You’ve probably heard about titles such as Watch Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2 selling less than the originals, but 2016 has still been the biggest year ever for digital games and playable media, with the PC market alone bringing in $34 billion.
The figures come from a Superdata Research report that looks at the major gaming data and insights of 2016. It shows that when it comes to money generated by games, the mobile platform leads the way. Boosted by the success of titles like Pokémon Go and Clash Royale, consumers spent $41 billion on mobile games this year.
PC gaming generated the second-highest amount of gaming revenue over the last 12 months. When counting social, free-to-play, subscription, and premium games, the platform brought in just under $36 billion this year, which was driven largely by F2P online titles and downloadable games.
Thanks to more owners turning to downloads, the console market jumped to $6.6 billion in 2016. Publishers were able to generate extra revenue through sales of add-on content, expansion packs, and microtransactions. The figure wasn’t too far away from the $5.4 billion earned from premium PC game sales, the majority of which - $586 million – came from Overwatch. The reports also cites the newest generation of GPUs as a reason behind the increased popularity of PC gaming.
But it was the free-to-play segment that made up most of the PC platform's revenue this year. Overall, titles like League of Legends, World of Tanks, and Dota 2 made $18.6 billion in revenue. LoL alone made $1.7 billion, and Superdata Research expects F2P games to make $21.3 billion in revenue by 2019.
"After launching more than seven years ago, League of Legends is still on the top earning Riot $150 million per month. Dota 2 comes in second at $23.4 million per month this year, show fans' hesitation to switch to another MOBA," the report says.
Premium PC games are expected to decline slightly next year but will see a revenue increase in 2018. The report hints that this could be due to studios’ apprehension over digital goods following the CS:GO gambling controversy earlier this year.
"Developers for Rocket League, EVE Online, and Overwatch have been careful with how they implement virtual items by either making them tradable, or editing the terms and services to prohibit gambling of in-game currency," writes Superdata Research.
Overall, the future of PC gaming looks rosy.