Tag Archives: Fortnite

SuperData has Fall Guys on Top for August

SuperData Research got their digital revenue chart for August out and, no surprise, revenues were up over last year for another month.

  • August digital games revenue totaled $10.8B, up 16% year-over-year. Digital console earnings grew the most and were up 88% compared to the same month in 2019. Revenue also rose by 15% on PC and 3% on mobile.

The pandemic continues to boost the video games industry as 2020 stays ahead of 2019.

  • Digital games have earned $82.8B through the first eight months of 2020, a growth of 13% from the same time span last year. Gaming revenue took off in March as COVID-19 lockdowns spread worldwide. Since then, each game device type (mobile, PC or console) has generated higher year-over-year revenue. 

But it is the chart that we like to look at, and the August chart has a shakeup of the usual order on the PC end of things.

SuperData Research Top 10 – August 2020

And, as I wrote above, the usual order on the PC side of things got a shake up in August, with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout topping the chart.

  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout had the highest-earning launch of any PC title ($185M) since Overwatch in May 2016. The innovative take on battle royale, published by Developer Digital and developed by Mediatonic, was free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, but 8.2M players still paid for the PC version. The breakout success of Fall Guys was especially impressive since it came from a relatively small development team. The game’s chaotic, wacky gameplay was a big draw on gaming video content platforms like Twitch, where it topped the viewership charts in the lead-up to launch.

I had not even heard of the game… or I had ignored it… until the SuperData chart came out, but there it is on top for August.

That pushed the usual top four, which I think of as the LCDF lineup due to their frequent ordering, down a notch as their usual order changed up, with Crossfire in second, League of Legends in third, Fantasy Westward Journey Online in fourth, and Dungeon Fighter Online in fifth.

The bottom half of the list saw Fortnite back up in its spot relative to the LCDF titles after having fallen in July, seeing a revenue boost in August.

  • Fortnite revenue grew 76% month-over-month on PC and console, more than offsetting its falling mobile revenue. Player spending jumped in late August thanks to a new season of content featuring cosmetic items based on Marvel Comics characters. This is in sharp contrast to its mobile revenue, which fell by 62% after Apple and Google removed the game from the iOS App Store and Google Play as part of the ongoing legal dispute between Epic and the two technology companies. (Our published mobile revenue totals do not encompass the Android version of Fortnite available outside of Google Play.)

Fortnite was followed by Roblox in seventh, CS:GO in eighth.  New shooter Valorant was down from fifth in July to ninth in August, and World of Warcraft managed to stay on the chart in tenth position.  World of Tanks fell of the list for August.

On the console chart Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took the top spot back as last months number one, Ghosts of Tsushima fell back to sixth position.  FIFA 20 and Fortnite followed in second and third, with the venerable GTA V in fourth position.

And at the mobile end of the chart, Pokemon Go continues its summer reign in the top spot.

  • Pokémon GO continued its upward momentum in August and broke its all-time earnings record. The game generated 25% more that its previous revenue peak achieved during August 2016. It benefited from warm weather and frequent limited-time events that appealed to its passionate player base. Pokémon GO has historically performed best in the summer and revenue will likely begin a seasonal decline in either September or October.

Then there is Free Fire, the title from Singapore that popped onto the charts in third place last month.  It has worked its way past Honour of Kings and into second place.  Behind them in fourth position is Peacekeeper Elite, the mobile version of PUBG available in China.  PUBG Mobile, the version for the rest of us only rings in at eighth position, just ahead of Candy Crush Saga.  However, PUBG Mobile may be in for a fall, as it has since been banned in India.

  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile was the 8th highest earning mobile title in its last month before being banned in India. The game was frequently the country’s highest-grossing game before India’s government furthered a widespread crackdown on Chinese apps (Tencent has operated the mobile version of PUBG). Also in August, the game’s overall revenue and player numbers did not change significantly, which indicates that bans of the mobile version of Fortnite did not lead to a mass player exodus to PUBG Mobile.

NPD also has their top ten chart forAugust available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Madden NFL 21
  2. UFC 4
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Ghost of Tsushima
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  10. Mortal Kombat 11

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

As usual, this list continues to indicate how much consoles still depend on physical retail distribution.

So it goes.  Another month of pandemic remains good business for some.

