The US digital console market grew 16 per cent year-on-year in December 2016, compared with a 16 per cent drop year-on-year at US retail during the same period. That's according to the latest report from data research firm SuperData.
December was the worst month in two decades for the US console retail market, despite Q4 as a whole becoming a record sales period for the US in which total revenue hit a combined $1bn for the first time. However, most of this growth can be attributed to a 21 per cent jump in total full-game download units as opposed to customers going out and buying physical boxed units.
It's not just the US that's showing strong digital growth, either, as the total digital market grew nine per cent globally last December as well. Mobile downloads showed the highest amount of growth, increasing 11 per cent year-on-year to its highest point ever, and free-to-play games also rose seven per cent year on year off the back of titles such as League of Legends, Crossfire and Dungeon Fighter Online.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was the top grossing digital title for December last year, but SuperData notes that it continues to underperform compared to previous Call of Duty releases. Digital sales on both console and PC were down 23 per cent compared to Black Ops III's sales in December 2015, and it sold just six per cent more units than 2014's Advanced Warfare. That said, Infinite Warfare did see a significant rise in average selling price as a result of its Deluxe edition, which helped offset its year-on-year decline.
Behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the other top grossing games of December 2016 were (in order) Battlefield 1, FIFA 17, Grand Theft Auto V, Final Fantasy XV, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, NBA 2K17, Star Wars Battlefront, Madden NFL 17 and Watch Dogs 2.
On PC, the highest grossing digital game was League of Legends, while Clash Royale climbed to the top of the mobile charts. Pokémon Go was the fourth highest-grossing mobile title in December 2016, coming in behind Monster Strike and Clash of Clans.