Superdata January: digital spend down, F2P and mobile continue growth

Friday, 14 February 2014 00:13 GMT By Brenna Hillier

As with retail spend, US gamers reportedly eased off on digital games purchases in January, although up-and-coming segments still managed to show a little growth.

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Industry analyst firm Superdata reported digital spend in the US reached $1.03 billion in January, a much higher figure than the NPD’s estimates.

This is a month-on-month decrease, though, and console and PC game sales in particular declined.

Mobile games saw a month-on-month sales increase in January though, climbing 7% with an additional 7 million users. Free-to-play online games grew 8% thanks to MOBA players getting back into the swing of regular competition after a holiday break.

As for what trends are current in the digital sphere, SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen said customisation is driving monetisation. Free-to-play racers are on the rise, and expected to generate $50 million in 2014.

In the mobile sphere, developers are “puzzled” by Flappy Bird’s performance.

“The explosive rise of Flappy Bird indicates that the mobile ecosystem remains a high-risk environment. The Vietnamese developer managed to earn an alleged $50,000 a day in ad revenues, seemingly without a marketing plan or even a business model,” van Dreunen said.

“On the upside, this keeps the myth of the mobile millionaire alive. However, it also reiterates how elusive and fickle success in the entertainment business really is, especially after a slew of clones quickly made its way to the top of the charts.”

The original most notorious social mogul, Zynga, had an interesting month. it closed YoVille, a game with 20 million monthly active users, and sold the license to original developer Big Viking Games to re-open after fans expressed distress.

Van Dreunan believes Zynga is starting to turn its fortunes around. Slots games Hit It Rich apparently generated $28,040 in average daily revenues in January, making it one of the top earners in the social casino segment.

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