Another fruitful year in gaming has passed, and SuperData has released one of the more telling retrospective reports on the market in this time period. First, as an overview, the global gaming market generated an impressive $119.6B in revenue for 2018, with the mobile platform pulling in an astounding $63.1B of that total. Comparatively, PC and console gaming contributed $35.7B and $12.7B to that pool, respectively.
The report attributes the 13% growth in the gaming market primarily to the rise of Fortnite, but free-to-play titles, especially of the mobile variety, still dominated the scene by contributing 80% of the digital games revenue. The drastic difference in priorities can be observed between regions in terms of free-to-play vs premium format, with Asia contributing a whopping 62% to the overall share of the former, while North America and Europe preferred the latter with an 80% contribution to the premium games market. In all, there was an 11% year-over-year growth of the digital games sphere.
Fortnite, as is obvious by now, deserves a separate category on its own. Not only did it top the revenue charts with $2.4B, it was ahead of the #2 spot Dungeon Fighter Online by almost a billion dollars. Aside from massively popularizing the battle royale genre with its premium counterpart, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, it also set the trend with the easily monetized “Battle Pass” concept that led to the game’s multiplayer rivals emulating its success later on.
Speaking of the premium game side of the market, the battle royale mechanic is still relentlessly being copied across all genres of games, but who can blame studios when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds held the top spot this year in premium game revenue ahead of industry titans like FIFA 18 and Call of Duty Black Ops 4.
However, credit goes to record-shattering Red Dead Redemption 2 and Monster Hunter: World for making the top 10 list despite not being a part of an annual release franchise. In addition, the former did not release until late 2018, but still strongly impacted the 10% growth of premium games year-over-year with its $516M revenue in Q4 2018 alone.
There’s no telling when the mobile behemoth will ever slow down, especially with Asia’s attachment to its convenience and portability, and neither can we predict the eventual decline of global phenomenon Fortnite and its battle royale ilk. But, if 2018 is any indication, these categories will most likely continue to trend upwards barring any innovative disruptions to the video game industry.
For the complete report and breakdown, check out SuperData’s 2018 Year in Review here.