March 2014 Overview: Digital Games Market Revenue

The gaming industry is a tumultuous, evolving entity in which the average targeted player-base is constantly shifting. Up until recently, the main focus of most publishers and gaming companies were to cater to the casual gaming masses with games such as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.

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Social media and mobile platforms took over the gaming market by storm, leaving behind the core gamer group devoted to hardcore gaming which actually took time to excel at. The digital games market continues to grow everyday totaling $936 million in total sales in March, increasing by 9% year-over-year. The reason for the shift in industry focus to core gamers can be explained through increasing marketing expenses and saturation on these social media and mobile platforms. With exciting new titles such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm being released from large publishers, the traditional gamer can look forward to much more exciting and challenging gameplay in the near future while publishers such as King and Zynga try and repeat their initial successes with the casual masses.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

In one of the more recent successful stories of cross-platform integration, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft recently was announced to be released for iPads across select markets. Before releasing in the US, Blizzard tested Hearthstone in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and broke into the top fifteen titles in all test countries. This kind of game is classified as a “digital collectible card game” and showed both strong adoption as well as retention among gamers. The success of this series can be explained through innovative graphics and features as well as a smidge of nostalgia explained through collecting cards via booster packs much like the days when Pokemon Cards were all the rage. The average revenue obtained per player in Hearthstone converted to be around $27 in the US which is great news for Blizzard. This was not the only good news for Blizzard as their newest MOBA game in development, Heroes of the Storm, looks to take off with a running start with the core-gamer base.

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Heroes of the Storm

For the first time in Blizzards history of gaming, the megalodon gaming company decided to get in on the MOBA action and release a cross-franchise game which resulted in Heroes of the Storm. If you’ve ever wanted to wreak havoc as the ever maleficent Diablo from the hit franchise Diablo, it is now altogether possible in Heroes of the Storm. Combining enthusiasts from Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo, Blizzard is in creation of a game that can potentially appeal to everyone interested in gaming. The game has not been released as many setbacks have caused it to become a much more anticipated game but the beta stage is well underway gaining valuable feedback from it’s early adopters. Heroes of the Storm seems to be a contender to match against popular MOBA’s that have taken over the gaming market such as League of Legends and Dota 2 which have a huge stake in the global $2 billion dollar worldwide market of MOBA games.

A beautiful look at Heroes of the Storm Gameplay

A beautiful look at Heroes of the Storm Gameplay

Zynga, King, and Supercell: Mobile Markets

Zynga’s struggles continue as they recently reported a conversion rate of 1.7%. In an all-in effort to improve their struggles, Zynga is aggressively pursuing a highly monetized version of a social casino market but have yet to gain any significant ground in this field. Across its social casino titles, Zynga earns a mere $0.13 per daily active user which, compared to the $0.17 sported by its closest competitors, doesn’t cut it. King, the developer of the hit game, Candy Crush Saga, showed a 1.2% improvement in overall spending amidst all the controversy. Also, saturation is imminent for King as their period of continuous growth came to a close with it’s mobile audience holding steady in March at 0.3% marginal growth and a 2.1% decline in social players. King’s rival, Supercell (creators of Clash of Clans) recently released a similar but different-enough game called Boom Beach late-March and have managed to gain relevance once again in the mobile industry partly due to the fact that the company smartly drove traffic through cross-promotion from its Clash of Clans player base.

Boom Beach, Supercell's newest game. Very similar to Clash of Clans.

Boom Beach, Supercell’s newest game. Very similar to Clash of Clans.

A Final Look

The gaming industry has come far in relevance since just a couple years ago as more and more platforms are being released to cater to every gamers preference. Casual gamers who don’t have much time to invest have social and mobile games such as Clash of Clans and Candy Crush saga to enjoy while the more hardcore and avid gamer is focused on by titles such as Titanfall, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone. With more and more games and platforms being developed daily, we can only wait and see what happens next in terms of the gaming market relevance. Altogether it seems Blizzard and Supercell are the ones on the right track according to the hype.

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