The Hearthstones and Elder Scrolls Legends of the gaming world will drive digital collectible card game (CCG) earnings to $1.5 billion (£1.16 billion) in 2018 – and the numbers will rise to around $2 billion (£1.55 billion) by 2020.
The figures come from a recent SuperData report, which points out almost three quarters (71 per cent) of digital CCG players do so on their smartphones – so developers wanting a slice of those billions might want to look to a mobile-first approach.
The report also points out how around three quarters of players have spent $10 (£8) or more in-game, showing in-game purchases remain a strong revenue driver (something all too apparent to Activision Blizzard).
The playing audience for CCGs in the United States looks to plateau in 2019, with stability in number of players but no significant rises predicted beyond then. Revenue, however, is predicted to rise significantly thanks to deep player engagement and publishers taking advantage of tournament settings – incredibly popular with CCG players – to maintain and nurture interest in a product.
“As this market continues to grow and mature, making the best use of a slower-growth audience becomes imperative,” the report says, “Strategies must change from acquisition of this loyal fanbase to increase conversion and spending, and retention will be key.”
In the past three months, the most popular CCG in the States has been Blizzard’s Hearthstone, with a 50 per cent market share. Magic: The Gathering sits in second place with 40 per cent – though this report doesn’t factor in the far more established physical game of Magic – and the Elder Scrolls: Legends bagged a respectable 27 per cent of players over the period.
Interestingly, CD Projekt’s Gwent: The Witcher Card Game managed to grab 23 per cent of players, even though it hasn’t yet seen a full release.