Digital game sales are up 5% YoY in April, totaling $6.2B. Digital console again sees the fastest growth of any segment for both revenue (+23% YoY) and audience (+15% YoY). Mobile, free-to-play MMO and digital PC also show YoY growth in revenue and monthly active users as digital full game downloads and free-to-play games take market share from physical games. Social gaming revenue continues to decline (-10% YoY) as casual gamers increasingly shift to mobile devices.
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Clash Royale tops worldwide revenue charts, delivering a blow to Supercell’s competition. Supercell’s newest game earned a whooping $133 million in revenue the past month, beating Clash of Clans to become the highest grossing mobile title worldwide. Supercell now has two games occupying first and second place in worldwide grossing ranks with a combined March revenue of $251 million. Clash Royale firmly solidifies Supercell’s status as the world’s most lucrative mobile gaming company, a significant achievement in an increasingly competitive market. The $32.8 billion mobile market is set to grow 10% between 2016E and 2017E, but higher user-acquisition costs means fiercer competition among top companies. Machine Zone just recently announced plans for “diversification,” shifting their attention to server hosting as a new business segment.
Top Grossing Mobile Games by Revenue, March 2016
|2||Clash of Clans||Supercell|
|3||Game of War: Fire Age||Machine Zone|
|4||Candy Crush Saga||Activision/King|
Black Desert shows niche subscription MMOs still have potential in western markets. Korean publisher Daum Games has already sold over 400,000 copies of the title at $30, $50 and $100 dollar pricing tiers and expects at least one million copies to sell by year’s end. The company also noted that international sales surprisingly far exceeded domestic ones. This year’s $2.3 billion market for pay-to-play MMOs is still just a fraction of free-to-play’s $17.2 billion. However MMOs like Blade and Soul, Lineage I and Aion demonstrate that quality pay-to-play titles beside World of Warcraft still can carve out enough market share to thrive.”
Top Grossing PC DLC Games by Revenue, March 2016
|1||Tom Clancy’s The Division||Ubisoft|
|2||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||Valve|
|3||Starcraft II||Activision Blizzard|
Top Grossing Free-to-play MMO Games by Revenue, February 2016
|1||League of Legends||Tencent|
|3||Dungeon Fighter Online||Nexon|
|4||World of Tanks||Wargaming|
Top Grossing Pay-to-play MMO Games by Revenue, March 2016
|1||World of Warcraft||Activision Blizzard|
|3||Star Wars: The Old Republic||Electronic Arts|
|4||Tera Online||En Masse|
|5||Blade & Soul||NCSoft|
Top Grossing Social Games by Revenue, March 2016
|3||Candy Crush Saga||Activision Blizzard|
|5||Candy Crush Soda Saga||Activision Blizzard|
Sales of The Division skyrocket, seizing the top spot from Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Excitement pushed sales to over $109 million, making Tom Clancy’s The Division the highest grossing digital console title in March, $48 million ahead of runner-up Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Black Ops III’s 17% month-over-month revenue decrease means The Division siphoned off attention and spending from Call of Duty fans. Black Ops III is not the only digital console title to see a significant decrease, Madden NFL fell to 10th place from the top 5 with revenue decreasing 31% month-over-month. NFL postseason excitement has clearly worn off.
Microsoft plans to phase out Xbox 360 as evidence builds for a modified Xbox One. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is making a lot of changes in its competition with Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) Playstation 4. After a 10 and a half year stint, the company announced plans to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles, although existing inventory will still be sold. Additionally, two recent hardware patent filings by Microsoft fuel speculation that Xbox One is due for an upgrade. If true, this fits with Microsoft’s new strategy of abandoning new console releases every five to seven years in favor of incremental upgrades. Xbox-players can expect a lot of changes as the console becomes less of a standalone platform than a piece of connective hardware for all Microsoft-related gaming.
Top Grossing Console Games by Revenue, March 2016
|1||Tom Clancy’s The Division||Ubisoft|
|2||Call of Duty: Black Ops III||Activision|
|3||FIFA 16||Electronic Arts|
|4||Grand Theft Auto V||Take Two|
|5||Fallout 4||Bethesda Softworks|
Virtual reality moves one step closer to widespread acceptance after GameStop and the Microsoft store agree to stock headsets. Starting this June, Sony (NYSE: SNE) will make 500,000 Playstation VR units available for demos at GameStop (NYSE: GME) locations across the country. HTC’s (TPE: 2498) Vive will demo at up to 30 Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) stores by the end of the year in addition to GameStop, including Microsoft’s flagship store in New York. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans either still do not know what virtual reality is or have no interest in the technology. As such, hardware demos in brick and mortar stores will play an essential role in driving virtual reality’s $5.7 billion 2017E market by putting premium gear directly in the hands of consumers.