Outlook for US Digital Games Market: Early 2015

The US digital games market kicked off 2015 with a bang as sales reached an astonishing $1.1 billion, continuing it’s prosperous trend upwards. (SuperData Research)

Top grossing digital January 2015

The $1.1 billion total was achieved as customers frantically purchased all they could afford from the massive digital games sales towards the end of 2014. Easy-access gaming platforms such as Steam only aided in the prosperity of the US digital games market as the platform laid out the industry’s best games for the lowest costs you could find, all in one convenient location.

DLC PC & Console

DLC or downloadable content on PC’s and Consoles added to the digital games market successes as it accounted for $372 million in sales alone (up 18% from January 2013). The widespread adoption of DLC’s could be seen within many AAA titles such as the infamous Assassins Creed Unity but was also implemented in newer releases such as Evolve; although in varying degrees of success.

Rereleasing previous hit titles proved to quench the gaming thirst of avid enthusiasts as Capcom reaped in momentous rewards from releasing their Resident Evil HD Remastered version which came in third overall as the top-selling game download on consoles. The only other games that beat out Resident Evil HD was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which came in second overall top grossing games for DLC PC and Console, and Grand Theft Auto V, which took the number one spot with no surprise. (SuperData Research). SuperData Research obtained these statistics from data obtained on monthly sales of 37 million paying online gamers across digital platforms.

F2P & Subscription-Based Models

Of the F2P, or Free to Play, and subscription-based model games, it came as no surprise to see World of Warcraft topping the charts at the #1 spot with the much anticipated release of their newest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Coming in a close second and third were the popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games: League of Legends and Dota 2 respectively. Although these MOBA games are free to play, the addictive nature of the game as well as the need to showcase your gear drives consumers to purchase alternative “skins” for in-game characters, with some trending upwards of $30 per skin. Daily sales and limited-edition featured products also contributed heavily to the prosperous economy of the free to play model within these games.

Further Statistics

Gaming giant, Electronic Arts reported a staggering $693 million in digital revenues over just their last quarter, blowing all expectations out of the water.

Activision released hyped titles including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, WoW: Warlords of Draenor, and Destiny to complete their arsenal of big releases for 2014. Destiny proved to be extremely anticipated and successful as it boasts a reported 16 million registered users in-game with more content planned for release in the near future.

Take-Two, the creators of Grand Theft Auto V, reported an increase of 64% in net revenue from digital content which equals to approximately $217 million. This includes earnings from virtual currency sales, DLC and online games as well.

Honorary Mention: Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm, Activision/Blizzards newest F2P MOBA currently in beta testing, already totals 9 million players which positions itself as potentially the second or third largest grossing game of its kind at launch. The estimated debut revenue falls between $5-10 million, all from digital content distribution such as alternative skins in-game. It’s worth following Heroes of the Storm closely in the following months to see how the official launch takes place and if the estimated numbers are accurate.

A Final Word

The gaming industry is at an all-time high right now with hit titles coming out left and right, both from AAA developers as well as from Indie developers. With much anticipated launches right around the corner, such as for Heroes of the Storm, gamers will have to worry about their large backlog of games to play and support. With the ongoing success of F2P games, gamers at least won’t have to worry about emptying their wallets to play the next hit title, only having to worry about their time commitment.

If you’re looking to support Indie games in development while also playing this years alternative hits, try taking a look at the newest Indie releases I’ve had the pleasure of spending my time on:

Statistical information obtained from SuperData Research

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