Global games industry earned $91bn this year, with Overwatch dominating PC and console spend

The worldwide interactive entertainment industry generated $91bn in 2016, according to a new report from SuperData Research, with mobile gaming earning the highest amount of revenue.

Consumers spent $41bn on mobile gaming this year between January and November, showing a growth of 18.2 per cent year-on-year. This surpasses the total retail spend ($26bn) and money spent on free-to-play online games ($19bn). The biggest spender by region was Asia, putting down a total of $24.9bn. North America, by contrast, spent just $6.9bn, while Europe spent $5.7bn on mobile games this year.

Monster Strike topped the list of highest grossing mobile games with its earnings of $1.3bn. Clash of Clans followed in second with $1.2bn. Clash Royale came in third with $1.1bn, while Game of War: Fire Age and Mobile Strike were fourth and fifth, earning $0.91bn and $0.90bn respectively. Pokmon Go also did well, earning $788m despite only launching in July.

PC gaming was the second strongest market, earning a total of $35.8bn between January and November, growing by 6.7 per cent year-on-year. This figure includes social, free-to-play, subscription and premium PC games. Strengthened by the release of a new generation of graphics cards this year, titles such as Overwatch and League of Legends captured the premium and free-to-play markets respectively.

In the free-to-play PC market, Asia once again dominated the leader board, spending $12.5bn. Europe came in second, but only spent $2.8bn. In the premium PC market, however, Europe pulled ahead, spending a total of $2.7bn. The US was the second biggest premium PC game spender with $1.8bn. Asia, by comparison, came in last with just $0.2bn.

On consoles, consumers spent $6.6bn, which is up 14.8 per cent from last year’s revenue spend. However, more and more games are being downloaded directly onto each machine rather than being bought physically. Overwatch sales were the biggest contributor here, topping out at $585.6m. Counter Strike: Global Offensive came in second with $257.2m. North America spent the most on premium console games this year at $2.9bn, but Europe wasn’t far behind at $2.6bn.

Virtual reality had a pretty difficult year in 2016, with manufacturing delays and high prices preventing it from reaching mass adoption. Oculus Rift had the toughest time out of the three big headsets, earning $355,000. Not only did Oculus suffer from manufacturing delays, but the late arrival of its Touch controllers ended up giving Vive, which earned $420,000, a huge advantage.

The real winner here, though, is Sony’s PlayStation VR, which out-sold both the Vive and Rift combined, earning $745,000. Samsung’s Gear VR continued to do well, too, earning $2.3m despite Samsung’s unfortunate Note 7 battery debacle. Bolstered by $88.4m Google Cardboard revenue, the industry as a whole earned $4.4bn.

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