SuperData has provided its newest report, which covers worldwide digital game sales for March 2016, and Tom Clancy’s The Division from Ubisoft continues to be an unstoppable juggernaut.
Joost van Dreunen, CEO for SuperData, reported that digital game sales for the month of March rose five percent, totaling $6.2 billion. “Digital console again sees the fastest growth of any segment for both revenue (up 23 percent year-over-year) and audience (up 15 percent year-over-year),” he said. “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.” He also noted a slight drop-off in social gaming revenue (down by ten percent) with more casual gamers moving over to mobile.
In regards to top games for the month of March, Clash Royale was the top mobile pick; League of Legends continued to be the go-to title for free-to-play MMO fans; and DoubleDown Casino was still the top social draw.
However, the month clearly belonged to Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division, which dominated at first place for both digital console sales and PC downloadable content. “Excitement pushed sales to over $109 million, making The Division the highest grossing digital console title in March, $48 million ahead of runner-up Call of Duty: Black Ops III,” said van Dreunen. “Black Ops III’s 17 percent month-over-month revenue decrease means The Division siphoned off attention and spending from Call of Duty fans.” Madden NFL 16 also saw a drop-off, though that’s expected since the football season came to an end a couple of months ago.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on Microsoft, who recently announced the discontinuation of the Xbox 360, as van Dreunen believes it will be announcing a more modified Xbox One shortly, possibly at the forthcoming E3 event. “Microsoft is making a lot of changes in its competition with Sony’s PlayStation 4,” he said. “After a ten 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.”
Van Dreunen also touched on the success of Clash Royale on mobile. “Supercell’s newest game earned a whopping $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,” he continued. “The $32.8 billion mobile market is set to grow ten percent between 2016 and 2017, but higher user-acquisition costs mean fiercer competition among top companies.” He also noted Machine Zone’s recent plans for diversification in attempting to open a “new business segment.”
Finally, van Dreunen discussed the potential of VR. Although SuperData recently revised its VR revenue forecast by taking shipping delays into account, but installing 500,000 PlayStation VR units at GameStop locations will get consumers excited for the technology when the device launches in October. The HTC Vive will also be demoed at various Microsoft stores and GameStop locations by year’s end. “As such, hardware demos in brick and mortar stores will play an essential role in driving virtual reality’s $5.7 billion 2017 market by putting premium gear directly in the hands of consumers.”