SuperData December 2020: World of Warcraft is dethroned again, and people still love Among Us

    
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While SuperData has already put a bow on the entirety of games earnings in 2020, there’s still the December 2020 breakdown to cover, which offers a couple of shifting standings at the top of the sales charts and some newly broken records.

Surprising nobody that follows the PC gaming universe, Cyberpunk 2077 was the top seller as well as the biggest game launch of all time with 10.2M digital units, accounting for about 80% of sold copies of the RPG. While the report naturally nods to the game’s launch woes, it points out that those digital sales include the number of refunded copies, which “did not substantially affect the game’s aggregate sales.”

World of Warcraft was at the top of the pile in November thanks to Shadowlands’ launch at the end of last year, but it’s fallen from first to third place in the rankings as of December, displaced by both Cyberpunk 2077 and League of Legends.

Fortnite hit another new high this past month, with earnings that were at their highest since August 2020 and player numbers that were larger than at any point since August 2019. GTA Online also recorded its highest monthly digital earnings ever on the strength of the Cayo Perico Heist release.

Finally, multiplayer sensation Among Us saw its first fall in terms of player numbers with less people in-game than November 2020. That said, the number of players was still 2.8 times higher than Roblox and the game’s launch on the Nintendo Switch sold 3.2M copies — the highest earning version of the game to date.

source: Superdata
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Rndomuser

Impressive seeing GTA5 (which also includes GTA Online) right next to Cyberpunk for consoles. Really shows that the game that made well right from the beginning and not rushed out can continue bringing in huge amount of income for developer, especially with continued support for it even after 7 years. More game developers should learn from this example.

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Schmidt.Capela

My issue with seeing GTAV there is that I’m fairly certain that most of that revenue is from selling in-game currency, which is a business model I really don’t want to see other developers adopt.

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Rndomuser

I don’t see anything wrong with developers receiving a profit from that. Better them receiving money for selling in-game currency than someone else, such as people farming it with bots and selling it to other people through third-party sites with questionable reliability.

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Schmidt.Capela

Third-party gold sellers don’t exist in GTAO because the game doesn’t allow you to give money to other players; the closest thing to that is giving your cut of a heist to another player, which would be pretty hard to exploit as a way to deliver in-game cash. Thus, R* selling in-game cash isn’t about preventing gold selling at all, but instead pure unbridled greed by the dev/publisher.

Besides, when devs sell in-game cash themselves, it both works as a dev-sanctioned cheat code — and I really don’t want to play competitive multiplayer games where you can just pay the dev for a cheat — and causes the devs to change the game balance to make acquiring in-game money more troublesome, more frustrating than it would otherwise be, and thus making the whole game objectively worse even if you will never engage with players that use their credit cards to cheat. Not exactly the kind of game that I would want to play.

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Rndomuser

Third-party gold sellers don’t exist in GTAO because the game doesn’t allow you to give money to other players

I have seen plenty of online sites where people were willing to sell money for GTA Online in exchange for real life currency. Whether this works or not – I have not checked personally, but I have seen them.

Regardless if this works or not, I still believe game developers should provide an option to buy in-game currency for real life currency, for any multiplayer game. If someone prefers to earn in-game currency by grinding quests/dungeons/heists – they are free to do that. And if someone does not have the time to grind those but still wants to buy some item in game by converting real life currency to in-game currency because this will save them time – they should also have this option. Nobody should be excluded just because someone sees this as a “cheat code” or prefers to earn essentially worthless (outside of the game) virtual items by doing tedious work in the game.

As for your “devs changing game balance to make acquiring in-game money more troublesome” – this does not have to be. I played EVE Online for many years, earning isk in it was always pretty easy, even before PLEX appeared (a legitimate way to convert your real life currency to in-game currency), and after PLEX appeared it is still easy to earn in-game currency without paying real life money for it. If a game designed well – the “convert real life currency to in-game currency” will feel like an option for some and not something that you must do to enjoy the game, at least for majority of players.

