Tag Archives: Fortnite

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.

SuperData Shows Fortnite Still Popular and WoW Hanging On

It is time for the monthly digital sales chart for March 2019 from SuperData Research.

SuperData Research Top 10 – March 2019

On the PC end of the chart the usual suspects continue to occupy the top four spots.  League of Legends seems to be relegated to second place at this point, while Crossfire and Fantasy Westward Journey Online II swapped spots from last month.

Fifth spot remains the domain of Fortnite.  Battle royale remains solid there, though the big new free to play competitor, Apex Legends, that was off to such a strong start in February, fell from sixth to ninth place.  Instead, World of Tanks finds itself up in sixth position.

SuperData even tweeted a supplementary chart comparing the Twitch viewership of the two titles.

Twitch Viewership, Fortnite vs. Apex Legends

Fortnite remains popular, though Epic is running their staff hard to keep up it seems.

A new entrant, the well reviewed Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, showed up in seventh spot, reflecting strong sales for its late March launch.  It is also the rare single player title on the list.

DOTA 2 remained in either place while World of Warcraft, again flagged as “West,” maintains a spot on the list in tenth place.

On the console list The Division 2, a mid-March release, takes the top spot, pushing down last month’s first and second place titles, FIFA 19 and Fortnite, a notch each.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice grabbed the fourth spot on the console list.  Apex Legends dropped from fourth to sixth position while the troubled Anthem disappeared from the list completely for March.  Bell weather Grand Theft Auto V remained on the list, but dropped to ninth position.

On the console end of the chart the mobile version of the popular Asian MMORPG Perfect World launched in early March and jumped to the top of the chart.  That pushed Honour of Kings and Candy Crush Saga down into second and third place, followed by Pokemon Go, which held on to its fourth place spot from last month.

So there we go.

For comparison, EEDAR also has their list out for March, which mostly combines digital and retail, combines both PC and console (and excludes mobile), and which is US only, making it the ongoing orange to SuperData’s apple.  Their top ten looks like this:

  1. The Division 2
  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice**
  3. MLB 19
  4. Devil May Cry 5
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. NBA 2K19
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. Yoshi’s Crafted World*
  10. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

For EEDAR’s social media impressions Apex Legends, which topped their list last month, disappeared in March, reinforcing what SuperData tweeted.  The list was topped by Fortnite, followed by League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto V, CS:GO, and DOTA 2.

Take that comparison for whatever you feel it is worth.

Other items from the March SuperData report:

  • Worldwide digital game spending ends the quarter on a soft note. Consumers spent $8.7 billion digitally across console, PC and mobile in March, down 3% from the prior year. Premium PC continues to lead the declines with a 23% drop, while Mobile, which made up 56% of total revenue, also fell by 2%. Console revenue was the only source of growth in March, up 10% on the back of a strong premium release slate as well as continued traction for Fortnite and Apex Legends.
  • Fortnite continues to hold steady despite increased competition. Fortnite revenue grew 7% year-over-year in March, which is the first year-ago comparison that includes console, PC and Mobile (Fortnite began its iOS beta in March 2018). We expect that Fortnite will face tough comparisons going forward as it’s unlikely to replicate last year’s meteoric rise during Spring and Summer 2018.
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege declines again despite “Year Four” spike. Rainbow Six in-game spending increased 43% across console and PC in March compared to February on the back of a new “Year Four” content release. However, revenue was still down roughly 20% year-over-year.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice outsells Dark Souls III. Activision’s new release sold roughly 1.4 million digital units across console and PC, compared to 1.2 million units for Dark Souls III during its own launch in April 2016. Growth in digital units came primarily from console, where the download rate is significantly higher than it was three years ago.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate finds success with its Fighter Pass. We estimate that Super Smash Bros. generated $67 million from in-game spending during 1Q19, primarily from its $25 Fighter Pass which unlocks several DLC characters throughout the year.

SuperData Sees Apex Legends Jump in Behind Fortnite

SuperData Research released their chart for February digital sales this week, so we have new data to gaze upon.

SuperData Research Top 10 – February 2019

On the PC end of the chart, the top four remained in the same positions we saw them in January, with League of Legends still in second place.

The interesting bit comes with fifth and sixth place, the race between Fortnite and the newly launched Apex Legends.

Apex Legends was on fire from the moment it launched, heading to a huge number of players very quickly.  SuperData posted a supplementary chart on Twitter about the quick growth of Apex Legends.

SuperData Research time to 50 million downloads

For all that speed and hype however, Fortnite managed to stay ahead of the bright new star of Apex Legends, grabbing fifth place while the new kid ended up in sixth.  Missing completely from the chart is last month’s sixth place finisher, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.  So maybe we know who took the hit on that front.

