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Sony’s surprise hit holds another surprise inside — strong digital sales.

Sony’s March PS4 release Bloodborne managed a sell-through of over a million copies in just 12 days. A good number of its first-month sales were digital: intelligence firm SuperData Research reports that 155,000 units of From Software’s latest were downloaded directly to the console — a nice surprise for the publisher. Chief executive and lead analyst Joost van Dreunen says that customers continue to warm up to digital purchases for games and that demand is increasing. The firm reports that the digital console market increased 20 percent in March over last year, totaling $84 million in sales.

Bloodborne wasn’t the only digital winner in March. Downloads worked for Electronic Arts as well, with the latest Battlefield franchise game, Battlefield: Hardline, selling just under 425,000 copies across all platforms last month.

The overall market for digital games in the U.S. totaled $1.01 billion in March, a 2 percent increase year-over-year.


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Meanwhile, social games are down 10 percent. SuperData says that the market has been falling since its peak in May 2012 as tastes shift toward mobile games.

“Overall, the social games segment totaled $154 million, 42 percent lower compared to May 2012, when the market was at its peak, says van Dreunen. And things are not looking up: Current spending patterns indicate a year-over-year decline of 7 percent in social gaming for 2015.”

During Don Mattrick’s time at Zynga, the social games market dropped 6 percent in size, says van Dreunen. The company’s strongest franchise, FarmVille, dropped more than $9 million in monthly revenues to just over $2 million.

“The social games segment appears to be in a free-fall, dropping almost 10 percent in revenues during that same period. Despite new releases by Kabam, the enthusiasm for social games is waning in favor of games on tablets and smartphones,” he said.

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