Tag Archives: SuperData Research

SuperData Shows Fortnite Peaking and Pokemon Go Surging

SuperData Research has released their digital market numbers for May 2018.

SuperData Research Top 10 – May 2018

On the PC end of the chart the top five entries remained unchanged from last month.  For May though DOTA 2, which fell of the chart previously, jumped back on and knocked World of Warcraft down a peg.  WoW, which is in the warm up period before its next expansion held out ahead of World of Tanks, while ninth and tenth spot continued to be held by PUBG and CS:GOWoW will likely rise through August due to the expansion.

On the console chart Fortnite remained on top, FIFA 18 climbed to second spot, and God of War sank a bit after strong launch sales.

Then on the far right the mobile segment still has the same top three titles as last month, but Pokemon Go has surged up a bit, jumping from seventh to fourth spot, allegedly on the coming of summer and good weather, while Candy Crush Saga stuck it out at eighth position.  I expect Pokemon Go will hold on, or maybe even rise another notch, with the coming of the new friend features this month along with the summer surge.

Supplementary notes from the chart post:

  • Fortnite hits a new high but growth is slowing down. We estimate that Fortnite made $318 million across all platforms in May, up 7% from April. The majority of growth came from console, with mobile and PC both coming in flat compared to April.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II players don’t bite on new microtransactions. EA reintroduced microtransactions in April, months after facing backlash over a perceived pay-to-win model at launch, but the reception has been pretty muted so far. SWBF2 Additional Content in May fell short of the levels seen across other top games this year.
  • Detroit: Become Human the latest in series of successful Sony releasesSony’s new sci-fi title sold 291,000 digital units at launch in May, a solid reception for a console-exclusive and new IP.
  • Pokemon Go poised for a strong summer. Pokemon Go generated $104 million in May, up 174% year-over-year. The player base increased to the highest level since the game’s peak in 2016 – just in time for the usual summer bump that goes hand-in-hand with the game’s walkabout gameplay.

SuperData and How God of War and Fortnite Ruled April

The SuperData Research Digital Sales numbers for April 2018 have been released.

SuperData Research Top 10 – April 2018

On the PC side of the chart the status quo ante of the top three was restored as League of Legends, which dropped to second place in March, returned to its usual position at the top of the list.  The Dungeon Fighter Online insurgency was put down.

Elsewhere on the PC list, Fortnite held on to fifth position and World of Warcraft held on to sixth.  Popping onto the list in the seventh spot was HearthstoneWorld of Tanks held eighth position for another month while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dropped from seventh to ninth and CS:GO held tenth again.

On the console chart, Fortnite held the top spot for another month, while the newly released God of War ran up to second position as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.  FIFA 18 held on to third while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remains buried by Fortnite on the console front, completely missing from the list.  Also disappearing is the XBox exclusive Sea of Thieves which broke into the console chart last month.

I do wonder whether H1Z1 will be able to make the chart, sqeezing back into the battle royal market it lost a hold of.  The report is that 1.5 million people downloaded the H1Z1 beta.  We shall see if that translates into sales going forward.

On the mobile chart Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga both held onto spots, but Lineage M, which brought in so much revenue for NCsoft in their last quarterly report, fell off.

Other items from the SuperData Research report:

  • Fortnite can’t be stoppedonce again it broke the record for most additional content revenue in a single month by a console game.
  • Fortnite breaks another record. Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March.
  • Console spend was up a whopping 44% in April due to the record-breaking success of both Fortnite and God of War
  • God of War has the largest console exclusive digital launch to date. Sony’s new exclusive title sold an estimated 2.1 million digital units at launch in April. This is more than double that of the second-largest Sony exclusive launch, Uncharted 4.
  • Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age. GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.
  • Honour of Kings hits a new high. Honour of Kings further cemented itself as the top grossing mobile title in the world with another $185 million in revenue generated during April, up from $171 million in March and $149 million last April.

SuperData Shows League of Legends Dethroned and Fortnite Still Booming

SuperData Research has their numbers for March out and it shows an unexpected (at least to me) change with some of the usual suspected.

SuperData Research Top 10 – March 2018

League of Legends lost its first place spot on the PC list.  If you go to the SuperData tag here and scroll down the past posts, you will see that League of Legends has held that spot since the list was a thing.  It has been there for so long it seemed like it was just locked in place.