SuperData Say Pokemon Go was All Go Go Go in July

SuperData Research got their monthly chart out for July last week and I am going to squeeze in a post about it here on the last day of August.

SuperData Research Top 10 – July 2020

On the PC side of the chart, the usual top four remain in place, though League of Legends regained the top spot on the chart after being down in second for June.

Valorant, the shooter from Riot, moved up a spot.  It showed up on the scene in sixth place, but moved to fifth this month, swapping positions with RobloxWorld of Tanks, which fell off the list last month, returned in seventh spot, just ahead of World of Warcraft.  And bringing up the rear are CS:GO and FortniteThe Sims 4, which was in tenth spot for June fell off the list.

For consoles, the much talked about Ghost of Tsushima topped the chart.  Per the report:

Ghost of Tsushima sold 1.9M digital units in July to become the fastest-selling new PlayStation IP. The game far outpaced the early sales of other new franchises launched on PlayStation 4: Horizon: Zero Dawn sold 1.9M units in its first two months on the market in early 2017, and Days Gone sold 1.3M units in its first two months after launching in late April 2019. Ghost of Tsushima also set the record for the biggest console game ever launched during the month of July. The Last of Us Part II, also a PlayStation exclusive, set the June record only one month prior. A lack of alternative entertainment options due to COVID-19 has contributed to the success of recent PlayStation titles during what is historically a quiet season for new game releases.

GTA V pulled in fifth place, just ahead of Fortnite, and Pokemon Sword and Shield made it on to the list thanks to the expansion for the game launched on the Switch.  Paper Mario: The Oragami King also got a mention from SuperData:

Paper Mario: The Origami King sold 555K digital units in July. While its performance was nowhere near those of the last big Switch exclusives, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (5.0M) and Pokémon Sword and Shield (2.7M), the game did better than Fire Emblem: Three Houses when it launched in July 2019.

And on the mobile end of the chart Pokemon Go rose to first place based on a dedicated, if smaller, following.

Pokémon GO had its second-biggest revenue month ever. Earnings were just 0.4% lower than in August 2016, when the game was a global phenomenon. Now, however, it relies on a dedicated core of high-spending players, and July 2020 user numbers were just 15% of what they were in August 2016. July revenue was up thanks to the ‘Pokémon GO Fest’ in-game event on July 25 and 26. The event required a $15 fee to access a range of challenges and activities.

Meanwhile, the venerable Candy Crush Saga remained on the list, holding on in tenth position.

SuperData also pointed out the game Free Fire, which grabbed third place in July.

Free Fire has become the number two [three?] mobile game by carving out a niche in emerging markets. The mobile battle royale title from Singaporean publisher Garena has the distinction of being the world’s top Southeast Asian-published game. The game runs well on affordable, low-spec mobile phones and regularly tops the charts in markets like India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

I’ll have to keep an eye on Free Fire going forward, representing the markets it does.

NPD also has their top ten chart for July available as well.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Ghost of Tsushima
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  3. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  4. The Last of Us: Part II
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mortal Kombat 11
  8. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  10. Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

*Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

Being focused on retail, the NPD list is heavy on console titles, as they depend on physical sales much more than PC games.  And, while Ghost of Tsushima tops the list as expected, half the list is also Nintendo products, showing again how much they depend on retail over digital sales.

 

What Does Epic Want?

Always predict the worst and you’ll be hailed as a prophet.

-Tom Lehrer, quoting a friend

The big news in the video game world this week was around Epic Games and Fortnite.

Epic pushed a revision that allowed players to bypass the Apple store and pay Epic directly through their own service, even offering players a financial incentive in the form of a discount to use the Epic payment service over Apple’s.

Apple then removed Fortnite from their store.  This was entirely expected.  Epic knew they were in violation of the terms of service they agreed to when they put Fortnite into the store.

Epic wanted that.  That was clearly part of their plan as they immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple seeking injunctive relief to allow Epic to use their own payment service.  They even had a cute video to post mocking the Apple 1984 ad and setting Apple up as the villain.

Epic claims that Apple Store is a monopoly and that the company is engaged in unfair business practices as defined by various state and federal statutes.

They did the same thing on the Android side of the house and got pulled from the Google Play store and filed a lawsuit against Google as well with the same set of claims.

Two monopolies selling the same thing is an interesting take, and all the more so since Google allows other storefronts, like the Samsung Galaxy Store.

