Epic Games Store, paling in comparison to other exclusive launches like Borderlands 3, which sold 1.78 million units in its debut month.
  • The free-to-play console segment continues to decline, drops 41% compared to the same month last year. Global spending in free-to-play console games shrank to $84.7 million in November, which largely comes from Fortnite ongoing descent after a record-breaking year in 2018. Despite waning consumer interest,  Fortnite remains the primary market mover for the free-to-play console segment, generating 51% of its year-to-date revenue in 2019.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield cruises past Link’s Awakening to become the top-selling Nintendo title in 2019. Pokémon Sword and Shield sold 2.72M units in its first month, beating out other first-party exclusives like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to lead the charge for Nintendo this holiday season.

 

SuperData Shows Fornite Reviving a Bit

SuperData has their digital revenue numbers out for October.

SuperData Research Top 10 – October 2019

On the PC side of the chart, League of Legends regained its top spot, returning the top four to their usual ordering, with the three big Asian titles behind.

Right after that is World of Warcraft West (so no China) ringing in at number five, no doubt still going strong on the WoW Classic momentum.  That put it ahead of its new corporate sibling, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.  It had a big launch, but is much more a console title.

Then there is Fortnite in seventh, up two spots from last month, but still far back from that fifth place position it held for several months earlier this year.

After that is perennial list member World of Tanks, followed by Obsidian’s new space RPG, The Outer Worlds.  And tenth position went to the aging but strong Roblox.

In the console column Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took the top spot with a big launch last month.  This is where the Activision side of the house makes a lot of their annual revenue, so they need a big win with CoD every year.

Fortnite managed sixth place for console revenue, ahead of Borderlands 3, which held on for a second month, keeping it ahead of console stalwart Grand Theft Auto V.

And then at the mobile end of the chart, Honour of Kings returned to its top position after being dethroned last month.  It is another “big in China” title.  Candy Crush Saga popped up into third place, while Pokemon Go fell from second to fourth.  The number one mobile title for September, Fate/Grand Order, dropped off the list completely.  It has been something of a mercurial title on the mobile chart.

We can again compare that to NPD’s October charts.  As always, the NPD charts are US only, combine console and PC, ignore mobile, and do not include digital revenue where noted.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. The Outer Worlds
  3. Luigi’s Mansion 3*
  4. Madden NFL 20
  5. NBA 2K20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. WWE 2K20
  8. FIFA 20
  9. Borderlands 3
  10. Ring Fit Adventure*

* Digital sales not included

As one might expect, CoD is there on the top of  that chart as well, but so is The Outer Worlds and Luigis’ Mansion 3, all new titles for October.  Other new titles on their list are WWE 2K20 and the Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure, which goes along with their new Ring-Con and Leg Strap peripherals.

On the NPD social media impressions measure, League of Legends was at the top, followed by Fortnite, CS:GO, GTA V, and World of Warcraft.

I expect that next month we will be hearing about Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, which has been reported as having an extremely strong sales start in November.  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare might face some competition for the best selling title.

Other items from the SuperData Report:

  • Consumers spent $8.84 billion digitally across all games in October. Combined spending across console, PC and mobile was down 3% year-over-year primarily due to a sharp drop off in the console segment, which faced a difficult comparison against the Red Dead Redemption 2 launch last year. Mobile grew 7% as it continues to be a growth leader for digital games.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has best selling digital launch of 2019. Modern Warfare sold an estimated 4.75 million digital units across console and PC in October, down 11% from Black Ops 4 last year, although there were fewer days this year due to a later launch in the month. The average selling price of digital units also declined from last year due to the lack of a season pass bundle.
  • Apex Legends has its best month since the title’s launch quarter.  Apex Legends generated $45 million from in-game spending in October across console and PC, up from $16 million in September. Respawn’s shooter has clearly grown into an important growth driver for EA since its launch in February, although we note that total lifetime revenue still comes in slightly below 50% of FIFA Ultimate Team over that same period.
  • NBA 2K continues to show a slow-down in virtual currency sales. Total franchise NBA in-game spending growth has been slowing down for the past four months after a red hot start from NBA 2K19 last year. We saw this again in October, where NBA 2K in-game spending across console, PC and mobile combined declined year-over-year for the first time since June 2018.
  • Call of Duty Mobile catapults into the top rankings. We estimate COD Mobile generated $57 million in total revenue in October with 116 million monthly active users, placing it as the 12th top grossing mobile game worldwide this month. iOS made up 82% of total spend.

