Digital Gaming’s $61 Billion Year

Digitally downloaded video games have never been bigger than they are right now.

CNBC has shared data collected by gaming intelligence firm SuperData Research showing that the expanding market for mobile gaming and increased popularity of console downloads contributed to make 2015 a record year for digital video game sales worldwide.

The SuperData report states that, between 2014 and 2015, the market for digital games increased 8 percent to reach $61 billion, with console downloads — wherein players use their Sony PS4 or Microsoft Xbox One, for example, to purchase and directly download games in digital form — seeing the biggest jump, rising 34 percent (although, as CNBC points out, the overall category is still comparatively small at $4 billion).

Mobile and tablet games, meanwhile, jumped 10 percent from 2014 to become a $25.1 billion market last year, with the 10 bestselling games in that category, the report shows, accounting for almost one-quarter of that overall total.

“Sales figures point toward a shift in the industry as more consumers have adopted digitally distributed games and free-to-play,” commented SuperData CEO and Founder Joost van Dreunen.

The highest-grossing digital gaming category for 2015 was PC-based games, which SuperData found brought in $32 billion for the year.

The CNBC story provides lists of the top 10 sellers for 2015 in the gaming categories of digital console, digital PC and mobile (via SuperData), with the number one titles (and their grosses) therein being, respectively, Activision’s “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” ($355 million), Tencent/Riot Games’ “League of Legends” ($1.63 billion) and Supercell’s “Clash of Clans” ($1.35 billion).

While digital gaming enjoyed a record 2015, there were some other gaming segments that dipped for the year: Social gaming did so to a nominal degree, while subscription-based titles dropped 4 percent. More significant in that regard is the NPD Group data that CNBC shares, indicating that software sales at brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. continued its downward trend last year, falling 13 percent to $5.3 billion.


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