Tim Sweeney has also been active on social media stirring up anger about the two tech giants that sounds remarkably like the stuff coming out of Washington lately.  He likes to play a PR game where he casts himself as the hero and whoever he is facing as a villain.  We have seen that tack against Steam in the past as he has defended buying out exclusives for games that were already up for pre-order there.

What Does Epic Say They Want?

The lawsuit itself asks for, as noted above, injunctive relief to allow Epic to use its own payment service.

This seems like a non-starter.  It is essentially a request that companies be allowed to offer their applications on the Apple Store, allow them to be downloaded for free, and keep all financial benefit for themselves.  No money for Apple.

This feels like the nuclear option.

Apple (and Google) will fight this tooth and nail for years and have an army of lawyers between them to keep that going with motions and appeals for at least five years before it goes to trial.  They let this go and Facebook, already pressing Apple as well, will be close behind.

There are also some outsiders who might have some interest in this, like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.  The Epic lawsuit is an assault on the “walled gardens” of Apple and Google, but it ignores the console vendors who run similar locked store fronts for their own services.

Epic tries to split hairs, in my opinion, by saying that Apple and Google products are necessary for modern life while consoles are not, but I am not sure that fine distinction will fly.

There is also an air of hypocrisy in Epic’s complaint as they themselves run the Epic Store, which takes a percentage of the money from developers who wish their products to appear there.  Yes, they only take 12% as opposed to 30%, but as the punchline goes, we’ve determined what they are and we’re now just haggling over price.  But unless they allow their developers to use their own payment services and bypass sharing the take with Epic, their store might serve as an exhibit for Apple and Google.

I am also not sure the end result of Epic getting their injunctive relief would necessarily be a good thing.

Despite what people might think, running the Apple Store isn’t a low cost operation and Apple (and Google) are not going to carry on hosting things out of the goodness of their heart.  They will want compensation and will look for other avenues, like charging for being listed or amount of downloads, or some other direct method that would hurt more developers than it helps.

And the ability to use your own payment service itself is something likely to help only big companies like Epic in any case.  For all the posturing, Epic is doing this for themselves.

What Does Epic Really Want?

More money.

This is my opinion, but I think that Tim Sweeney is irked that he has to pay Apple and Google 30% of the cut.  He wants to pay less.  I am going to take a shot in the dark here and bet Tim would be happy with 12% which, coincidentally, happens to be the cut the Epic Store takes from its devs.  A reduction to that would probably make all of this go away.

Such an overall reduction would be good for developers big and small in a way the payment plan scheme likely would not.

Apple and Google will likely push back on such a universal percentage cut and we will have to see where things end up.  I would not be surprised to find the parties have arrived at an agreement over a Steam-like situation where apps that generate more than a given revenue threshold pay a reduced rate.  That will seal the deal on Epic’s motives.

As noted elsewhere, there is also a cost in lost sales to Epic by not being in the Apple and Google stores, so Epic has some incentive to make a deal sooner rather than drag this out to the bitter end.

A resolution like that will also save the consoles makers, Steam, and the Epic Store from a precedent that might come back to haunt them.  Imagine if you got a ruling that essentially says running an online store and requiring a cut of the sale price made you a monopoly?  The law is never static and some lawyer is always keep to stretch a ruling in order to make it fit a different situation, so long as there is some money in it for them.

Mobile is King

The other take away here is that mobile is king when it comes to gaming.  Consoles are still big in the US, and PC is big in the US and EU, but mobile titles bring in more money world wide and dominate in most of Asia.

Epic is suing Apple and Google, and not Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, or Steam, because the money stream from your phone or tablet is the biggest hose… the biggest overall by far and seeing huge growth compared to the stagnant PC numbers and declining console numbers… and Tim Sweeney wants more of that money in his pocket.

The End Result

When this gets settled, and however it gets settled, the rich will get richer and I will be greatly surprised if there is any benefit for small, indie devs at all.

Addendum:  Apple plays hard ball, threatens to cut off Epic developer accounts.

SuperData Says Video Games Still Doing Very Well in the Pandemic

SuperData Research has released their digital revenue numbers for May 2020 and the video game market still looks strong.  Not as strong as April, but still way over last year.

