The Lineage franchise continues its unstoppable runaway train force in South Korea — this time with Lineage M.
Korea’s Pulse News reports that Lineage M now counts over 10 million players in its first month. The game launched overseas just a month ago with 5.5 million preorders; as of two weeks ago, it had already earned $89 million in revenue, what Pulse calls the “rapidest gain in the Korean game industry.”
Intriguingly, Pulse quotes a WiseApp stat that 70% of Lineage M’s launch-day users were over 30 years old, compared to 29% under 30. Is it a shift in the MMO market, a shift in the mobile market, or a marker for Lineage’s overall base?
SuperData’s June report doesn’t include Lineage M, but the Netmarble-backed Lineage 2 Revolution made the top 10 for mobile revenue in May and indeed set monthly revenue records in Korea — which Lineage M aims to break.
Expect NCsoft’s next quarterly report next month.
SuperData’s global digital games revenue summary for June 2017 is out, and it’s a strange melange of huge shifts and no changes at all.
On the PC front, there’s been movement at the bottom of the list, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ROBLOX (seriously) have kicked CSGO and New Westward Journey Online II to the curb and knocked World of Tanks and Overwatch down a few pegs. World of Warcraft remains at #6, thanks to last month’s recombination of east and west. It’s a weird saga.
On consoles, however, Overwatch inched up a place and Grand Theft Auto V surged to take the top spot, in spite of its messy modder confrontations this summer. “Despite negative press over community-created-mods decisions, Grand Theft Auto Online experienced its most successful month this June on the back of [its] newest DLC,” SuperData says.
The mobile category has seen a huge shakeup as well, as Honour of Kings leaped from 10th place to 1st, pushing down Clash of Clans and Clash Royale — the firm estimates Honour of Kings made over $150 million in June. Pokemon Go remains noticeably absent from the top 10 lists this summer, but SuperData gives it a nod anyway.
Gamers talk a big talk about horse armor DLC and pay-to-win and the evils of cash shops, but y’all keep buying anyway.
That’s according to gaming research analysis firm SuperData, which today released an excerpt from its pricey report on digital console revenue for 2017. More than half of all digital console revenue this year, the firm says, will come from “additional content” like DLC and cash-shop microtransactions. That number is half again as high for the top-earning console games from the last few years.
Fully “39% of first-year additional content revenue for all titles is made in the first 3-to-6 months, leaving game publishers with a tight time frame to release new content,” argues SuperData. “Digital console consumers are hungry for more content as soon as they are done with the core gameplay. Most single player games have a gameplay timeframe between 10-to-40 hours within their single-player mode. It is not hard to see why over a third of console players believe that publishers should release content every 3-to-6 months. Over a fourth of them believe additional content should be released at least once a month. Publishers are warned to be wary of releasing content too close to the release date, since consumers see that tactic as profiting off content that should otherwise have been released with the full game.”
If the Oculus Rift’s pricedrop to $400 last week wasn’t enough to get your hands reaching for your wallet, point your eyeballs at this Bloomberg report, which suggests Facebook is angling toward a $200 wireless device, a cheaper version of the more expensive platform. Supposedly code-named Pacific, the new headset is aimed at the middle market between smartphone-hookups and high-end desktop-style PC VR gaming.
Facebook has neither confirmed nor denied Pacific, but that isn’t stopping gaming analysts from weighing in (via MCVUK), including SuperData
“Facebook is not a company for the niche consumer – their selling point is how accessible their services are to anyone, anywhere. So finding something with the potential for mass penetration is a priority, especially with Rift’s bumpy past,” SuperData says. “However, an untethered, self-contained device for $200 seems like either a loss-leader or a highly simplified VR experience (for instance, Google and HTC’s new Daydream device will boast the same conveniences for a much higher price). Pacific may be a combination of both so that Facebook can finally have a long-term stake in the mass consumer market, but it’s too soon to tell.”
Back in April, we wrote about how the Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China was aiming to bring e-sports to the Asian Games, reportedly the second-largest sporting event in the world, right behind The Olympics itself. In support of the move, the council cited the addition of e-sports to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in September as a “demonstration” sport featuring multiple games, including Dota 2, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone.
That may be in jeopardy now, however. SuperData reported this week that multiple countries have now backed out of the e-sports section of the AIMAG competitions. South Korea’s e-sports division quit the event in May, followed by Australia in June and Thailand earlier in July. Thailand, we should note, blocked participation in part over health concerns and “fears related to gaming addiction,” but South Korea and Australia raised objections over the exit of the well-recognized International Esport Federation and the formation of a relatively unregulated Asian Esports Federation in its place, as well as objections over the recruitment process for teams, which appears to blur national lines.
How big is Destiny 2 going to be? Really big, SuperData predicts.
The gaming analysis firm claims that “by analyzing historical data [of Destiny 1] and [SuperData’s own] proprietary analytics-based metric system,” it’s concluded Bungie will likely sell between 4 and 5 million digital copies within its first three months of sales. That’s console and PC included.
(We’re sure the company simply misspoke when originally writing that it “evaluated the performance of Destiny 1 on both console and PC,” and again when it amended the piece this morning to “evaluated the performance of Destiny 1 on PC” alone. Destiny 1, of course, was console-only.)
“The forecast also takes into account the expected early September launch date of the title, the impact of a Battlenet release on PC and macro-level digital download trends,” says SuperData.