SuperData Shows Borderlands 3 Success and WoW Holding On

SuperData Research has their digital revenue numbers out for September.

SuperData Research Top 10 – September 2019

On the PC end of the chart September saw another disruption of what was the solid top five titles for a stretch.  The fourteen year old Dungeon Fighter Online held on to the top position.  SuperData even had a tidbit about it on Twitter this month.

Some DFO info

Last month World of Warcraft, buoyed by the WoW Classic launch, jumped up into third place behind League of Legends.  This month the newly launched Borderlands 3 drove straight up into the second spot ahead of the now decade old LoL.

World of Warcraft fell down to sixth position, putting it ahead of World of Tanks and Dota 2.

Fortnite, which had been one of the top five regulars fell to ninth position.  Still, making the top ten means you’re still something.  Competitor PUBG isn’t on the list.  And in tenth place Roblox held on from last month.  Hearthstone, which had the ninth slot last month on a new expansion launch fell off the list for September.

In the console column new releases NBA 2K20, FIFA 20, and Borderlands 3 secured the top three slots.  Perennial member of the list, GTA V, grabbed the fourth spot.  Fortnite, which was in the top spot in August fell down to seventh for September.

And on the mobile end of the chart Fate/Grand Order, which has lingered on and off the list for a while jumped from third into first place.  That pushed Pokemon Go down into second place while perennial chart member Candy Crush Saga stayed in fifth position.

So it is time to compare those charts with NPD’s September sales ranking.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. NBA 2K20
  2. Borderlands 3
  3. FIFA 20
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening*
  5. Madden NFL 20
  6. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  7. Gears 5^
  8. Code Vein
  9. NHL 20
  10. Mario Kart 8*

* Digital sales not included
^ PC digital sales not included

Certainly the top three were expected, though it is interesting to see that with combined sales that Borderlands 3 landed in between NBA 2K20 and FIFA 20.  Nintendo fell off a bit.  Last month five of the ten titles on the list were for the Switch, indicating how much that platform still depends on physical sales.  This month only two Switch titles made the chart.

Gears 5 and Code Vein did not make the SuperData chart.  I knew about Gears 5, another entry in the Gears of War franchise, but I had to look up Code Vein.

NPD’s social impressions list had World of Warcraft at the top of the list, basking in that WoW Classic glow, followed by League of Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, and GTA VDota 2 dropped off the list from last month while CS:GO jumped in.

Other items from the SuperData report:

  • Worldwide digital spending declines 1% to $8.9 billion in September. Total spend on console and PC declined 17% and 3% year-over-year respectively, despite a slew of new launches. This more than offset a 6% increase on mobile, which increased its share of the total market to 59% this month.
  • NBA2K and FIFA’s latest releases were slow out of the gate. In-game spending for the NBA2K franchise grew only 6% in September, while the FIFA franchise declined slightly year-over-year due to an unfavorable comparison against World Cup after-effects last year. This compares to last September, where the two franchises saw combined in-game spending growth of 24%.
  • Fortnite hits lowest point since launch just before “Fortnite Chapter 2“. We estimate Fortnite revenue across all platforms declined 43% month-over-month in September, marking the worst performing month of revenue since November 2017.
  • Fate/Grand Order receives a huge boost from China. Fate/Grand Order catapulted into the top spot on our mobile rankings this month with $246 million in revenue, up significantly from $131 million in August and $98 million last September, with the majority of the revenue increase coming from China.
  • Borderlands 3 marks another solid release for 2K Games. Borderlands 3 sold an estimated 3.3 million digital units across console and PC in September. The average selling price per unit came in at an above-average $69 due to Deluxe Edition sales.

SuperData says WoW Classic Driving Subscription Growth

You need this.  You don’t think you do, but you do.

-Me, to J. Allen Brack

SuperData Research is out with its monthly digital revenue chart, so we get to see how things did in August.

SuperData Research Top 10 – August 2019

And August has a few things to note when it comes to the PC side of the chart.

For openers, Dungeon Fighter Online held on to the top spot again this month, keeping League of Legends at bay.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fell off the list, having surged back last month due to a price cut for the game.

