Mobile and free-to-play online games take majority of earnings as digital grows 11%

US digital sales hit $11.8 billion in 2013

A new report from SuperData claims that the US digital games market grew by 11 per cent last year to $11.8 billion in sales.

SuperData says that mobile titles were the biggest earners, taking 26 per cent of all revenue at an estimated $3 billion (an increase of 28 per cent), followed closely by free-to-play online games, which grew 45 per cent year-on-year to earn $2.9 billion.

Tencent came away a big winner with its name on two of the top-earning free-to-play online games: SmileGate’s CrossFire and Riot’s (in which Tencent owns a majority stake) League of Legends.

Both social and subscription games fell by just over 20 per cent – the only sectors of the digital market to fall, taking $1.8bn and $1.1bn respectively

It’s unclear if the survey took digital sales of full PC and console games into account, since there isn’t a category for either, but the report estimates combined DLC sales for both sectors at $2.8 billion.

It could be that there’s simply been an error in terminology, since the report mentions that PC downloads doubled after September due to Steam’s Winter Sale.

The digital console sector earned almost $100 million in December alone, compared with the total sales for both PC and console of $379 million.

That divide is representative of the yearly earnings for both sectors: PC games took home $2.1 billion in digital sales, while console games earned $730 million.

SuperData made a note that the PlayStation Now program, which brings an array of PS3 titles to the newer PS4 and later the Vita, gives Sony’s next-gen console a probable edge over the Xbox One.

“Both devices offer new next-gen features to the digital gamer, but we expect an expanded catalogue to outweigh multi-purpose capabilities,” said the report.

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