Of course, it was supplanted by Dungeon Fighter Online, a Korean game big in the China market that has been hanging around second or third position for as long as LoL has been in first place.

I’m not sure if League of Legends is sagging a bit or if the Season 4 release for Dungeon Fighter Online was that popular, but we have a new player in first position for now.

Further down the list Fortnite pushed into fifth spot while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, fifth last month, dropped down to seventh place behind World of Warcraft.  World of Tanks held on to the eighth slot while Far Cry 5 joined at ninth, taking that spot from Hearthstone, and CS:GO held on to tenth.

On the console list Fortnite broke into the number one spot in March, followed by popular new comer Far Cry 5, pushing down FIFA 18, Call of Duty WWII, and the long in the tooth GTA VSea of Thieves also hove into view on the list while Monster Hunter: World fell from fourth to tenth spot.

And on the mobile list Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga swapped positions compared to the February list.

It seems like things are still full speed ahead for Fortnite and their conquest of the battle royale genre.

Other items from their update:

  • Dungeon Fighter Online has generated the highest revenue of any Free-to-Play PC game in March on the back of their third anniversary celebration and a limited event that challenged players to level up new characters for special items.
  • Tencent’s mobile kart-racing game, QQ Speed, has generated over $100M in revenue for its third month in a row.
  • 2015’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues to hold an impressive audience despite being two iterations behind this year’s Call of Duty: WWII. Developer Activision is continuing support for the game, releasing a new mode and map this month.
  • Fortnite had quite a March. The game has overtaken the previous “king of battle royale,” PUBG, in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users across all platforms. It also hit the #1 spot by revenue on iOS in the United States in its launch month and has the highest conversion rate of any free-to-play PC game in March. There’s no other way to say it: the game is a phenomenon. Fortnite generated $223 million across all platforms (console, PC, Mobile) in March, up a whopping 73% from February. Drake, a new season of the Battle Pass, and a John Wick skin all contributed to the massive growth.
  • Far Cry 5 marks a strong return for the franchise. Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 sold an estimated 2.5 million digital units across console and PC. On console, Far Cry 5‘s digital launch was up nearly 500% compared to Far Cry Primal two years ago. This points to not only the underlying health of the Far Cry series, but also to growing digital download rates for AAA console games in 2018.
  • Sea of Thieves has early success but with a caveat. Sea of Thieves had 1.7 million monthly active users on console and 283,000 on PC during its launch month. However – more than half of these users obtained the game through the limited free trial offered as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. This leaves some unanswered questions concerning the long-term success of the title.
  • Candy Crush hits another multi-year high on mobile. Candy Crush had its most successful month since 2014. King’s flagship mobile title has been showing double-digit year-over-year growth since mid-2017.

SuperData says Fortnite Continuing to Climb

The February digital revenue numbers from SuperData Research are out and they show what SuperData has already been going on about; the rise of Fortnite.

SuperData Research Top 10 – February 2018

On the PC side of things Fortnite is still behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but that is PUBG’s strong spot.  On the console side of thing Fortnite is alone in third position with PUBG nowhere to be seen.  And when it comes to live stream viewership, the metric of the hour, Fortnite owns.

On the PC side of things both games kept ahead of World of Warcraft on the revenue front.  World of Tanks, which just saw a big update, tucked in behind WoW, displacing CS:GO, which fell to tenth, while ninth position saw Hearthstone pop up onto the list.  We’ll see next month if World of Tanks benefits from the update.

On the console side list Call of Duty: WWII continued to hold the top spot, while FIFA 18 and Fortnite both pushed ahead of Monster Hunter World.  The long on the list GTA V held on in fifth position.

And on the mobile list Candy Crush Saga stayed in fourth place while Lineage M dropped one position to eighth and Pokemon Go moved up to ninth.  Both PUBG and Fortnite have their own mobile versions on the way so the battle between these titles may eventually expand to all three lists on the chart.

