While retailers have seen some impressive Black Friday numbers over the weekend, there are a number of gamers who opted to make their purchases digitally, as a new report from SuperData suggests that digital game sales have reached an all time high -- even higher than physical releases.
According to the report, a number of consumers checked out digital sales being held by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony over the weekend, as well as other online retailers. As a result, digital spending managed to see a 14.3 percent increase compared to 2017’s numbers, fueled by big game releases like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Premium console revenue managed to reach $1 billion worldwide, a jump up from last year’s sales by 24.5 percent. As for PC game sales, they jumped too, generating $586 million, an 18.3 percent rise from 2017.
Said Joost Van Dreunen, managing director for SuperData, “Video games have become a layered experience. Beyond just a big, loud launch, blockbuster titles today rely on a variety of different consumer touchpoints, including live streaming video, real-life events, digital sales, and crossplay multiplayer gameplay. Large publishers like Activision and Take Two have managed to incorporate these new avenues into their Q4 releases and the numbers show that audiences have responded in kind.”
As for in-game spending, fueled by microtransactions and other purchasable items, they saw a boost, too. “Runaway hits like Fortnite made a significant impact in the previously muted category of free-to-play console games, tripling the segment’s worldwide revenue to $64M compared to the same time period a year ago. In the U.S., in-game spending made up 80.1% of all digital games revenue in 2017, contributing $15.3B to all digital games spending that year, a share that is expected to remain steady in 2018,” the report noted.
And there’s an interesting contrast between those that prefer digital games and those that prefer physical, the report concluded. “The surge in digital games spending also comes from a growing preference among gamers to purchase their games digitally. According to a recent SuperData survey, 42% of gamers buy most or all of their games digitally compared to only 27% of gamers who do so for physical copies. This trend is expected to accelerate in 2019 as consumers begin to gravitate toward Netflix-style subscription services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass that give gamers access to popular on-demand titles on launch day.”
You can read the full report here. Could digital continue to have a huge impact come Black Friday next year? We’ll be keeping an eye on the numbers!