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The overall digital games market grew 39 percent compared to the same month last year and totaled $960 million. Month-over-month, January earnings are roughly equal to December 2012, according to a report by SuperData Research.
By comparison, a report from NPD Group said that U.S. retail games industry sales were up just 9 percent. But SuperData said it captures all of gaming’s segments, including downloadable content on PC and console, mobile, free-to-play massively multiplayer online games, subscription, and social-network games.
Social games grew just 2.1 percent in January, compared to a year ago. Where last year a top social title could get 50 million to 60 million users, today the top range is around 40 million to 50 million users, down about 20 percent, according to SuperData Research chief executive Joost Van Dreunen.
Free-to-play MMO games saw some shrinkage, with the number of players declining in January to 41.4 million from 44.1 million. Paid MMOs saw revenues increase month-over-month to $86 million, but that is down from $134 million a year ago.
Mobile games got a boost from holiday specials and discounts, cultivating a continued appetite among consumers. The category showed an increase in conversion rate, reaching 5.16 percent across all game genres in terms of the percentage of players who pay for items in free-to-play games.
For the U.S., two of the top three games were card titles, and King.com’s Candy Crush Saga emerged as the top-grossing mobile title, followed by Marvel: War of Heroes and Rage of Bahamut.
Downloadable PC and console games reached $411 million, up from $230 million the year before. Namco Bandai’s Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (pictured at top) rose to the top three and displaced Assassin’s Creed III. That helped the downloadable-content market grow.
SuperData wants to provide more transparency for digital games with a high-level overview of the monthly U.S. games market.