Digital’s steady growth to take over the gaming world marched on in July.
Mobile games and Steam, along with other PC digital distributors, pushed digital-game revenues to $1.033 billion in July, according to market-intelligence firm SuperData Research. While that is a huge number, is is roughly equivalent to what Americans alone spend on just new physical games at U.S. retailers. This represents a 12 percent year-over-year increase as people continue to feel more comfortable spending money on software that doesn’t come in a physical package or from a store in a shopping center.
“The biggest growth drivers in July were mobile and PC, which combined accounted for about 60 percent of the total digital games market,” SuperData chief executive officer Joost van Dreunen said.
Console and social games made up the other 40 percent.
The SuperData researcher went on to note that we are beginning to reach a saturation point for mobile, which has had a meteoric rise in terms of the sheer number of players over the last several years. But as the emerging nations have come online in 2014 and 2015, the Earth is no longer adding tens of millions of new gamers every few months. Instead, the previously established players are finding more things to spend money on.
“Despite a stabilization of the total addressable mobile games audience, average monthly spending has been steadily inching up,” said van Dreunen.
The reason behind that increase is likely due to consumers growing more comfortable with digital purchases, but it also has a lot to do with developers figuring out different and interesting ways to sell content. This has led to genres like the digital collectible card games emerging as a “dominant category.”
And exploring new business models to get different kinds of players to spend their cash is something publishers and studios are even doing on the console platforms like Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
“As we reach the high-point in the struggle for platform dominance in the console segment, the last few months have seen increasingly aggressive DLC and free-to-play strategies,” said van Dreunen. “This includes, for instance, the July 28 release of World of Tanks on the Xbox One, which supports cross-platform gameplay.”
World of Tanks is an online multiplayer shooter where two teams take control of classic fighting vehicles from World War II and beyond. It is free-to-play on PC and Xbox 360 as well as Xbox One, and gamers can spend money to speed up the process of upgrading their tanks and unlocking new ones. And this is just the latest free-to-play game to launch on consoles; Sony has released several with its partners on the PlayStation 4.
Finally, digital also demonstrated its importance during the summer months, which is a time when publishers lay off debuting new blockbuster releases. Many people are still playing games, and they are spending their money on downloadable content instead.
“Following the media blitzes at [the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show] and Gamescom, the industry is now gearing up for the holiday season,” said van Dreunen. “Consequently, additional downloadable content dominated over new releases, which were mostly remastered [rereleases] or relatively smaller titles.”