Emerging Technology Is Redefining Grocery Shopping

Space age technology isn’t just for gadgets and games—it’s changing the way consumers perform everyday tasks like grocery shopping.

Retailers, credit card processors and manufacturers are answering consumers’ call for work-life balance by using technology to raise the bar for convenience.

Stay-At-Home Shopping

In many cases, consumers don’t need to leave the house at all. Thanks to e-commerce, anyone with a computer or mobile phone can order groceries 24/7. A 2015 study by Nielsen found that a quarter of online respondents ordered grocery products online, and 55 percent were willing to do their grocery shopping online in the future.

Remembering when to order can be easy, too, with the help of IoT. Some connected refrigerators allow consumers to share grocery lists, set reminders for expired foods and even order directly from the built-in interface.

There will be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner, and the IoT market will be worth $151 billion.

Ordering through Amazon Echo eliminates the interface altogether. The retail giant, in particular, is investing in convenience by allowing consumers to order products at the touch of a button or the sound of their voice. Amazon Dash Wands and buttons can be placed anywhere in the home and pressed to automatically re-order anything from toilet paper to milk.

Since acquiring Whole Foods in August, Amazon has been cutting prices and offering same-day delivery in some areas. In a letter to investors Wednesday, financial services firm Credit Suisse raised its price target for Amazon to the second highest on Wall Street.

“The product development perspective is that while most of the headlines around the Whole Foods acquisition have been about price cuts, we believe the real path for Amazon to create lasting shareholder value is through fulfillment and delivery via Prime Now,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju. “Hence, while price cuts capture the headlines, we submit that Amazon will wage war with its competitors with service instead.”

Grocery Shopping To Go

For those who do venture outdoors, retailers are working to make the process as convenient as possible.

Amazon Go is an experimental store in Seattle that allows customers to walk in and out without ever having to stand in a check-out line. Using the Amazon Go app, the store recognizes when a customer has arrived and tracks the items they take. When the customer finishes their grocery shopping and leaves, those items are then charged to their accounts.

Cashless payments offer another way to speed up the check-out process, turning a user’s smartphone into a wallet. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that by 2019, there will be over a billion global mobile proximity payment users and that 85 percent of transactions will be near field communication (NFC)-based.

Before the consumer makes it to the check-out line—or bypasses it altogether—retailers want to encourage discovery and impulse buys.

Beacons are wireless devices that track and respond to apps or items within their vicinity, such as a person’s smartphone. Many retailers such as Walmart, Target and Home Depot use beacons to recognize when a customer enters the store and push special offers on their smartphone.

Retailers have clear incentives to adopt new technologies. After all—if it’s easier to shop, it’s easier to spend.

Oculus Connect 4 Places Emphasis On Social Interaction

Oculus Connect 4 (OC4) unveiled new hardware, software and development features—all with the message that if VR is to be accepted by the masses, it has to be a social experience.

Building A VR Community

Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook Venues—an app that allows users to hang out at concerts and other events. Venues will be a direct competitor to the Microsoft-owned AltSpaceVR, and what it lacks in an established community, it could make up for with Facebook connectivity and livestreaming. For example, two friends can host a Facebook Live session from a red carpet movie premiere.

Oculus is taking a cue from the gaming community with friend notifications that tell users when someone is using VR, allowing them to tune in. Users can also stream their VR gameplay over Facebook Live and see real-time comments as they play inside the headset.

Zuckerberg also wants to change public perception about what VR can be used for, calling 2018 “The year of infinite possibilities.”

“It’s not about escaping reality.” Zuckerberg said. “It’s about making it better,”

Pre-recorded videos illustrated how workflows are managed, how friends can hang out and how connecting Oculus Medium with Facebook Spaces can bring user creations into social media feeds and VR sessions.

Using the apps Oculus Medium and Quill, users can not only create art but step inside it through VR.

Social tie-ins are pretty neat, but they may not solve the adoption problem plaguing virtual reality. It’s a chicken-or-egg scenario: social may attract more users, but without an established community, interest may soon fade.