Additional data from their post:

  • U.S. digital spending grows 21%. Growth came primarily from an increase in Console spend, from both large premium AAA franchises and the popularity of the Free-to-play Fortnite. Combined with the increase in Premium PC, these segments more than offset continued declines in Pay-to-Play PC and Social.
  • Fortnite continues its upward trajectory. Epic’s Battle Royale title showed no signs of losing steam. Fortnite earned more additional content revenue on console than any game other than Call of Duty: WWII and now has more monthly active users than Grand Theft Auto V.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sells over 2.5 million digital units. PC unit sales declined for a second month in a row but continued purchases on Xbox One made up for some of the lost ground.
  • Tencent’s QQ Speed cements itself as a top 10 mobile game. QQ Speed, which launched in December, has shown one of the fastest climbs of any mobile title we’ve seen, and points to just how fast new mobile games can aggregate tens of millions of players.
  • Overwatch continues to hold buyers through back-to-back cosmetic releases, despite heavy competition for the consumer’s dollar from popular Battle Royale titles. January introduced Overwatch League themed cosmetics and February saw the release of cosmetics related to Chinese New Year.
  • Monster Hunter World continues to see great success in its first 30 days of release, due to overwhelmingly positive reviews and news.

SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite

As we roll on down to the final hours of February, SuperData Research has their digital revenue numbers for January available at last.

SuperData Research Top 10 – January 2018

The standard top four, League of Legends and the three Chinese MMORPGs, maintain their hold on the top of the list, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fornite: Battle Royale and World of Warcraft hanging on to the next three slots as they did in December.  The only change was CS:GO popping up into 8th place, edging out World of Tanks while Overwatch hung onto the last spot as the cyclical ROBLOX dropped off yet again.

So not much change there, with PUBG and Fortnite holding on, having scavenged most of the remaining customers that H1Z1 was living off of.

It is on consoles where the battle between those two continues.  In December PUBG jumped onto the list, taking third position with its release on XBox, while Fortnite lingered down in eighth.  With the coming of January though, Fortnite, available on both XBox and PS4, rose in the ranks as PUBG disappeared from the list.  The questions is, will Fortnite’s edge on consoles help it overtake PUBG on the PC as well?

Also missing from the console list is the much beleaguered Star Wars Battlefront II.

And over on the mobile list my two touchstone products, Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go, made the list at fourth and tenth place.  Not bad in such a crowded market.  Meanwhile Lineage M, the big mobile money maker for NCsoft these days, remained on the list, though it dropped two spots.  Since that appears to have scavenged a big segment of the legacy Lineage user base, long the company financial bedrock, I hope that the mobile version holds on for their sake.

SuperData and the Curious Case of the Missing WoW Money

SuperData Research released its 2017 report looking at how much money was spent on video games, sliced up into different segments.  You can download the report from them, it is free, unlike some of their other reports.

Yes, I know, SuperData’s numbers are flawed, though probably not in the way you think.  As a market analysis firm, they have relationships with the companies on which they report.  They are not some group of rando outsiders om Spokane making wild guesses by looking at Steam charts and trying to get data out of the App Store.  They get financial information directly from most of the companies they track.

The companies cooperate because there is a quid pro quo in play.  SuperData only covers a limited number of companies generally, but those companies tend to be publicly traded… or have aspiration to go public some day… or are in bed through licensing with another company that is public… and they want analysts to say nice things about them because that may boost their valuation and, thus, their stock price.

The flaw in the data often comes from what the companies choose to give analysts and how they package it.  I speak from experience on this.  I recall one year the marketing director at a company coming to me to ask me about what new features we were working on for our main product.  He was working on our annual puff piece for Gartner to tell them how great we were.  So I listed out the key items from the road map and he gave me a sour look and said that we told Gartner we did all of that last year or the year before, he wanted something new!

So yeah, the analyst is only as good as the data they get, and companies will lie… though when it comes to financials, they can’t make stuff up if they’re a public company.  They can, however, withhold data or refuse to break things out in a way that the analyst would want.

All of which brings us back to SuperData and their 2017 report.  They have several nice charts which, unlike their monthly reports, have dollar amounts attached.

SuperData 2017 Mobile Market Chart

There is a lot of money in mobile games.

Then there is the free to play PC games chart.

SuperData 2017 F2P PC Games Market Chart

League of Legends dominates that with over $2 billion in revenue in 2017, something I am sure Tencent wants its institutional investors to know.  But the low end of that chart is a lot lower than the low end of the mobile chart.