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Schmidt.Capela

I have seen plenty of online sites where people were willing to sell money for GTA Online in exchange for real life currency.

Hacking, most likely. GTAV’s security model is pretty bad, meaning players can manipulate the game into doing lots of things it shouldn’t do. Such as, say, spawning cash piles.

(BTW, some people use those hacking tools to gift random strangers unasked for in-game money. The idea is that, if R* ever implements a zero-tolerance policy on receiving hacked money, it will also catch a lot of players who never intended to hack and were merely in the wrong server at the wrong time.)

Regardless if this works or not, I still believe game developers should provide an option to buy in-game currency for real life currency, for any multiplayer game.

As long as the dev makes it perfectly clear they are being greedy jerks so I can avoid that game, and perhaps even other games they work on from that point onward.

and after PLEX appeared it is still easy to earn in-game currency without paying real life money for it.

EVE doesn’t sell ISK directly; it merely allows players to sell cash store currency for ISK. All the ISK still has to be first obtained by someone playing the game.

This doesn’t change my opinion on people purchasing in-game currency in a competitive multiplayer game; I still see them as dirty cheaters. But it at least avoids the balance issues that come with the devs directly selling in-game currency.

BTW, R* itself has changed its approach; in RDR2 what is sold isn’t the regular in-game currency, but instead “gold bars”, which are spent on a separate store. It’s still damaging to game balance, since some purchases with gold bars allow you to save on spending in-game dollars, but not by even close to how much Shark Cards made the GTAO economy a mess.

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Greaterdivinity

Still crazy to me to see a LOCATION BASED game like Pokemon go at the top of mobile charts…during global lockdowns. I know they’ve made updates to account for folks not being able to travel, but that’s still impressive/shocking.

Will be interesting to see the numbers next month once Cyberpunk drops off, because I don’t think they’ll be keeping that top spot (or top 10) for very long.

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Xshinobi

WoW’s placement is still super impressive imo. It was overtaken by the game with the biggest digital launch in gaming history and LoL, so it is still super impressive to have the 16+ year old game ranking in the top 3.

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jealouspirate

What always surprises me about these lists are how many games I’ve never heard of. Titles 4 through 6 on PC, never heard of them.. but apparently they’re huge. It’s also amazing to me that World of Tanks is in the top 10.

Basically if someone asked me to guess the top 10 grossing PC games I’d probably get it mostly wrong.

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Greaterdivinity

DFO has had a western release a few times, Nexon handled one and I think there’s still an active version under some publisher. Basically a side-scrolling beat’em up style game. Crossfire is basically Counter-Strike 1.x, but F2P with gun rentals and remains one of the biggest games nobody outside of China has ever heard of. At least until Crossfire 2 and Remedy got involved with big Microsoft backing.

The only one I’m blank on completely is the Westward Journey one, though I remember it being some sort of fantasy-esque MMO.

The chinese market, at least for PC, is insane. It’s way, way, way, way more monetized then things are out in the west. For quite a while Crossfire/DFO were the #1/2 games pretty consistently purely due to spending in the Chinese/Asian markets. It’s why every western company has had eyes as big as dinnerplates when looking at cracking open the Chinese market, at least before many realize how difficult of a challenge that is for a non-domestic company.

quark1020
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quark1020

Ah, that would make sense. I was wondering how the hell DFO keeps being in the top 5 of these lists.

The game is fun, but its not THAT good.

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Java Jawa

It’s pretty common , players rush content , finish it in 30 days and move on. Since it’s up against some massive release titles also doesn’t help.

mimicx10
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mimicx10

Does anybody know why “World of Warcraft West” is split out that way? Are numbers from “WoW – East” not exposed or just excluded?

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Greaterdivinity

Since the two have very different business models (IIRC WoW-China still sells sub time, like, actual hours, rather than monthly subs) they’re treated differently I imagine. I think it got too difficult to track/estimate revenue for that version? That or it’s below the top 10.

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Schmidt.Capela

I believe it’s currently below the top 10. I vaguely remember that a few years ago WoW East used to appear on the list too, always below WoW West.