“As long as players can choose how social they want to be, social tie-ins certainly can’t hurt,” Stephanie Llamas, vice president of research and strategy at SuperData told AListDaily. “But right now it can be difficult for players to use them, since the install base is still lacking. I wouldn’t say VR needs it now, but as the user base grows, it would benefit in the same ways other platforms like mobile gaming have.”

Putting Oculus To Work

Oculus launched a new bundle called Oculus for Business that introduces the technology to consumers in a setting outside of their living rooms. The bundle includes a Rift headset, Oculus Touch controllers, three sensors and three facial interfaces (removable inserts so employees share ideas instead of germs).

“Businesses of all types can use Rift to boost productivity, accelerate trainings and present the otherwise impossible to their employees and customers across industries like tourism, education, medical, construction, manufacturing, automotive and retail.” Oculus wrote on its official blog.

Customers can build their own Audi vehicles at the dealership, share files at work through Cisco Spark VR or receive employee training.

Finding The “Sweet Spot”

A major hurdle for many first-time VR users is the price point. While low-cost headsets are available, mobile VR lacks the processing power and interactivity of VR powered by a desktop computer. According to SuperData, the cheapest option—Google Cardboard—is predicted to ship the most units compared to all other VR devices this year, at over 59 million.

To find the “sweet spot” between price and power, Zuckerberg announced the Oculus Go—a $199 self-contained headset that does not require a mobile phone or PC to operate. The device is wireless and has built in speakers, with the idea that Oculus Go can be easily set-up or shared with others.

The lower price point and ease of use may encourage first-time or casual users to finally try VR.

SuperData predicts that VR revenue will exceed $2.2 billion in 2017 and $28.5 billion by 2020.

‘Covet Fashion’ And The Zoe Report Box Of Style Gamify Ecommerce

Mobile app Covet Fashion has partnered with The Zoe Report Box of Style to share a love of fashion across its users and funnel that love into real-life purchases.

Launched in 2013, CrowdStar’s grown-up dress-up game is targeted to adult women with an eye for the latest styles. Covet Fashion allows users to create outfits and enter their wardrobe choices into contests that are judged by the app community. But unlike dress-up games designed for young girls, CrowdStar’s app features ecommerce.

Covet Fashion shopping
Ecommerce within the Covet Fashion app. Source: CrowdStar

Covet Fashion acts as each user’s dream closet,” Mark Van Ryswyk, SVP of studio management at CrowdStar told AListDaily. “Through the platform, users are able to discover and explore different fashion brands while flexing their creativity in daily style challenges. If a user loves a piece so much that they have to own it in real life, Covet Fashion links out directly to ecommerce.”

The Zoe Report Box of Style is a quarterly subscription box curated by American fashion designer Rachel Zoe. Covet Fashion users have been given an exclusive code for $20 off the Fall 2017 Box of Style—normally priced at $99.99 a quarter—as well as in-app style challenges.

Throughout the month of October, the app’s community will have access to digitally rendered items from The Zoe Report’s Fall 2017 Box of Style—the Gigi New York Convertible Clutch and La Soula Two-Diamond Ring Set.

“The Rachel Zoe brand has been part of the Covet Fashion app since launch, that’s why we couldn’t be more excited to expand our partnership by integrating the Fall 2017 Box of Style,” said Van Ryswyk. “There are a lot of synergies between The Zoe Report and Covet Fashion in terms of audience, content creation and fashion-focused messaging. Together, we thought it would be a great initiative with the goal of bringing awareness to Box of Style while introducing their subscribers to Covet Fashion.”

Both The Zoe Report and Covet Fashion will be cross-promoting the partnership through in-game messages, direct emails and social media posts.

More than 175 brands have partnered with Covet Fashion to have their fashions appear as virtual wardrobe options, which in turn can be purchased for real-life wear through an ecommerce portal. The brand’s website shows that Covet Fashion has over three million unique monthly users who spend an average of 30 minutes per day in the app.

