With gaming experiencing robust growth in 2017, estimated to exceed the revenue generated by the global sports sector by 2020, a healthy chunk of this growth has come from digital sales. EA reported earlier this year that digital copies contributed around 36% of its total sales for titles like Star Wars: Battlefront II. A new report from Superdata sheds more light on how well this section of the market is doing.
According to the report, the digital sector grew by 15% worldwide, thanks to strong growth in the PC and mobile space. Each of these platforms contributed 28% and 19% jumps in revenue respectively, with consumers spending $8.5 billion on the aforementioned platforms and console. This was up from $7.4 billion for the same month in 2016.
This significant jump in sales was mostly attributed to the successful launch of Destiny 2 on Battle.Net, and the continued popularity of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, a title which will appear on Xbox One this month. However, the battle royale-style shooter had some competition from the likes of Fortnite, which offers a similar free-to-play multiplayer mode. On mobile, growth was mostly fueled by the stratospheric rise of Honor of Kings.
Most interestingly, counter to what EA believes to be true, the report confirmed that single-player experiences have remained popular. Titles such as Assassin's Creed: Origins, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and South Park: The Fractured but Whole generated $160 million in revenue combined, throwing some cold water on the idea that these experiences might be falling out of favor with consumers.
As for unit sales, SuperData reported that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds sold an additional five million units during the month. On the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey sold 191,000 units in October, crowning it the biggest digital launch for the hybrid console to date. The research firm did note that digital sales continued to lag behind on the console from Nintendo, to that of rival platforms like the PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will launch on December 12 for Xbox One Game Preview, and can be pre-ordered today on the Microsoft store. The developer, PUBG Corp. confirmed that it is aiming to get the title to run at 60fps on the Xbox One X along with 4K-texture support.
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