Despite a 25 per cent dip in revenue over the year, Fortnite was 2019’s most successful game for the second successive year, netting $1.8bn (£1.38bn) revenue across the period.
In a report by Superdata, which focused on “the health of digital games and interactive media market, breakout moments of 2019 and top trends going into 2020”, the analysts said the 25 per cent dip from the $2.4bn (£1.84bn) generated in 2018 intimated the free-to-play game’s revenues were stabilising after its incredible rise to popularity.
The report also revealed that free-to-play games accounted for four out of every five dollars spent on digital games in 2019 – that’s 80 per cent of all digital games revenue – and platform exclusivity deals “distributed top gaming video content creators”. XR revenue – which includes VR and AR technology – also saw a boost, climbing 26 per cent to $6.3 billion (£4.8bn) in 2019, and the games and interactive media industry itself grew 4 per cent on last year “with few market movers”.
Once again, sales in digital games increased, generating $120.1bn (£91.8bn), up 3 per cent year-over-year (YoY). $64.4 billion (£49.2bn) was spent on mobile titles, $29.6 billion (£22.6bn) on PC, and $15.4 billion (£11.7bn) on console gaming.
The increase in F2P is particularly interesting given there was a drop in triple-A spending, with the premium market shrinking 5 per cent YoY to $18.9bn (£14.46bn). Superdata attributes this drop chiefly to a direct comparison with 2018, which saw the release of highly anticipated games like Monster Hunter: World, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Pokémon Go continues to be another of the industry’s biggest F2P earners, with revenue increasing to $1.4bn (£1.07bn) in 2019, while FIFA 19 was the biggest game across both PC and console, generating $786m (£601m). Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, on the other hand, earned $645m (£493m), whilst Grand Theft Auto V continues to rival current-gen games by earning $595m (£455m) across the period, exceeding the revenue of newer titles such as FIFA 20, The Division 2, and Borderlands 3.