Then there is the Premium PC chart, the traditional “buy the box” model, though the top end of the chart has DLC and other additional revenue streams.

SuperData 2017 Premium PC Games Market Chart

Hey, look, Guild Wars 2!  Shipping a new box in 2017 no doubt helped them to get there.  Also, you can probably go back and look at the first three quarters of earnings reports for NCsoft in 2017, add up the GW2 revenues on those, subtract that from the number on the chart, and have a good guess at what the Q4 number will be. (Should be about 46,560 on the GW2 section of their usual chart, which is measured in millions of South Korean Won, if I calculated that correctly. That would be a big boost from Q3.)  If that is on the money, then there is only one possible source.  And if it is different… well, then we’ll have some evidence of something else.

I am dubious about Minecraft. That seems like a lot for just the PC market, though that may be because I focus on the Java Edition, which is its own beast.  The other, unified cross platform edition has all sorts of DLC, even on Windows 10.  And, again, who knows how Microsoft packaged up the data.  They might have said, “This is the Minecraft number,” declining to break it out.

And, finally, there is the consoles chart.

SuperData 2017 Console Games Market Chart

Consoles seem to be about shooting people and playing soccer.

There are no billion dollar earners on either of those last two charts.  GTA V on console is worth a quarter of League of Legends when it comes to annual revenue in 2017.  Then again, half a billion dollars is still nothing to sneeze at, and it is a hell of a lot of money for a game that shipped on consoles back in 2013.  But, then again, League of Legends showed up in 2009, so being new doesn’t have much to do with revenue I guess.

Anyway, interesting charts to look at and compare.  Each of the numbers are probably true in the right context, but the chances of us knowing that context is pretty slim.

But in looking at all of that, there was a glaring omission in my book.  World of Warcraft is nowhere to be seen.  After all, it has appeared on every monthly SuperData chart in 2017.  Why would it not appear in the final report?

My first thought was that it just didn’t fit nicely into any of the categories.  And I suppose that might be the case, but I doubt it.

My gut says that Blizzard wants it this way.  As noted above, analysts are at the mercy of those providing the data, and I think the only way that SuperData would have skipped WoW is because Blizzard held back that data or told them they couldn’t use it in a publicly available report.  I back this up with how Blizzard has tried to obscure information about WoW in their financial reports.

At first that was because of the subscription drop panic.  But later, when it became more thorough, I began to suspect another reason.

I think that this is all because Blizzard is trying to remove the idea that the company is dependent on WoW for the bulk of their revenues.

There was a time when that was the case, when it was WoW paying the bills and a few people buying Diablo II or Warcraft III battle chests bringing in what amounted to some spare change.  But Blizzard has moved on from then.  As noted in the past, BlizzCon is now about more than just WoW.

When WoW went through its post-Warlords of Draenor subscriber dump, I think Blizz realized that they needed to shed the image that Blizzard = WoW and nothing else.  They don’t want people to think that if WoW dies, Blizzard dies.

As part of that Blizzard began to pay a lot more attention publicly to the other titles in its catalog, which has expanded quite a bit since 2008 or so, when WoW was pretty much it.  So in the charts above you see Hearthstone in free to play and Overwatch in premium PC games.

But you don’t see WoW, not because it didn’t make enough money to place, but because Blizz doesn’t want that to distract from its other titles.

I also think this is the reason that WoW got split into East and West earlier in the year, so that other Blizzard titles would be seen to have passed WoW.  That wasn’t some rando analyst choice.  Analysts don’t do that, they like their data to be consistent over time.  That gives it a greater sense of validity.

And I know WoW would make the charts.  We can derive that from past data.  Throughout 2017, World of Warcraft was on every SuperData monthly chart, and for 10 out of 12 months it was ahead of World of Tanks, which did make the chart.  WoW was also ranked ahead of World of Tanks at the first six months of 2017 summary from SuperData.

So I think we can safely say that WoW made more than World of Tanks, which itself brought in $471 million according to the charts above.  And WoW making even a dollar more than that amount would put it well ahead of Overwatch ($382 million) and Hearthstone ($217 million), the next two highest earners in the Blizzard stable.

