US digital games market: April 2013
April saw the digital games market contract by almost 5% month-over-month, reaching $832 million in total sales across all categories. As we reach the end of the console cycle, and the various next gen contenders are made public, overall games sales are slowing down. Much less affected by the console life cycle, downloadable content on the PC was this month’s exception, and grew almost 9% to $136 million month-over-month.
Suffering a smaller month-over-month loss, the social games category continued to shrink and lost an estimated 2.7 million monthly active users. ARPPU regained some momentum, climbing back above $33 across the various social game genres, for a total of $120 million in revenues for the month. King’s Candy Crush Saga earned its place among the top earners on Facebook and claimed 66 million daily active users.
Free-to-play MMOs show healthy growth as its audience base grew to a little under 46 million free-to-play gamers in the US. However, a drop in ARPPU had a negative effect on the category’s month-over-month earnings. We expect innovative titles like Infinite Crisis (Warner Bros/Turbine), a MOBA based on the DC Comics universe, and Gundog: Animal World War (OGPlanet) to drive excitement and growth of the F2P MMO market.
The overall subscription MMO market in the US saw a decline of more than 896,000 subscribers in the past three months. An increase in spending on in-game purchases offsets this downward trend, leaving overall revenues stable at $82 million in April. Consistent with the overall market’s decline, category leader World of Warcraft (Activision/Blizzard) reported a (worldwide) loss of 1.3 million subscribers in Q1.
Spending on mobile showed a slight decline as the average conversion rate cooled down following six months of continued growth. Average revenue per paying user was up, however, and broke the $12 barrier for the first time. Marvel: War of Heroes (Mobage) broke into the top 3 this month, replacing EA’s Simpsons: Tapped Out as predicted. King’s Candy Crush Saga proved to be the only contender capable of displacing behemoth Clash of Clans (Supercell). Whether the latter is going to quietly leave, however, an entirely different matter.
Downloadable (PC + console)
The DLC segment contracted in April, dropping to $291 million in total spending. Consumer interest has waned in anticipation of the next console generation. An erosion of conversion rates for DLC console to 7% depressed overall revenues in April. The release of three trailers for Grand Theft Auto: V (TakeTwo Interactive), which is slated for release on September 17th this year, will likely reinvigorate overall console sales and, by extension, DLC sales.
Total Digital Games Market Overview
In an effort to help create greater transparency in the digital games space, SuperData provides a high-level overview of the U.S. digital games market every month. Our methodology builds on the digital point-of-sale data from over two million unique paying online gamers, collected directly from publishers and developers. For more information on our data and research, please visit our methodology section. For more information on our awesome games research, take a look at the Market Data section, or shoot us a line!
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