Replacing PUBG was Hearthstone, which had the Saviors of Uldum expansion go live in early August.  Twelve expansions and still able to make the chart.

But the big item was World of Warcraft, which had fallen off the list completely for a few months this year before returning to seventh position.  It jumped up into third place for August, breaking through the solid wall that has been the top six games for most of 2019.

The reason for the jump was specifically called out in a bullet point in the report:

  • WoW Classic drives a huge jump in subscribers. World of Warcraft subscription revenue grew an estimated 223% in August compared to July. Despite this, total revenue was still lower than the Battle for Azeroth expansion last August.

I am sure the total revenue comment has some retail loyalist, sullen that half their guild ditched BFA for the nostalgia ride, happily pointing at that as proof that WoW Classic is all that big of a deal.

Here is the thing.  A year ago BFA had box sales to bolster total revenue.  WoW Classic was free to subscribers.  So that isn’t exactly a bragging point.  And the fact that WoW Classic was able to boost subscriptions by that much is something of an indictment of BFA’s popularity, or lack thereof.

I’ve said that BlizzCon is going to be interesting in light of the success of WoW Classic, but now the Q3 financial reports will be something to watch as well.  Something else to tune into in November.

In the center, Fortnite recaptured the top of the chart again, sending Grand Theft Auto V and its casino gambit down to third place.  Still, respect for the aging game and its ability to hold on.

It also marks a month when Nintendo, which still depends heavily on the physical retail channel, has three Switch exclusive  titles in the top ten, with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2.0, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate all accounted for.

And on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go took the top spot, which also earned it a specific mention in the notes:

  • Pokémon GO rises to the top spot on mobile. Pokémon GO generated $176 million in August, marking its highest point since peaking in 2016. Outperformance was partly driven by a flurry of in-game events as Niantic capitalized on what is typically the game’s strongest month.

Candy Crush Saga stayed on the chart, but fell two spots, landing in fifth position for August.

Meanwhile, the comparison list from NPD of August sales is also available.  They show the following:

  1. Madden NFL 20
  2. Minecraft
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses*
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Super Mario Maker 2*
  7. Mario Kart 8*
  8. Mortal Kombat 11
  9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  10. Astral Chain*

* No digital sales included in ranking.

NPD is US numbers and focused on retail, with some digital sales included.  So oriented, we see five titles for the Nintendo Switch in the top ten.  They also mention in the notes attached to their Speedrun newsletter that the Nintendo Switch was the best selling console in August as well as for 2019 overall.

Also up there was Minecraft, which was in fifth position last month.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions DOTA 2 led the pack, followed by League of Legends, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.

Other items from the SuperData report:

  • Mobile grows share of total worldwide spending. Consumers spent $8.9 billion digitally worldwide in August across console, PC and mobile, up 2% from last year. Mobile, which was the fastest-growing segment, made up 62% of the total compared to 57% last August.
  • Madden NFL 20 console digital sales come in slightly below last year’s launch. When accounting for early pre-order launch dates, which split sales across July and August this year, Madden NFL 20 console digital units declined 6% compared to Madden NFL 19 through the end of August.
  • NBA 2K in-game spending growth slows ahead of upcoming launch. We estimate NBA 2K franchise in-game spending grew 39% year-over-year, a comparatively weak showing compared to the first seven months of 2019 where sales grew at an average rate of 91%. However, we note that August tends to be a seasonally low point for the franchise.

SuperData July Numbers Show a Resurgent Grand Theft Auto V

The numbers are out from SuperData Research for July 2019 digital revenue, so it is time once again to look at their lists.

SuperData Research Top 10 – July 2019

On the PC end of the chart the list of titles was a bit stagnant.  Nine out of ten titles listed there in June were still there in July.  There was a little shakeup as Dungeon Fighter Online took the top spot from League of Legends.  That was shocking the first time it happened, but now they swap every few months, so seems pretty normal.

Six of last month’s titles remained in exactly the same position, including World of Warcraft in seventh place, behind World of Tanks.  We will have to see if the launch of WoW Classic pushes the Blizzard title up the list some when the August numbers come out next month.

The one new entry was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which returned to the list in ninth place, replacing FIFA Onilne 3.  As noted below, PUBG saw a price cut which juiced sales in July.

