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.
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.