Meanwhile, free-to-play mobile titles like Covet Fashion are driving digital revenue growth in the US, according to SuperData. Covet Fashion uses the popular “freemium” model, where users have the option to purchase virtual currency—in this case, diamonds. Covet Fashion users can trade diamonds for new items of clothing or accessories to dress their virtual models in.

The fashion industry has explored new methods of discovery in recent years, from augmented reality Snapchat filters to virtual reality runway shows and even recruiting video game models. AI-powered tools like Pinterest Lens and Google Lens can also turn discovery into purchases.

Fashion is a $2.4 trillion industry, but it is not immune to the effects of geopolitical and economic instability and a “buy now” culture, according to the McKinsey & Company’s 2017 State of Fashion report. The consulting firm found that 29 percent of fashion executives see digitization and ecommerce as the biggest opportunities of the year and predicts that ecommerce luxury fashion sales will increase fourfold by the year 2020.

ANA: Marketers Need To Step Their Game Up To Fight Lack Of Growth

“Pardon my Brooklyn-ese, but growth sucks,” Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, said in his keynote address for the Masters of Marketing conference on Thursday.

More than half of the 2016 Fortune 500 list posted shrinking revenues this year, he claimed, and poor leadership by CMOs is to blame, Liodice added. After praising brands such as NASCAR and Oreo for their marketing strategies, the speaker turned on the rest of the marketers in the audience.

“It boils down to a lack of effective marketer leadership,” said Liodice. “As leaders, we, as an industry, have refused to make the tough calls—calls that would take us out of the cesspool of suboptimum growth. For example, we as leaders should not accept this byzantine, non-transparent, super-complex digital media supply chain. No one can understand it.”

Liodice isn’t the first to complain about the opacity of digital media buying: the IAB announced substantive efforts to simplify mobile ad verification earlier this week.

“These depressing patterns are happening even with continued growth in media spending,” said Liodice. “Yet we keep feeding the beast by pouring incredible sums of money into this unproductive, unmanageable abyss. Remarkably, we keep doing so even though we know that only 25 percent of every digital dollar reaches the consumer.”

To solve this crisis, as well as a talent crisis the ANA describes as “looming,” Liodice urged the marketers in attendance and CMOs in general to join his organization’s latest initiative, the Masters Circle. He put forward a 12-step program, which includes initiatives such as “Gender Equality,” “Brand Safety and Ad Fraud” and “Advocacy and Self-Regulation.”

“CMOs can no longer let others do the heavy lifting,” Liodice concluded. “It is time for chief marketing officers to seize ownership of the industry’s growth agenda.”

Closing Pandora’s Box: IAB Tech Lab To Standardize Mobile Ad Verification

Working with brands like Google, Pandora, Nielsen and comScore, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced the limited release of its effort to reduce the bloat of mobile ad verification services.

The IAB Open Measurement Working Group describes the problem on its website, asserting that because different advertisers depend on different verification service providers for their mobile ads, app publishers are forced to integrate multiple code libraries (SDKs) in their products.

This, according to the IAB, is a problem for everybody:

  • Ensuring compatibility between different SDKs slows down app development and updates, making app publishers less productive and user experience worse.
  • Multiple sources of data can create disputes between partners over revenue.
  • Ad buyers and sellers are limited in their choices based on their verification SDK choices.
  • Fragmentation in collection causes difficulties in gathering reliable data at scale.
  • Specific verification SDK requirements can delay business deals by weeks or months while developers integrate new software.

All of these complications create an environment where everyone suffers—users from less stable, more bloated apps, developers from hours of busy work keeping up to date with every third-party verification SDK and advertisers from system incompatibilities and inconsistent data.

The IAB’s tech lab hopes to solve these problems in one fell swoop with its Open Measurement SDK, a standardized measurement and verification tool it hopes will be integrated into every mobile app. So far the SDK provides only viewability data, but as Pandora announced in a blog post, the group is working to add more measurement capabilities in the future.