  • Digital games revenue totaled $10.2B in May, down 3% from April’s record-breaking total of $10.5B. Games continued their lucrative streak in May even though the month had few major game releases and an easing of COVID-19 lockdowns. Digital console revenue fell 27% from April to May due to fewer new releases, but a 3% growth in mobile earnings offset this gap. Overall spending was still up 14% over May 2019 ($8.9B), with PC up 8%, mobile up 14% and console up 23%.

The chart itself shows that many of the usual suspects remained strong in May.

Digital Revenue only

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2020

On the PC end of the chart, the same top four titles remained in their usual positions.  But in fifth place Roblox suddenly appeared, jumping up from ninth position in April, followed closely by World of Warcraft, now  in sixth.

Then there is CS:Go, Fortnite, and COD:MW, with World of Tanks making it back on to the list month in tenth position.  Nine our of ten on the list were there last month, with only Doom Eternal dropping off, allowing World of Tanks back on.

On the console front, FIFA 20 climbs back to the top of the list, followed by perennial list member Grand Theft Auto V, which no doubt got a boost from the Epic Store giving it away for a stretch.  Then there is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which holds on to third position, staying at or near the top of the list for three months running now.

Minecraft Dunegons, which did not make the PC list, did break into the console chart in ninth spot, no doubt due to it being available for all major platforms… and having the Minecraft name associated with it.

On the mobile end of the chart Peacekeeper Elite, the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile for China, held on to the top spot, keeping the past champion, Honour of Kings, at bay.  Roblox, strong on this front too, grabbed third spot while Pokemon Go, which fell off the list last month, surged back up into fourth, while long time list member Candy Crush Saga held on in seventh spot.

Then there is NPD, which is finally back after not updating for a couple of months as they adapted to the new reality of Covid-19.  As always, NPD numbers are US only, combine PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales (where noted).

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  4. NBA 2K20
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. Minecraft*
  8. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  10. Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order

* Digital sales on Nintendo eShop not included

Comparing that list to SuperData is a bit more interesting this month as the overlap isn’t quite the same.  COD:MW is on top and a few titles that didn’t register with SuperData made the cut.

So it goes.  Video games remain strong during our new abnormal.

SuperData also put up another report earlier this month that took a look at the remaster gravy train that seems to be hitting with things like Final Fantasy VII Remake doing very well.  Those of us who watch the MMO sphere know that, done right, nostalgia can be an evergreen proposition.

The remaining bullet points from SuperData’s digital revenue report for May:

A free giveaway of Grand Theft Auto V on the Epic Games Store caused PC player numbers to jump 245% from April to May. Launched seven years ago, the title continues to be a major draw, and the traffic from the promotion crashed the Epic Games Store. PC player numbers were only a quarter lower than the console version and PC revenue more than doubled as players purchased in-game content. Despite the surge in revenue, however, the console version continues to outearn its PC counterpart 4-to-1.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, another Take-Two Interactive title, was also given away for free on the Epic Games Store and PC player numbers surged 477%. PC revenue grew by 52% thanks to the promotion and the release of new in-game content, including a season pass.

May’s biggest new release, Minecraft Dungeons, attracted 1.8M players — but elements of its business model limited its revenue potential. The Microsoft title, an action role-playing game (RPG) spinoff, did not earn enough to make it to the top 10 PC games of the month and was only number nine on console. The title had a low upfront price ($19.99), and players on Xbox One and PC did not have to purchase the game directly, since it was available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Peacekeeper Elite from Tencent hit an all-time revenue high and was the highest-earning game overall. The game is a China-localized version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile, which also hit a revenue high during May and is especially popular in markets like India and Southeast Asia. The success of the titles shows there is strong demand for fast-paced multiplayer titles on smartphones. Gamers in North America and Europe may prefer to play these types of games on PC or console, but mobile is the platform of choice for hardcore gamers throughout much of the world.

Pokemon GO spending rose 60% month-over-month to thanks to a combination of warm weather and even more options for playing at home. Earnings for the game typically rise during the summer months, and May 2020 was no exception. Earnings reached their highest point since September 2019 and were up 45% year-over-year. Due to COVID-19, developer Niantic began selling remote raid passes at the end of April, which allowed players to join in-game battles without the need to travel to certain physical locations.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive earnings and player numbers fell from an April all-time-high as competing title Valorant prepared to launch. After months of upward momentum, CS:GO revenue shrank by 9% and user numbers fell 6%. During this time, Valorant, the rival tactical shooter from League of Legends maker Riot Games, was in beta and potentially siphoned away CS:GO players.

