The digital games segment showed a slow start of the year, consistent with overall seasonality, totaling $1.03 billion in January, 2014. Especially digital console and PC saw a decline as the frenzy to buy had subsided, totaling just over $300 million combined. Social games, on the other hand, were off to a good start with an average conversion rate of 2.14% in January, and mobile saw a 7% increase after the holiday season added 7 million new mobile gamers to the market. Finally, free-to-play online games regained ground (+8% month-over-month), as players returned to their MOBAs.
Customization is the new monetization. Across the free-to-play segment, we’re noticing a growing trend toward user-generated content and customization. Titles like <em”>Loadout! (Edge of Reality), Guns and Robots (Masthead Studios) all emphasize the player’s ability to create and upgrade avatars and environment. This is in line with the direction other large publishers like Valve (Team Fortress 2) and Sony Online Entertainment (EverQuest Next: Landmark) have taken.
Racing games looking to go free-to-play. With the announcement of team-based online racing games like The Crew (Ubisoft) and Drive Club (Sony), the next iteration of racing game might be free-to-play. Slightly Mad Studios, compiled of a veteran developers behind some of the major racing titles, announced World of Speed for launch this year. For 2014E, we expect the free-to-play racing category to total $50 million in sales in the United States.
Mobile developers puzzled by flappy game. The explosive rise of Flappy Bird indicates that the mobile ecosystem remains a high-risk environment. The Vietnamese developer managed to earn an alleged $50,000 a day in ad revenues, seemingly without a marketing plan or even a business model. On the upside, this keeps the myth of the mobile millionaire alive. However, it also reiterates how elusive and fickle success in the entertainment business really is, especially after a slew of clones quickly made its way to the top of the charts.
Social gamers are more loyal than you’d think. When Zynga announced the closure YoVille, one of the longest running social games on Facebook with almost 20 million monthly active users at its peak, its remaining players cried out. This ultimately led Big Viking Games, the original creator that initially sold the game to Zynga, to acquire the license and keep it afloat.
Zynga’s renovation is shaping up. The recent change in leadership is starting to bear fruit, as its new slots games Hit It Rich! generated $28,040 in average daily revenues in January, making it one of the top earners in the social casino segment. Its $527 million acquisition of NaturalMotion, known for hit title CSR Racing and its proprietary tool Euphoria, further suggests the company’s willingness to take a chance to turn itself around.
About this monthly release
In an effort to help create greater transparency in the digital games space, SuperData provides a high-level overview of the U.S. market every month. Our methodology builds on digital point-of-sale data collected directly from publishers and developers.
PLEASE NOTE: We continue to build our dataset and improve our ability to read the market. As such all of the numbers presented here are subject to change, and readers are advised to consider additional sources for information. Most recently, we relabeled ‘PC and Console DLC’ to ‘Digital Console and PC’, but the numbers reflect the same segment: full game digital download and add-on downloadable content. For any questions regarding our methodology, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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SuperData is the leading provider of market intelligence on the online, digital and mobile games industry. We collect digital point-of-sale data directly from publishers and developers to give our customers unparalleled monthly insights into the unboxed games market. This allows us to identify key trends, evaluate marketing spend, establish accurate revenue estimates and analyze market changes for popular digital games, including MMOs, first person shooters, MOBAs, casino, virtual worlds, mobile and social games.
SuperData publishes actionable key performance indicators. Using our proprietary panel of over 4 million paying online gamers, we establish monthly benchmarks such as monthly active users, conversion rates, ARPPU and title-level revenue estimates. Customers use our data to evaluate their performance, identify key growth opportunities, assess revenue potential, optimize their efforts, and better understand their audience’s wants and needs. Clients include Activision/Blizzard, EA, Konami, Namco Bandai, Ubisoft, Wargaming.net and major Wall Street firms.
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