We don’t know how much World of Warcraft actually made in 2017, but it was likely in excess of half a billion dollars, and could be a decent chunk more than that.  I could probably find out if I wanted to spend two grand on SuperData’s MMO and MOBA report, but I am not so inclined. Still, even my guess is not bad for a game from 2004.

And it seems likely that WoW will pop up a bit in SuperData’s monthly charts for January and February with the Battle for Azeroth pre-orders having hit on Tuesday.  The payment system was bogged down from the effect of people trying to throw money at Blizzard.

So World of Warcraft isn’t dead.  It isn’t even resting really.  It seems to me to be more a matter of Blizzard having the problem in not being able to create something to surpass WoW.   So rather than submitting their other titles to that measure, they’re trying to hide it.

Anyway, that is my working theory.

Meanwhile, a bonus chart from the report, and one I am sure Blizzard really likes, the esports viewership.

SuperData 2017 esports Viewership Chart

The measure on that chart is “average monthly unique viewers” for 2017.

(Also, as a side note, they chopped the market up into Twitch 54%, YouTube 22%, and everybody else making up 24%)

Blizzard likes that chart because Heroes of the Storm gets a mention, and it is the only place it is likely to get one.  StarCraft II is also there.  But Heroes of the Storm gets barely a tenth of LoL’s viewership, and less than a quarter of DOTA 2’s.  More interesting is that it also only gets a quarter of Overwatch’s viewership and less than 20% of Heros of the Storm’s viewers.

StarCraft II, son of the original esports champion StarCraft, seems a bit sad down at the bottom of the list.  But Blizzard does have four games on the list (and WoW isn’t one of them) which added together, had more average viewers than League of Legends.  Not bad.

Also, Hearthstone is Blizzard’s most popular esports game.  Imagine that!  We’ll see if the whole Overwatch league changes that in 2018, but for now that is how it stands.

SuperData Shows PUBG Slipping on PC but Gaining on Consoles

SuperData Research released their numbers for December 2017.

SuperData Research Top 10 – December 2017

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which was in second place on the PC chart for November, slipped down to fifth place.  Still, anybody who can say, “Made more money that WoW this month!” is probably not going to complain too loudly.  And they can always point to the console chart where PUBG made it up to third position via its release on XBox.

That move saw the Chinese trio of Dungeon Fighter Online, Crossfire, and Fantasy Westward Journey Online II return to slots 2, 3, and 4, with League of Legends undisturbed in first place yet again.  Some day it will fall.

Fortnite, having dropped all that co-op game play that was their initial pitch to jump on the Battle Royale bandwagon, jumped to sixth place, above WoW, which held on to seventh position for another month.

World of Tanks moved up to eighth, while Roblox and Overwatch returned to the bottom list.  Displaced from the PC chart were Destiny 2, Call of Duty: WWII, and Star Wars Battlefront II, which were 6, 8, and 10 on the list last month.

On the console list, as noted, PUBG arrived on XBox and vaulted into third spot, while Fortnite, which came to consoles the month before, held on to eighth position.

And on the mobile chart Pokemon Go made it back onto the list, slotting into ninth, while Candy Crush Saga held on at sixth position.

Other items from the monthly report:

  • Global digital games market saw an incredible holiday quarter, up 19% from 2016.
  • Worldwide digital spending grew 17% in December. Gamers spent almost $10 billion digitally on games across all platforms in December. Growth came primarily from an increase in Premium PC, Console, and Mobile.
  • Destiny 2’s new DLC release, Curse of Osiris, failed to make a significant impact on the game. MAU and digital revenue were generally flat month-over-month.
  • PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds’ success continues and competitors respond. XBox owners waited patiently for PUBG to make its way on console and responded by buying more than 2 million digital units during launch month. Meanwhile, mobile PUBG clones Knives Out and Rules of Survival both have had successful launches.
  • Call of Duty WW2 ended the year on a high note. The new Call of Duty had the best quarter of digital unit sales ever for a console title.
  • Grand Theft Auto V set another record month. GTA V Online broke its previous revenue record back in June 2017, making it the title’s best month to date for its multiplayer segment.
  • Fortnite Battle Royale earned $89 million in December.  Epic Games’ entry into the Battle Royale arena continues to reach new heights on both console and PC, with a close-to-even audience split on both platforms.