Only time will tell if this standardization ends up closer to Nielsen’s efforts than Esperanto, but the size and stature of the brands behind the project lends it promise. Version 1.0 of the SDK is slated to release this year.

LottoGopher Wants To Digitize Lotteries With William Shatner

If you have plans of testing Lady Luck and winning the lottery in your lifetime, say no more to the corner store because you might be banking cash straight from your computer.

LottoGopher, an online messenger service that allows consumers to order and manage state lottery tickets online, is looking to disrupt the $70 billion US lottery market with a practical service that provides a digital solution to a pivotal point—eliminating what could sometimes be a painful process purchasing lottery tickets.

James Morel, president and CEO of LottoGopher, told AListDaily that it was to time to alleviate the consumer journey with a zero-effort, streamlined method.

“We wanted to make the experience fun and without hassle. It’s the modern way of doing things,” Morel said. “We’re filling out the lottery space where people don’t want to deal with the difficulty. We’re a nimble tech firm, so we’re also filling a space that the state lotteries are maybe too slow to operate and take on.”

Similar to the systems set-up in Europe, LottoGopher eradicates the paperwork and presents a digital dashboard set-up that carries your purchases, winnings, winning numbers and potential strategies. It’s designed to distinguish ever misplacing paper tickets, remove travel and introduce new areas such as public pools, automated private groups crafted to appeal to office pools and gifting via email.

LottoGopher is currently only available for California residents for jackpot games like Powerball, Mega Millions, SuperLotto Plus for a $12-per month, or $99-per year membership. The public company has plans of expanding to over 20 states over the next year.

To help them scale, they signed William Shatner as their company spokesperson to potentially provide the Midas touch.

“LottoGopher is a brand new and brilliant idea using the inventions of today,” Shatner told AListDaily. “It’s a very popular activity to buy a lottery ticket with hopes of instantaneous riches—everyone is prone to gambling. Everyone knows it’s a gamble, but they’re willing to gamble on the esoteric fact that they might win millions.”

Shatner says he was specifically intrigued by the brand because he deemed it as a social-first company of the future. It also aligned with his personal business plan—Shatner’s one-year deal includes company assets that extend in perpetuity.

“LottoGopher is something that should take the country by storm. It’s revolutionary,” Shatner said. “I don’t know whether there is ever a right time—as if it were a slot and you’re coming out of it like a greyhound. When the opportunity is there, you either grasp it or you don’t. I’d rather explore what is happening.”

Shatner says LottoGopher is in the same position to bloom as Priceline, a brand he famously helped skyrocket as a spokesperson at the turn of the millennium, because he believes it really works.

“You can be idly thinking ‘let’s take a gamble with these numbers that I’ve got in my mind right now.’ It’s instantaneous,” Shatner said. “It’s an idea that should be popular the same way Uber and Netflix became popular overnight. These are disruptive industries taking what was there before, and changing it.”

Morel is making Shatner a pivotal part of his brand’s marketing strategy, which includes a TV commercial, paid media on digital and social channels, a small-scale influencer campaign as well as radio commercials running in small-to-mid markets in California.

Demographics for lottery buyers range across a wide variety and mostly mirrors the demographic of the state, so Morel had to find someone who appealed and spoke to Gen X/Z, millennials and baby boomers all the way to octogenarians. Shatner will also be serving as a chaperone guiding the entire LottoGopher digital experience and describing its services online with his legendary voice.

“Mr. Shatner was literally first on our wish list for a spokesperson,” Morel says. “He brings certain credibility to us on the public market side because he’s known as a good stock picker. He has such an interesting career and he’s so many things to people of all ages and backgrounds. He’s very funny, all-around talented and a smart guy with crossover appeal who speaks well to the product in a way where people can understand it. I’m not saying Shatner drove Priceline’s stock prices, but you do associate him with the brand as the Priceline Negotiator. He’s very legendary in marketing and public stock stories.”

