Digital game sales total $6.3 billion in January 2016, up 8% year-over-year. All digital game segments see year-over-year growth except social games and pay-to-play MMOs. The month’s fastest growing segments are digital PC (up 33% year-over-year) and digital console (up 30% year-over-year) as players on these platforms shift to purchasing full games digitally.
The market for mobile VR gaming on track to hit $861 million. Samsung (KRX: 005930) will soon expand the mobile VR audience by bundling free Gear VR headsets with preorders of its Galaxy S7 smartphone. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), which already dominates the low-end of mobile VR with Cardboard, wants to move upmarket and is rumored to be working on a Gear VR competitor. The company reportedly has plans for a completely standalone VR headset — no phone or PC required. With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive costing $600 and $800 respectively, mobile is how mainstream consumers will experience VR in the near future.
Supercell seeks to hold its dominance of the mobile market with Clash Royale. In an attempt to diversify its portfolio, Finnish powerhouse publisher Supercell recently released an offshoot of its biggest game. Offering a blend of MOBA game mechanics and collectible card game play, Clash Royale comes at a critical time. Over the past year marketing costs on mobile have continued to increase, and Supercell now faces a growing number of both western and eastern publishers with deep pockets. Given the company’s financial momentum, with Clash of Clans earning an estimated $1.3 billion in 2015, Clash Royale will likely have enough runway to prove itself. The game’s focus on head-to-head battles also make it a potential competitor to current mobile eSports mainstay Vainglory.
The newly-released PC version of Rise of the Tomb Raider surprises at release. As one of Square Enix’s most visible franchises, the Tomb Raider franchise performed in January, receiving both strong industry recognition and benefitting from a seasonal lull of triple A games. Initial sales numbers on digital console for Rise of the Tomb Raider were soft, due to sharing its release date with Fallout 4 and its exclusivity to Xbox One. The game sold almost three times as many units on PC than it did on console during its first month.”
Open world games H1Z1 and Elite: Dangerous develop arena-style spin-offs. Daybreak Game Company (H1Z1) and Frontier (Elite: Dangerous) have repurposed their games’ core mechanics and launched H1Z1: King of the Hill and Elite Dangerous: Arena. Despite steady player bases for each, both games aim to expand their reach by attracting competitive players and eSports audiences who have less of an interest in persistent worlds and in-game economies. H1Z1 continues to enjoy a strong following on Twitch with 11K concurrent viewers on average, watching the game for a total of 7.9 million hours in January.
Add-on content drives 88% of FIFA 16’s digital console revenues in January. Electronic Arts’ (NASDAQ: EA) game remains near the top of the console charts thanks to strong sales of FIFA Ultimate Team card packs. FIFA 16 earns a greater share of digital revenue from additional content than any other console game in the top five.