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.

SuperData and the Opening of the Coronavirus

March has become the “stay at home” month for many of us, even in jurisdictions where there has been no official order to do so.  Events have been cancelled, movie theaters shut down (drive-ins are back in vogue though), and we are not going out to do many things we might have otherwise.

And so home activities have gone up.  Netflix and other streaming services are seeing a boost in activity as are video game platforms.  Video game usage is up, Steam has seen a record number of people connected, and XBox Live has fallen over a couple of times due to the sudden surge.

And into this comes the SuperData Research digital revenue chart for February 2020.

SuperData Research Top 10 – February 2020

In February things were starting up around Covid-19.  I was in Portland, Oregon in the middle of the month and once we got back events were starting to get cancelled and the movie box office was already starting to tank.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell much from the main SuperData chart, as it is just a ranking without numbers.  The gaps between games as well as any change for a particular game, is unknown and unmarked unless titles change positions or falls off the list.

So we see the usual suspects on the chart.  At the PC end, the same top four remain in the same order.  CD:GO made it to fifth as Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot had its debut month on the chart then fell off.  World of Tanks surged a bit with some updates and events in February.  World of Warcraft stayed on the list despite troubles reported last month.

And Fortnite returned to the PC end of the chart.  Last month, as Bhagpuss pointed out, Epic Games was bitching to anybody who would listen that the SuperData numbers had to be wrong, though they declined to supply their own numbers and wouldn’t tell us where they thought they should be on the chart or even if they had the data to make that assessment.  Basically Tim Sweeney being Tim Sweeney.

As with the PC end of things, the console and mobile columns of the chart, aside from some jockeying for position, remained mostly made up of the same players, with the same titles topping the lists.  Jedi: Fallen Order and Pokemon Go both made their way back on to their respective charts.

So it will be interesting to see if, come the March numbers, if any of those mostly static lists change any.  Will something new take the public by storm?  Animal Crossing: New Horizons maybe?  Or will people remain set with their old standbys and just spend more time and money there?  Word is that Pokemon Go is already making bank.

The only detail we get is in the bullet points that SuperData provides with their posting.  The opening one did say that digital revenue was up:

  • Digital games spending totaled $9.2B in February, up 4% year-over-year. Much like in recent months, mobile revenue (up 16% year-over-year) made up for lower console and PC revenue (down 22% and 6%, respectively). A release schedule largely devoid of AAA games resulted in limited spending on console games. In comparison, February 2019 featured the launches of major titles like Anthem and Apex Legends, which contributed to the year-over-year revenue drop across the free-to-play (down 49%) and premium console segments (down 17%).

But that was a small bump and mostly in mobile, while the PC and console were down.  But SuperData is not unaware of what is going on in the world and the next three bullet points were related to, or might be related to, the current world situation.

  • The spread of COVID-19 had a limited impact on gaming habits in North America and Europe in February, but this is changing. The most significant containment efforts like business shutdowns and travel restrictions did not ramp up until March. Many titles have since had an influx of players and spending as consumers have turned to games as one of the few entertainment options available.
  • There are signs Japanese consumers gravitated to games over other activities in February. The Japanese versions of Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle and Monster Strike both saw jumps in revenue and user numbers. Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle in particular had its Japanese revenue more than triple from $24.8M in January to $78.0M in February.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive monthly active user numbers climbed to 24.0M, their highest levels ever. Player counts for the nearly eight-year-old title have trended upward consistently since the switch to a free-to-play business model in December 2018. An update to the game in late November 2019, which featured a battle pass and cosmetic character skins, has resulted in monthly revenue that is approaching the game’s previous all-time peak in July 2017. Despite the renewed interest in the title, its surge in player count may not be sustainable given the runaway success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the pending release of Valorant, an upcoming free-to-play shooter from Riot Games.

I expect that next month their analysis will include their own interpretation as to how COVID-19 has impacted the market.

As has become the custom for this post, I will add the NPD February video games chart.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 (2)
  2. NBA 2K20 (6)
  3. Grand Theft Auto V (5)
  4. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (1)
  5. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (75)
  6. Mario Kart 8* (8)
  7. Ring Fit Adventure (9)
  8. Madden NFL 20 (3)
  9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* (7)
  10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (4)

* Digital sales not included

The following number is the position the game was in last month.  I have tended to ignore that number, but this month I saw that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 had jumped up from 75th on their list, implying that NPD keeps much more detail than they share.