In the console column Grand Theft Auto V jumped back to the top spot with the release of the Diamond Casino update for the online version of the game.  Having purchased GTA V during the Steam Summer Sale, I received several email notes about the casino, so they were pushing that hard… and successfully it seems.

Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII moved up from third to second place in July, while the new release, Fire Emblem: Three House fell into third place, leaving last month’s number one, Fortnite, down in fourth.

At the mobile end of the chart, Honour of Kings remained on top, with Pokemon Go holding on to second place.  Candy Crush Saga, my other benchmark, moved up one spot to third place, taking it from Clash of Clans, which dropped down to seventh position.

Overall Supdata said that worldwide spending was up with this bullet point.

  • Strong mobile growth drives a 5% increase in worldwide spending. Consumers spent $9.02 billion on digital games across console, PC and mobile in July, up from $8.56 billion in the same month last year. Mobile revenue grew 14%, offsetting declines on PC and console, with the latter being dragged by a 50% drop in free-to-play spending.

But when they tweeted a chart to support that, I wasn’t all that convinced.

Digital Spending July 2019 vs July 2019

It feels like if you’re going to claim that mobile is pulling the segment up, you ought to go with a chart that doesn’t show mobile taking a smaller slice of the pie while the PC slice is growing.

I realize that this chart does not necessarily invalidate their statement, it just feels like goofy optics to support the assertion being made.  “Mobile is growing!” he said, waving around a chart that showed PC and Consoles were growing.

Meanwhile, the comparison list from NPD of July sales is also available.  They show the following:

  1. Madden NFL 20
  2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses*
  3. Super Mario Maker 2*
  4. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order*
  5. Minecraft
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  8. Mortal Kombat 11
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*

*No digital data

As usual, it is different from SuperData because the NPD data is US only, combines PC and consoles, includes traditional retail (which favors console sales), and does not include digital sales where noted.

Given all of that, I think the relative position Madden NFL 20 is interesting.  It is primarily a US focused title, but I would probably say the same for NBA 2K19, and it was higher up for SuperData but didn’t make the cut for NPD.

Also, look how much Nintendo still depends on the normal retail channel.

And so it goes, another month of numbers.  Additional notes from the SuperData post:

Grand Theft Auto Online‘s Casino update leads to a huge uptick. We estimate Grand Theft Auto Online made $69 million across console and PC in July following the anticipated “Diamond Casino” update, marking one of the best sales months for the game since launch and the first month of double-digit year-over-year growth since August 2018.

Apex Legends Season 2 sales falls short of Season 1 levels. Apex Legends generated $37 million across console and PC in July, more than double what it made in June but only roughly half of what Season 1 earned in March.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a solid launchFire Emblem sold 800,000 digital units on Switch in July, making it the best digital launch in franchise history.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gets a price cut and sells another million units. We estimate PUBG sold 1.1 million units on PC with an average selling price of roughly $18, though sales are still down significantly from last year.

FIFA Mobile Soccer faces a tough comparison against 2018’s World Cup. Despite being one of EA’s most reliable sources of growth on mobile since launching in 2016, FIFA Mobile has hit a rough patch this summer, with revenue declining over 50% year-over-year in each of the past three months.

SuperData June Numbers see the Return of WoW

As we near the end of July SuperData Research has their monthly digital revenue chart for June available, so it is time to take a look at that.

SuperData Research Top 10 – June 2019

On the PC end of the chart some things stayed the same when compared to April and May.  Basically the top five titles remained in the same order.  The “LDFCF” remains solid.  Repetition is dull though, so the interesting part is slots 6-10.

World of Tanks, which seems to live in the 6-8 range, popped up one place to 6th as sales of Total War: Subsided.

In 7th position we have the return of World of Warcraft… or World of Warcraft West… what ever that means in the reporting sense.

WoW had gone missing from the chart in April and May, helping to cement speculation that the Battle for Azeroth expansion had been less than a success with the player base.  Even from where I sit it is hard to deny that mistakes were made.  But for June it is back.

Was that because the long awaited 8.2 patch and the ability to unlock flying in the expansion had finally arrived?  Did the approach of WoW Classic and the load tests get people to re-up?  Or did Blizz fiddle the numbers in April and May so that other titles from its stable would get attention?  One notable thing about those two charts is that WoW went away and Hearthstone appeared one month and Overwatch the next.  Blizz controls the data that is released on revenues, so this could have been an attempt to show they are not still just a one product company.  Or maybe not.