The rest of the chart is rounded out by World of Tanks, which climbed up a spot to seventh, DOTA 2, which went from tenth last month to eighth, Word of Warcraft, still flagged as “West,” which is down in ninth, and FIFA 19 Online, making its first appearance on the chart in tenth.

Also missing from the PC chart is BioWare’s Anthem, another big February launch.  However, unlike Apex Legends, a lot of what is being said about Anthem is negative.

In the middle on the console chart FIFA 19 and Fortnite held on to first and second place.  Then we have the two big February launches, Anthem and Apex Legends in third and fourth.  Then there is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, holding on to fifth, keeping it on the upper half of the chart for three months running.  Down the list, Grand Theft Auto V stayed alive another month, clocking in at eighth.

On the mobile chart, the top five stayed the same, with Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go swapping positions compared to last month.  Of note is sixth place entry PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds Mobile, the first time one of the mobile ports of a battle royale title has made the cut.

For comparison, EEDAR also has their list out for February, which mostly combines digital and retail, and which is US only, making it the orange to SuperData’s apple I suppose.

  1. Anthem
  2. Jump Force
  3. Kingdom Hearts III
  4. Far Cry New Dawn
  5. Red Dead Redemption II
  6. Resident Evil 2 2019
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  8. Metro: Exodus**
  9. NBA 2K19
  10. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

EEDAR’s report also shows Apex Legends topping the social media impressions, followed by Fortnite, League of Legends, CD:GO and DOTA 2.

Back to SuperData’s report for February, it contained the following supplementary notes on the digital video games market for February 2019.

  • Worldwide digital game spending returns to growth. Consumers spent $8.2 billion on digital games across console, PC and mobile in February, up 2% compared to February last year. Growth came primarily from mobile, which was up 9%. This more than made up for the 6% decline in premium PC, where the market continues to face a tough comparison against sales of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds last year.
  • Apex Legends has the best launch month of any free-to-play game in history. Apex Legends generated an estimated $92 million from in-game spending across all platforms, with the majority coming from console. Despite this, Fortnite still came in above Apex Legends in the top grossing rankings.
  • Anthem makes over $100 million in digital revenue at launch. Anthem was the top-selling title by units on console in February, with an above-average digital download rate. In-game spending came in at $3.5 million across both platforms.
  • Hearthstone takes a sharper downward turn. Hearthstone revenue had its largest year-over-year decline ever this month, dropping 52% across PC and mobile, partly due to heightened competition within the genre and likely franchise fatigue.
  • NBA2K continues its exceptional run. Life-to-date through February, NBA2K19 in-game spending is up an estimated 42% compared to NBA2K18, showing some of the highest growth seen from any mature AAA franchise in recent years.

 

WoW West Returns to SuperData while EEDAR has a Different List

Two SuperData Research related posts in one week?  Well, we got the 2018 in review report before they showed up with the December numbers.  But do the December numbers fill in any gaps left in the annual report?

SuperData Research Top 10 – December 2018

On the PC side of the chart League of Legends and Dungeon Fighter Online remain in the top two positions.  However, Fortnite managed to bounce its way up one spot, into third position, passing Crossfire by, which dropped to fourth.

Battlefield V disappeared off the chart, but as a title that series tends to be one that spike quickly and then fades.  But speaking of things that disappeared, Fantasy Westward Journey Online II, long a staple of the list, went missing on the November chart but returned for December, taking that fifth spot.  As I said last month, it had been rolling around between fourth and sixth for quite a stretch, so for it to go away for November and then reappear in that range in December raises questions.  Did somebody just forget to send in the numbers?

Likewise, World of Warcraft, another resident of the chart since it took on its current form, also went missing in November only to reappear in December.  And, even more odd, we’re back to the “West” designation for it, something that .  Does that mean that the game is strong here but tanking in Asia?  Or are we seeing the results of Blizzard being cagey about what they report?

The East/West thing first showed up in the report for January 2017.  It was a surprise at the time.  Then for the February 2017 report it was combined again, though the report was revised after it was initially published.  The split returned again for the April 2017 report, then was dropped until this month’s report.

Again, having dealt with this sort of thing in another industry, I suspect that SuperData has to deal with the data that Blizzard, probably via Activision, gives them.  But why they should want to split the data is unclear.  Maybe the “East” data wasn’t ready yet and they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss another month on the chart?  Who knows.  I certainly don’t.  And, as I have said before, I wouldn’t bet money on any single chart’s data.  It is the trend over time that interests me more.  If WoW sticks on the chart in 2019 it might be okay to discount the disappearance in November.

Anyway, lacking a crystal ball I will just carry on.

