SuperData has released its latest sales numbers for the month of February 2016, and once again, digital game releases continue to be at the forefront.
The report noted an increase of digital game sales by ten percent for the month, totaling $6.2 billion. “Digital console sees the fastest growth of any segment for both revenue (up 34 percent year-over-year) and audience (up 27 percent year-over-year),” said Joost van Dreunen, CEO for SuperData. “Last month had fewer major new releases than the same month last year, leading to a decline of 180,000 in new game sales. Additional content purchases, however, were strong and resulted in a positive revenue figure. Growth for both revenue and monthly active users for mobile continued as the industry moves its focus to emerging markets.”
Call of Duty: Black Ops III continued as the big sales leader, followed by FIFA 16, Grand Theft Auto V, Madden NFL 16 and Fallout 4, which released a new expansion this month. Ubisoft’s recently released Tom Clancy’s The Division should make quite a dent in sales numbers next month.
Meanwhile, Chinese companies are making some big moves, according to van Dreunen. “Chinese companies will scoop up one to two Western publishers a month from here on. The lesson to be drawn from Chinese mining company Shandong Hongda in talks to buy RuneScape developer Jagex for $300 million is that it will happen again.”
The reason being, “China’s industrial firms are aggressively diversifying as the country’s economic growth slows. Western firms like Jagex allow Chinese companies to expand into new industries and regions. While the 15-year-old RuneScape does not have the mindshare it once did, remaining players continue to spend, and the browser-based MMO earned $6.2 million last month.” Van Dreunen also noted the popularity of Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, following the launch of its beta earlier this year.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continues to top PC retail sales, while League of Legends is still the number one free-to-play game, and World of Warcraft still has a huge draw with the pay-to-play audience.
The report also notes that Ubisoft is more than ready to jump into virtual reality, with the release of forthcoming games such as Eagle Flight and Werewolves Within, as well as its recently announced Assassin’s Creed Experience, which should launch alongside the film later this year. “Ubisoft’s strategy contrasts with other major publishers such as Take-Two Interactive, which have been vocal about not devoting substantial resources to the new platform before sustainable consumer demand has been proven,” noted van Dreunen. “This year, we forecast game software on mobile, PC and console to earn a combined $410 million, and expect revenue to jump to $6.9 billion by 2020. Publishers that have not already invested in virtual reality development will likely need to acquire smaller VR-focused studios to enter the fast-growing market.”
On the mobile side, Clash of Clans continued to be the number one game for the month, and van Dreunen noted big things on the horizon for Apple following this week’s announcement of the iPhone SE. “The iPhone SE represents a key strategic asset in catering to markets like China and India, where Android dominates. Currently, Android claims 75 percent of China’s mobile games and 71 percent of the country’s mobile game revenue.
“Android’s share of the Indian market is larger still. Mobile games revenue in India will nearly double from $648 million in 2016 to $1.2 billion by 2018. With the new iPhone SE scheduled to launch in 100 countries by May this year, Apple’s strategy is clearly to cater to a wide, global audience with its devices, and build up its competitive strengths in markets where cheaper smartphone alternatives have so far dominated.”