I will be interested to see how this chart changes next month.  If it were physical sales only, it might go completely weird, but as it combines some digital with physical, we might just see Nintendo titles disappear from the mix even as Animal Crossing jumps up onto the SuperData chart.

The remaining bullet points from SuperData:

  • A free giveaway of The Sims 4 for PlayStation Plus users led to the title’s console players outnumbering PC users for the first time (2.5M vs. 2.2M). The title has long earned the lion’s share of its revenue from the sale of in-game content, so the giveaway presented a low-risk way to attract new audience members and potentially convert them to spenders down the road.
  • The social casino title Coin Master achieved its highest earnings ever ($87.1M) as it rose to eighth place in the mobile revenue charts. The game from publisher Moon Active combines slots gameplay with town-building elements. It now vastly out-earns other mobile social casino titles like Slotomania and DoubleDown Casino and celebrities like Jennifer Lopez have appeared in ads for the title.

And so it goes.  We shall see what the March numbers bring and if certain incentives… Blizzard has a 100% xp bonus going for retail WoW right now for example… change anything.

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 Sees Overwatch Appear and Fortnite Hang On

It is the last weekday of the month and I am finally getting to the SuperData chart.  It is one of those posts that isn’t time sensitive, so long as I get it in during the month the chart drops, but there hasn’t been a lot of room for extra posts this week.  I had four posts on Tuesday.  I never do four posts in a single day.

Anyway, my digression aside, they dropped their chart for May so let’s take a look.

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2019

On the PC side of the chart the top five remain in place.  “LDFCF” was the ordering last month as well.

After that bloc, we have Total War: Three Kingdoms, the latest entry in the Total War series.  That launched near the end of the month, but saw enough sales… mostly on Steam I would guess… to make it up to sixth place.

That pushed World of Tanks and The Division 2 both down one spot, to seventh and eighth places respectively.

While World of Warcraft remains absent, and Hearthstone‘s fling in April was cut short, May saw Overwatch pop up into ninth place.  I do not pay enough attention to Overwatch to be able to explain why.

Finally, there was DOTA 2, one of the titles perennially fighting for that last spot.

In the center, Fortnite returned to the top of the console chart, displacing Mortal Kombat 11, which fell to third place.  The FIFA, MLB, and NBA titles held on, while Grand Theft Auto V returned to the top ten after dropping off for the first time in ages back in April.

And in mobile, Honour of Kings remained securely on top with Perfect World staying in second.  Candy Crush Saga popped up to third place and Pokemon Go remained in seventh.

SuperData also posted a chart to Twitter indicating that, year over year, digital spending was down in May.

May 2018 vs 2019

And, if you want to know where battle royale players spend their money, they posted a chart about that too.

For comparison, NPD also has their top ten revenue chart out for May as well.  Their list is:

  1. Mortal Kombat 11
  2. Days Gone
  3. Total War: Three Kingdoms
  4. Rage 2*
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  7. Red Dead Redemption II
  8. MLB 19: The Show
  9. Minecraft
  10. NBA 2K19

*No digital data

As usual, the NPD data covers both physical sales as well as some digital numbers from participating publishers, and only covers the US.

There is, as expect, much overlap despite the different data sets.  The most interesting item on the list for me is Minecraft.  It is one of the best selling games ever, but never cracks the SuperData chart because I am sure Mojang/Microsoft simply don’t share that data.  But something got it on the NPD chart.  I am just not sure what.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions League of Legends returned to the top, followed by usual suspects of Fortnie, Grand Theft Auto V, DOTA 2 and CS:GO. Hearthstone was on the list last month, supplanting DOTA 2,

Finally, the notes from the SuperData post for May:

  • Worldwide digital game spending dips on every platform. Consumers spent $8.7 billion digitally on games across console, PC and mobile in May, down 4% from the same month last year. This was driven by a 6% decline in Mobile, which continues to be a larger contributor than console and PC combined. The drop off in Fortnite also continues to drag both console and PC.
  • Fortnite gets a boost from Season 9 but is still far off from its peak. Fortnite made $203 million across console, PC and mobile, up significantly from April but down 38% from May 2018. Console continues to contribute the largest share of players and revenue.
  • FIFA Ultimate Team revenue declines year-over-year. We estimate that FIFA in-game spending generated $93 million across console and PC in May, down from the same month last year, partly due to a tough comparison against the initial strength of the World Cup mode last May. However, we note that World Cup performance weakened over time and will likely lead to more favorable comparisons in the coming months.
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms breaks one million units at launch. Sega’s latest strategy game led the top rankings on PC this month with $62 million in digital revenue.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds quietly continues to sell millions of units. We estimate that PUBG has sold 4.7 million digital units across PC and console year-to-date through May, maintaining its position as one of the best selling shooter titles on any platform despite losing much of the spotlight to EA’s Apex Legends and Fortnite.

SuperData Says that Hearthstone is Up and WoW is Down

It is time for the monthly digital sales chart for April 2019 from SuperData Research, and it does have more than the usual amount of changes.

SuperData Research Top 10 – April 2019

On the PC end of the chart the top six remained the same, though League of Legends swapped places with Dungeon Fighter Online, retaking its long held first position.

After World of Tanks though, there were some changes.  Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 made the cut a month late, likely due to an end of the month release. (It topped the console chart last month.)  And Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice stayed on the chart, which is pretty good for a single player game.  Hearthstone West made the cut as well, riding the wave of yet another new expansion into ninth place, and CS:GO popped back up into tenth place yet again.

Missing from the list completely though was long staple World of Warcraft, which does not bode well for the sagging title.  Then again, SuperData put up a chart showing that the WoW Classic Beta was drawing a lot of people to watch it on Twitch.

So it may be nostalgia that revives its fortunes… if we can wait until August.

Also not on the PC chart: Any battle royale games besides Fortnite.  Neither its early rival, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds nor the hot release earlier this year, Apex Legends, are there.

The chart is only ten deep, so we don’t know what 11-20 looks like, but still it is a blow to not make the cut.

On the console section Mortal Kombat 11 topped the list, followed by Fortnite and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.  Last months top finisher, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, was down in 10th place.  And, gone missing after a long, long run on the list was Grand Theft Auto V.

And on the mobile end of the chart Honour of Kings regained the top spot from Perfect World, which fell to second place, while Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go fell to fourth and sixth places respectively.

EEDAR has their top ten list for April out as well.

  1. Mortal Kombat 11
  2. Days Gone
  3. MLB 19: The Show
  4. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2**
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice**
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**
  9. NBA 2K19
  10. Yoshi’s Crafted World*

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

As is the case, this is US only data, combines PC and console sales, and does not include digital sales where indicated.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions Fortnite remained on top, followed by usual suspects of League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto V, and CS:GO, with Hearthstone slipping into the fifth spot, supplanting DOTA 2.  Again, this is likely due to a new expansion released for Blizzard’s collectable card game.  Apex Legends, which topped the chart in February, remains out of the top five, corresponding with its drop from the SuperData charts.

Other items from the SuperData Research report:

  • Growth in digital console spend makes up for sluggish PC sales. Consumers spent $8.86 billion digitally on games across console, PC and mobile worldwide in April, up 7% from the same month last year. Premium console, up 17%, was the fastest-growing segment due to the continued mix shift towards digital channels for full game units. PC overall declined 4% year-over-year despite modest growth within the free-to-play segment.
  • Mortal Kombat 11 has the best digital launch in franchise history. MK 11 sold 1.8 million digital units across console and PC in May, up from 400,000 units for Mortal Kombat X in 2015, largely due to rising digital download rates on console.
  • NBA2K growth accelerates as the NBA post-season heats up. We estimate NBA2K in-game spending grew 101% year-over-year in April, marking the largest single-month growth rate the franchise has seen since 2016.
  • Apex Legends falls out of the top rankings on console and PC. Apex Legends generated $24 million in April, down significantly for the second month in a row. Monthly revenue now sits at just over one-quarter of the launch-month sales from February.
  • Overwatch and Hearthstone still face declines despite new content updates. Both titles saw a sequential bump in total digital revenue following new content releases, but still declined 15% and 37% year-over-year, respectively. On a combined basis, Overwatch and Hearthstone digital revenue across all platforms is down 39% year-to-date compared to the same time period in 2018.