In between Fantasy Westward Journey Online II and World of Warcraft sits PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, holding its six place spot for another month.  At eight position is The Sims 4, down a spot from last month, but still very strong for the title.  Holiday sales must have been nice for it.

World of Tanks hung in there at ninth position, down one.  And then, in tenth place, there was a surprise appearance by Hearthstone, also wearing the “West” designation.  Are we seeing accounting issues or other problems with the Chinese government in that?  Strange times.

On the Console column Fortnite grabbed the top spot, followed by Nintendo’s release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch.  Red Dead Redemption 2 fell from first to fifth, but that still seems like a strong performance for the title.  And then the granddaddy of the list, Grand Theft Auto V, climbed up from ninth to six for December.  It just keeps on going.

Then at the Mobile end of the chart Honour of Kings grabbed back the top spot from Pokemon Go, which fell to second, while the six year old Candy Crush Saga proved its staying power once again by holding onto the third spot.

And so it goes.

As a comparison, EEDAR, part of NPD, has started sending me a monthly ranking for titles as well.  You can find the current list here.  Of course, it has PC and console combined, counts physical sales (which favors consoles more), doesn’t include mobile, and doesn’t include any digital sales for most titles, but it is another list, so I’ll put it in here as well. (Their chart isn’t as handy to take as a graphic so I’ll just write it out.)

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  2. Red Dead Redemption II**
  3. Battlefield V**
  4. NBA 2K19
  5. Mario Kart 8*
  6. Madden NFL 19**
  7. Super Mario Party*
  8. Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu*
  9. Marvel’s Spider-Man

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

That is definitely a different list.  Without digital League of Legends, Fortnite, PUBG, anything from Blizzard, and anything from China just disappears.  I don’t think either list is “wrong” per se.  This is just what you get what you measure different things.  SuperData is only interested in digital sales while NPD is the old school “What’s selling at GameStop” measurement for the most part. (They also have point of sales based number for books and videos.)  As NPD puts it:

NPD’s U.S. top 10 games list, ranked by dollar sales, includes full-game digital sales (from participating publishers) as well as sales for physical formats sold at retail and online across console, PC and portable platforms.

While I cannot find it written out anywhere, I suspect that it the numbers may be US and Canada only as well.

EEDAR also has a full 2018 chart, which looks like this:

  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Madden NFL 19**
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  7. Far Cry 5
  8. God of War 2018
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

Again, if you compare it against SuperData’s 2018 list, which I posted on Tuesday, that is… different.  And the list formats are even similar, as EEDAR’s list seems to line up with SuperData’s Premium Games list, which included both PC and console.

A few items overlap, but EEDAR again misses completely on things like PUBG and GTA V because of digital sales.

Amusingly, further down in EEDAR’s report they talk about social media impression data, and that is dominated by games missing from their chart, specifically Fortnite, League of Legends, CS:GO, DOTA 2, and PUBG.  Go figure!

Other items from the SuperData report:

  • Worldwide digital spending declines 2% to $9.0 billion. December’s weakness came primarily from Premium PC, which fell 21% due to an unfavorable comparison against PUBG and CS:GO last year, as well as another single-digit drop off in mobile. This more than offset a 12% rise in console, where Fortnite drove a 209% increase in the free-to-play segment.
  • PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite end the year on a high note. Fortnite had its highest grossing month to date, while PUBG sold 2.75 million units across console and PC.
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate is December’s best selling console game. We estimate that Smash Bros Ultimate sold 2.49 million digital console units, making it far and away the best digital console launch on the Switch so far.
  • Sims 4 benefits from end-of-year promotions. A significant price cut led to a surge in new unit sales on both console and PC. However, DLC revenue on PC declined year-over-year by 10%.
  • Battlefield V falls short during the holidays. EA’s shooter missed out on the top 10 console list this month after selling significantly less than competing shooter titles.
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive finds early success as a free-to-play title. CS:GO hit a new MAU high point for the franchise in its second month as a F2P title. We estimate the free version generated roughly $49 million between November and December.

I generally do not comment on the other items from SuperData’s notes, but EEDAR has a different look at December.

  • Led by the record-breaking performance of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Nintendo Switch, tracked December sales reached $3.4B with growth of 2% when compared to a year ago.  Nintendo Switch also finishes the year as the best-selling hardware platform, while Red Dead Redemption 2 is the best-selling game of the year.

So SuperData, measuring digital only, says December was down while EEDAR, measuring mostly physical sales, says December was up, though the EEDAR number, $3.4 billion, was overall much smaller that SuperData’s $9 billion number.

Anyway, I’ll include EEDAR data as a comparison going forward if I can, though they are not as regular as SuperData, which is pretty consistent about dropping around the last week of the month.