Pokemon Go officially has all the money: According to app research group Apptopia, the game has now raked in $1.2 billion dollars in revenue with 752 million downloads. Seems like great news, right?
Well, yes and no. $950 million of that was accrued in 2016, so the app isn’t quite what it used to be, even if it’s still doing well. Logins have fallen from their peak of 100 million monthly down to 60 million monthly since last summer too, though again, I doubt most developers would turn down an active playerbase of 60 million bodies.
You’ll also recall that Pokemon Go slipped out of the top 10 mobile revenue rankings as counted by SuperData in May — the first time it hadn’t made an appearance in that list.
Almost lost in the buzz today was the release of SuperData’s rundown of the global digital games market for May. You’ll notice immediately that World of Warcraft has once again been rejoined! SuperData had split the game into east and west versions for its January report, then botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two; in March, the WoWs were one from the get-go but split up again in April. Now we’re back to one. It’s still not clear what’s going on there.
In any case, it’s allowed for a new entry on the PC side: Dota 2, which recently patched in PvE, apparently to good effect. On the mobile side, Pokemon Go has vanished entirely from the top 10, though we won’t be surprised to see it return next month as the summer events heat up.
“Overwatch shows continued growth,” writes the research firm. “Overwatch digital revenues are up from April but down from May 2016, when it launched. Additional Content revenue hit a new high in May on the back of a one-year anniversary event.”
The Netmarble take on NCsoft’s Lineage franchise, Lineage 2 Revolution, has soft launched as a global version in multiple English-speaking markets and app stores this week as planned. The Unreal 4 game has already become a blockbuster overseas, having landed in the top 10 ten mobile games in SuperData’s revenue charts for the last several months and helping to propel Netmarble’s record setting $12B IPO bid this spring.
The game boasts high-ish end graphics for mobile devices and stock MMORPG mechanics usually reserved for PC and console games, including questing, raiding, and PvPing in an open-world setting. Anybody smacked this on a phone yet to try it out?
SuperData’s April worldwide digital video games market summary has arrived, and with it we get a glimpse into the top gaming studios. And only the tippy top.
Irritatingly, World of Warcraft has once again been split into east and west, contrary to every other game on the chart. SuperData had split the game for its January report, botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two, and for March, the WoWs were one from the get-go. Now they’re two again.
The upside for WoW is that its western branch pulled out ahead of World of Tanks in terms of revenue (Tanks was beating a combined WoW last month). Dungeon Fighter Online and New Westward Journey Online II have swapped positions, while the addition of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (and separated WoWs) has pushed Lineage I and Wildlands out of the top 10 entirely. Wildlands dropped down the console list as well; ARK Survival Evolved and Mass Effect Andromeda have dropped from the console chart altogether.
On the mobile side, Pokemon Go held steady, but Lineage 2 Revolution continues creeping upward.
Looking back at March’s digital sales, the industry was up 15% year-over-year from 2016, Superdata Research reports. Mobile was the largest area of growth, while PC revenues remained “relatively flat.”
The report noted that Blizzard is having a mixed spring. Overwatch was overtaken (see what we did there?) by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the first time since its launch, while HearthStone rebounded from February by doubling its sales.
As to MMOs specifically, World of Warcraft, Dungeon Fighter Online, and Lineage I were joined by Chinese title New Westward Journey Online II in the top 10 of PC sales. Destiny continues to hang out on the console top 10, while Lineage 2 Revolution joined the rankings in the mobile category.
SuperData released a report this week arguing that the video gaming video content business is booming, even “outpacing earnings from some traditional sports leagues.” The whole paper is a mere $2,499 if you want to read it all, but the summary includes everything from Twitch to YouTube and intriguingly suggests that the viewing audience is almost half female.
“Additionally, gaming live streams are replacing primetime TV viewing with 27% of live stream viewers watching most often during weekday evenings. The Gaming Video Content audience on YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch, 517 million and 185 million people in 2016 respectively, surpasses mainstream channels like ESPN and HBO, further shaking up the traditional media landscape.”
E-sports and stream viewers, the analysts claim, “watch more than four hours of content per week,” while almost half of US gaming video content viewers are hooked to “walkthroughs, trailers and humor videos,” meaning that both the casual and hardcore audiences are being served.
Are you among them? That’s what today’s Leaderboard means to find out.
Whether you’re a big fan of the e-sports scene or you would be quite happy never hearing about it ever again, you are no doubt aware that a lot of companies are sinking quite a bit of money into it. It’s not just limited to existing e-sports darlings like League of Legends, either, as Blizzard is very clearly targeting the field with Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch, and it’s pretty obvious that Guild Wars 2 wanted a slice of that pie. But a new piece by Joost van Dreunen, CEO of Superdata, brings up a relevant point that is often getting overlooked: With all of these companies investing in the field, where is actual business model to make money off of e-sports?
Van Dreunen points out that the long-term impact of e-sports, both in terms of viability and engagement, has yet to be understood in anything more than the broadest terms and may in fact be part of a shifting of culture. The current emphasis on a very narrow appeal isn’t helping drive long-term engagement, and it raises questions about whether the long-term goal of e-sports is to serve as a business model unto itself or if the goal is basically to use these events as an advertisement for the games in question. It’s well worth reading even if you’re not a fan of the field, as it brings up some interesting points about where the idea of competitive video games will go in the next few years.