Black Friday and Cyber Monday have pushed digital spending to a record $4 billion.
According to SuperData, digital spend increased by 14.3 per cent over the same weekend last year, the increased attributed to "deep discounts" offered by digital storefronts like Steam, and the Xbox and PlayStation stores, as well as in-game deals for AAA titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2.
In-game spending – such as cosmetic items, character skins, loot boxes, and other virtual gear – also posted "healthy year-over-year" gains during the holiday sales event. It reportedly made up over 80 per cent of all digital games revenue in the US last year and is expected to make up a similar percentage in 2018, too. Fortnite is thought to have made "a significant impact" in the previously "muted" category of free-to-play console games, tripling that category’s 2017 sales to hit a global revenue of $64 million.
The boost in digital games spending is thought to be attributed to "a growing preference" amongst gamers to purchase their games digitally, with 42 per cent of all gamers reporting that they buy most or all of their games digitally. This compares with just 27 per cent of gamers who prefer traditional physical copies. As PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass continue to expand, this trend is expected to continue as players become accustomed to "Netflix-style" subscription services.
Console revenue also saw a boost, climbing to $1 billion worldwide and up 24.5 percent compared to last year’s sales. Premium PC sales climbed by 18.3 per cent, too, generating $586 million.
"Video games have become a layered experience," said Joost Van Dreunen, MD at SuperData. "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 TakeTwo have managed to incorporate these new avenues into their Q4 releases and the numbers show that audiences have responded in kind."