In 8th place if newcomer FIFA Online 3, followed by perennial bottom of the list contender DOTA 2, and Roblox, which pops onto the list every now and then, taking 10th place.

And, to quickly summarize, Fortnite and FIFA 19 maintained their spots at the top of the console chart, with GTA V continuing to place mid-pack (expect it to pop next month with the new casino update for online), while Pokemon Go, with anniversary celebrations kicking off in June, made it to 2nd on the Mobile end, up from 7th, while Candy Crush Saga fell from 2nd last month to 4th in June.

Basically I want to get back to PC topics and bring up an Overwatch revenue tweet from SuperData earlier this week that gave us the revenue build up for the game over its three years since launch.

Overwatch in-game spending

Leaving aside box sales, which I am sure followed the usual pattern of an early spike followed by a low rumble afterwards, Overwatch has successfully crossed the billion dollar mark.  That is a hell of an achievement.  It is interesting to see the PC side lead the console side by what looks like a ratio of 3 to 1.  I wonder if that also happens to represent the breakout of the player base.

But I am also reminded that WoW had multiple consecutive billion dollar revenue years over its life and, were Blizz to break out the numbers, I would bet that it is still good for more than half that much revenue during an expansion year and not a ton less for an off year.  The subscription model is still pretty good when you can make it work.  Or, if you don’t want to go that route, you might need to sell champions like League of Legends, which still surpasses a billion annually selling those and skins.

Again, Overwatch is a big success, but you can kind of see why it only makes the SuperData chart on rare occasions.  It stands among giants.

On to other things… like the NPD chart for June.  As always, the NPD chart combines PC and console titles, covers US domestic sales only, and is both retail and digital, but both categories are not available for everything on the list, as noted below.

  1. Super Mario Maker 2*
  2. Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
  3. Mortal Kombat 11
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Minecraft
  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  7. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  8. NBA 2K19
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. Days Gone

*No digital data

The thing to note this month is how bizarrely different the two sets of charts are.   We can discount the digital titles that NPD does not appear to be getting data from, which is pretty much the entire PC column.   The only overlap is GTA V, NBA 2K19, and Days Gone, all like from console sales, and they aren’t even ranked in the same order.

Meanwhile, SuperData is clearly not getting data from Nintendo or, if they are, then digital sales are not as big on the Switch as they are on other consoles.  But the Switch is definitely on its own plane of existence.  Maybe they’re what is keeping GameStop alive these days.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions League of Legends fell off the list completely, with the top spot taken over by Fortnite, followed by Grand Theft Auto V.  The rest of the list included CS:GO, Overwatch, and MinecraftDOTA 2 also fell off the list this month.  Social media impressions do not correspond to sales, but are a measure of how much hype and talk games are getting on the various social media services.

Finally, news items included with the SuperData monthly report:

  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has one of the best launches in genre history. We estimate Crash Team Racing sold 552,000 digital units worldwide in June despite launching late into the month, marking the second-best launch month of any racing game on console, behind Ubisoft’s The Crew 2 in 2018. Digital sales were likely boosted by the above-average download rates seen so far this year but also point to the sustained popularity of the Crash Bandicoot IP.
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege‘s player base is as strong as ever. June was Rainbow Six‘s best month for Monthly Active Users and sixth-best month for in-game spending on the back of the Operation Phantom Sight update, despite the title being well into its fourth year. Total in-game revenue rose to $36.8 million across console and PC in June, an increase of 50% from May and 9% from June of last year.
  • Overwatch surpasses $1 billion from in-game spending. Blizzard’s MOBA shooter became the 64th game on either console, PC or mobile to generate over $1 billion from in-game content alone. Overwatch is also Activision Blizzard’s sixth IP to hit this mark, after World of WarcraftCall of DutyDestinyCandy Crush and Hearthstone.
  • Publishers are experimenting more with steep discounts. As the free-to-play business model continues to take mindshare in the industry, publishers seem more open to significantly lowering unit prices for catalogue AAA franchises in order to expand the player base. EA’s Sims 4 and Take-Two’s NBA2K19, two franchises that benefit immensely from add-on content purchases, both saw huge spikes in unit sales after prices were brought down below $5.