The Los Angeles-based brand is also backed by board of director Kevin Harrington, formerly a Shark Tank judge and inventor of the infomercial, who joined the start-up because of its “massive potential.”

“Kevin has seen, built and sold many businesses. He can say, ‘hey, this is a great company and let me tell you why.’ People buy into that,” Morel said. “We work hand-in-hand on many of our marketing initiatives. When you’re communicating a message, you need to have different voices. He’s the mechanic of our benefits.”

Before migrating to other states, LottoGopher first needs to hit the winning numbers with consumers in California, which has four drawing dates a week across 22,000 retailers where lottery products are sold. Morel says there are specific state laws that need to be analyzed in order to structure the service properly and scale accordingly. As a third-party operator, there is no licensing required from the state, and the state does not endorse LottoGopher either.

“I guess you can ask that to many branches of government—‘why don’t you just put it online?’” he says. “The way that their systems are set up right now is what they’re comfortable with. There hasn’t been a migration over to digital. We’re trying to bridge the gap. People want a digital experience. For some reason, state lotteries really have not made that move.”

Digitizing the lottery system has been discussed at large since the late ‘90s, and just Illinois, Michigan and Georgia have done it to date. There is a market to tap into—57 percent of the adult population purchased lottery tickets last year, Morel says.

In the meantime, his team’s goal is to meet cost-per-acquisition goals and lifetime-value goals. Once they have those two divisions gelling, then they’ll expand.

“You can’t play guessing games in multiple jurisdictions until you’re solid in the first one. In any new venture, your marketing mix is not optimized—you have to iterate and tailor channels. We’re going to take our marketing with a silo approach and factor demographics and psychographics. The marketing message should appeal, saying, ‘we provide this.’” said Morel. “We’ll also be looking at creative and what the messaging is when ads are served to particular groups of people so the journey resonates with them. Is it the fantasy of buying a mansion? Or the desire to quit your job? Or do you love to play family birthdays? There are different motivations for everyone.”

Disney Digital Network’s Strategy Is Designed Around Stories

Andrew Sugerman, EVP, Publishing and Digital Media, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media

With the launch of the Disney Digital Network, the global conglomerate is giving audiences a steady dose of wholesome entertainment—to the tune of 6,000 pieces of content a month.

Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of publishing and digital media for Disney consumer products and interactive media, joined AListDaily to discuss a new age for the house of mouse. Digital content reaches millennials and Gen Z but above all else, he said, the brand’s focus is on what it does best—tell stories.

“Storytelling is literally in our DNA,” Sugerman said. “It’s where we start and finish each day at Disney. With Disney Digital Network, we have the opportunity to both extend The Walt Disney Company’s stories in new ways, but to also share them every day through digital platforms. When we look at how best to create new narratives around our library of timeless stories we think about reaching today’s audiences on the platforms where they are—that’s on mobile, that’s on social and that’s ‘in-feed.’”

Not every digital platform is created equal, Sugerman explained, adding that the Disney Digital Network listens to viewers about what to watch, and where.

“We consider each platform’s capabilities—what works well on one platform may not resonate on others. We also think about which formats work best to tell each type of story—short-form videos, Boomerangs, gifs and more. Most importantly, in order to reach a digital-first audience, we have to make our content relevant every day and we achieve this by tying Disney stories to current trends through our highly agile and responsive social editorial newsroom.”

Disney has always fostered new talent through its TV shows and films. Now in the digital era, the brand utilizes influencers who are already celebrities in their own right.

“One key component of Disney Digital Network is our portfolio of Maker creators, who are digital and social media creators and influencers,” said Sugerman. “In working with this new generation of digital storytellers, we chose a ‘quality-versus-quantity’ approach where we only work with a small set of creators whose creativity and areas of interest align with our editorial properties (including Oh My Disney, Babble and Polaris), align with our brand and brand safety guidelines, and have deep and meaningful relationships with their audience.”

Even the new Mouseketeers got their start as Maker creators, said Sugerman, but weren’t chosen according to online popularity.

