SuperData has just released its digital video game industry revenue data for September 2016, revealing that although revenue is up, what people are willing to pay for is a’changing.
September Digital Video Game Sales
Overall, September proved to be a successful one as the global market reached $6.2 billion—an increase of 5 percent over September 2015. Revenues were dominated by a growing mobile ($3 billion) and free-to-play MMO market that brought in $3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. Mobile game revenue enjoyed a growth of 11 percent over last September, largely due to the success of its number one game for the third month in a row . . . you guessed it, Pokémon GO. Mobile Strike holds its own at number two, followed by Clash Royale.
Pay-to-play MMOs experienced a 12 percent year-over-year growth thanks to a successful August launch of World of Warcraft: Legion. The wildly popular game holds its number two spot on the charts for a second month in a row behind free-to-play online game, League of Legends. Unchanged from August, Crossfire holds the number three spot for PC in September. Despite growth within the MMO genre, overall PC sales decreased six percent to $334.8 million and those in the Social genre dropped four percent to $618.3 million compared to September 2015.
Thanks to its Rise of Iron expansion, Bungie’s Destiny topped the September console charts, followed by newcomer, FIFA 17 and Call of Duty: Black Ops III holding its numerical equivalent. Overall, the global console market fared better than its PC cousins at $493 million, although it suffered a 14 percent decline from the previous year.
The Power of DLC And Expansions
“Destiny highlights the importance of additional content releases for AAA titles,” noted SuperData CEO, Joost van Dreunen in the report, citing Activision-Blizzard as a leader in this strategy. “Since April 2016, Call of Duty: Black Ops’ additional content revenue has never dipped below 80 percent of total revenue.”
Legacy franchises like Call of Duty and Destiny can not only charge a premium upfront price,” van Dreunen added, “but continue to take the lion’s share of console spending for months or even years.” Destiny’s The Rise of Iron expansion skyrocketed the title’s revenue from $7.2 million in August to a whopping $59.1 in September, where it rests comfortably at number one for console games.
Monetization, The Twitch Way
Amazon is changing the way people watch, play and pay for video game programming through Twitch and Twitch Prime. The gaming video content segment has seen significant growth over the past year as Twitch continues to release new features aimed at getting online viewers to spend more while watching others play games. One such method of monetization includes Stream+, a virtual currency that viewers can use to bet in real-time during eSports events.
In addition to Twitch Prime, which offers significant benefits to Amazon Prime subscribers, users can now acquire a virtual currency called “bits” by watching ads or paying directly. “While this feature is new to Twitch,” van Dreunen commented, “Chinese streaming platforms like Douyu have already successfully monetized it [and] viewers frequently gift hundreds of dollars’ worth of emotes in a few minutes.” With Twitch getting a 30 to 40 percent cut of all revenue donated in this way, SuperData estimates that total donation revenue for gaming video content could exceed $1 billion worldwide by the end of 2017.