“These creators were chosen for their genuine abilities and talent as choreographers, singers, actors and performers—although they had varying levels of social followers,” he said. “In partnership with other influencers in our network, we’re helping this new talent to grow their following while bringing their skills and capabilities to Disney. They created the majority of the content for the recently launched Club Mickey Mouse because we wanted the content to feel right and familiar for the audience we’re targeting—the Gen Z audience, also known as the creator generation.”

Walt Disney was all about using the latest technology to entertain audiences from the first full-length animated film to animatronics in the parks. The Walt Disney Company even filed a patent for a projected augmented reality system. Sugerman says that the company is driven by innovation, but not for innovations’ sake.

“As storytellers, we continue to evolve with our audience in how and where they consume content and the teams across Disney continue to innovate the art of storytelling by leveraging new technologies, new content formats and new platforms to deliver compelling content experiences,” he explained. “We’re always experimenting with new technology and looking at ways we can partner up to bring our stories, content and brands to new platforms and technology.”

“Whether it be embedding content experiences in messaging platforms, leveraging AR and VR to deepen engagement or bringing storytelling to life through voice interaction on intelligent personal assistants—there are so many opportunities we could pursue, but it’s important for us to focus on what works best for us as a brand, and most importantly, what works for our stories. We only want to pursue the technology and platforms that are additive to storytelling and do not get in the way of the story.”

ESL: “Mobile Will Absolutely Be A Big Part Of The Future Of Esports”

Once the awkward kid brother of competitive platforms like console and PC, mobile is building a reputation for itself in the esports circuit. Following the inaugural Mobile Masters New York event in June, Amazon is taking the show on the road to Las Vegas in October. Mobile Masters Las Vegas (MMLV) will take place on October 14-15 at the Millennial Esports Arena at Neonopolis.

Organized by Amazon in partnership with ESL and Esports Productions, the invitational tournament pits professional esports players against each other in popular mobile games for a share of an $80,000 prize pool.

“The growth of competitive gaming has been very exciting and we at ESL have had the privilege to be at the forefront of the rise of esports,” Sean Charles, senior vice president of publisher and developer relations at ESL, told AListDaily. “I think mobile gaming will absolutely be a big part of the future of competitive gaming. As more complex and strategy-intensive titles enter the mobile platform that fully exploit the ever-improving mobile device hardware and graphic engines, mobile games will continue to attract an increasing number of both casual and hardcore gamers.”

Mobile Masters Las Vegas will include pro teams Team SoloMid, Fnatic, SK Gaming, Echo Fox, Imperials, Immortals, ACE and more. They will be competing in mobile titles Vainglory, Critical Ops, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars and World of Tanks Blitz.

Mobile esports streams look much like any other—young competitors in matching jerseys sit in a row, each wearing headphones and a look of determination. They may be holding smartphones and tablets, but the competition is fierce and the pressure is on.

“While there are many similarities on the production side, mobile brings many nuances that distinguish the genre from console or PC competition,” said Charles. “Mobile gamers can play seated or standing in any position they feel comfortable in, and many times prefer to play on their own devices.”

Charles added that mobile brings a level of accessibility that builds community among the crowd, itself.

“An amazing and unique aspect of mobile gaming is that since everyone has a mobile device in their pockets, every event essentially becomes a LAN (local area network) party where fans of the game can meet new players and play together,” he said.

MMLV is free to attend and the Millennial Esports Arena holds 500 people, so the event should draw a crowd both in person and through livestreams. Fans may be slightly different than those at “traditional” game competitions, however.

“We’ve noticed that mobile esports have similar demographic trends as console or PC crowds, but tend to skew toward the younger crowd,” said Charles. “It’s very common to see a strong presence of high school or university students as well as parents in the audience.”

Random attendees at the event will be chosen to receive prizes, but Charles said it’s all about the experience, itself.

“The best esports tournaments are a celebration of community where fans, players, artists and personalities around the world all come together and partake in an incredible experience.”

Target, Pinterest Partner On Visual Search Technology At #AWNewYork

A picture is worth a thousand searches, according to Target and Pinterest in a joint keynote at Advertising Week today, where they unveiled their partnership on a powerful piece of visual search technology.

Pinterest’s image discovery platform, called Lens, has been available since February, but their partnership with Target will allow users to act more quickly on their impulses.

“Snap a picture of something that inspires you, and get a curated list of everything at Target.com that matches,” explained Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Target.

The technology, which is based on Pinterest’s Taste Graph categorization platform, uses computer vision to assign attributes to photographed products and displays products with matching or similar features.

Gomez stated that the partnership will allow Target to reach consumers even earlier in the purchase funnel, citing that 97 percent of product queries on Pinterest lack any mention of a brand.

Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s president, lamented the recent hardships of physical retailers, claiming that the growth of e-commerce has diminished the fun of the shopping experience. Beyond just bringing back the magic of discovery, Kendall asserted that Lens-based visual search tools will only grow in importance.

“Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text,” he said. “Visual input and visual output . . . it’s the future.”

When asked about further plans for the partnership, Kendall said he’d like Pinterest’s platform to influence Target’s product development based on trends among its users.

Also in attendance at the keynote: the real Bullseye and a host of plush doppelgangers.


“With change comes opportunity,” Gomez said. “How do we shorten the distance between inspiration and purchase?”

August Digital Game Sales Hit $7.9B; ‘Hearthstone’ Has Best Month Ever

The worldwide digital games market rose 11 percent year-over-year in August to $7.9 billion, according to SuperData Research’s monthly report. Console and mobile grew 11 percent and 13 percent, respectively. For the year, digital game sales are dominated by mobile titles for a total of $46.3 billion so far, followed by free-to-play MMOs.

At 28 percent, free-to-play MMOs continued to experience the most growth in terms of genre last month, driven by more publishers and developers adopting the popular business model. The genre has earned over $4.3 billion to date, compared to $4.2 billion at the same time last year.

The number one games across PC, console and mobile remained unchanged from July with League of LegendsGrand Theft Auto V and Honour of Kings reigning supreme.

Playerunknown Is Now Widely Known

Despite still being in Steam Early Access, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) continues to dominate PC digital game sales worldwide. PUBG is the number one premium PC game for the third month in a row, bringing total life-to-date sales close to nine million units through August. Overall, PUBG rose one spot from number six in July to number five in August 2017 for PC revenue.

“Streaming was a big part of the initial success of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG),” Carter Rogers, senior analyst at SuperData Research told AListDaily. “Bluehole likely did not have a substantial advertising budget at launch but did have word of mouth. PUBG stands apart from most online shooters because a large amount of downtime gives streamers plenty of time to chat and interact with fans.”

Mad For Madden

Madden NFL 18 sold over 220,000 digital units at launch, an increase over last year’s launch month for its predecessor. As with Madden NFL 17, this year’s popular football game debuted at number five on the console charts. SuperData estimates modest additional content growth on the back of new in-game DLC packs available this year.

‘Free’ Pays Big

Despite the name, free-to-play is driving digital game revenue in the US market. The optional microtransaction business model is proving effective for publishers, especially in the MMO genre. Fantasy Westward Journey Online II, for example, continues to hold its number two spot on the charts in terms of revenue.

Revenue earned from digital free-to-play games in August was more than enough to offset the decline in pay-to-play categories. Premium PC declined in the month of August at 10 percent year-over-year, despite the breakout success of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. To be fair, August 2016 was a hard act to follow for PC digital game sales—last year saw the No Man’s Sky release, World of Warcraft: Legion expansion and Overwatch’s first event and new map.

Hearthstone’s All-Time High

Thanks to its well-received expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft experienced its best month ever—15 percent higher revenue than its previous peak month, which was April of this year.

Back-to-back updates for Overwatch on PC has resulted in a surge of monthly active users for Blizzard as well. The return of the “Summer Games” event recorded its highest MAU yet, SuperData reports.