PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is one of the largest Early Access success stories now, with Bluehole's latest shooter ramping up into the Top Grossing PC Titles of June 2017 according to the latest report from SuperData.
The overall PC market dropped a rather large 16% this June compared to last June, but SuperData says that the massive success of Overwatch in 2016 boosted the PC gaming sales of 2016, making it harder to get to those lofty heights this year. But, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is worthy of that challenge and has pushed itself all the way into the #7 position, as it has already sold over $100 million worth of copies.
Battlegrounds is now ahead of Overwatch which is #10, and even World of Tanks at #8. It can't touch the behemoth that is League of Legends, or something like CrossFire or DOTA 2.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continues its massive growth on Steam, selling another 1 million copies in a single month to bring the total to 5 million copies sold.
Bluehole's battle-royale survival shooter is an early access juggernaut. Armed with massively engagement from Twitch streams and an exclusive deal with Facebook, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is fast becoming one of the most popular Steam games of the year. Just last month we reported PUBG sold 4 million copies and raked in $100 million in earnings, but the massively popular multiplayer game just keeps one-upping itself: now PUBG has broken the 5 million sales milestone.
Besides the game's mighty 1 million units per month sales trend, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds also has very strong recurring player counts. Owners of the game are jumping in rather than abandoning it in favor of other popular PC games, indicating PUBG's massive long-term potential as a big moneymaker. In fact, PUBG recently surpassed GTA V in peak players and its average players continue spiking month-over-month as well.
Cloud Imperium Games is getting into the festive season a little early with a tease of Star Citizen's upcoming Alpha 3.0 release, showing off a new Alpha 3.0 trailer. Check it out below.
As you can see, the team is pushing out moon landings, the awesome-looking planetary rover, and the new Nox hover speeder. But there's even bigger news that has happened over the last few days that really overshadows the Alpha 3.0 release, in the fact that Chris Roberts has come out saying that the team plan to launch Star Citizen (whenever that is...) with just 5-10 star systems compared the 100 he teased with the original Kickstarter in 2012.
Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive has an independent gaming initiative that is making games "intended to be AAA titles".
Having already crested the AAA gaming market with billion-dollar IPs like Grand Theft Auto, Take-Two Interactive is now setting its sights on the independent games segment with a new indie-centric initiative. The GTA parent company hasn't revealed specifics about this new indie focus, but it got the ball rolling on the program by purchasing the popular Kerbal Space Program IP and adding it to group of developers directed by Take-Two exec Michasel Worosz.
Interestingly enough, it appears that Take-Two's indie-centered group may be making actual AAA games to supplement the company's release slate instead of crafting AA indies. In a recent interview with Games Industry.biz, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said that Worosz's group, which includes indie devs and other games-makers, is working on a "number of titles that are intended to be AAA products."
"We have a number of titles that Michael Worosz's group is developing with independent developers, which are intended to be AAA products," Mr. Zelnick said in the interview. "We are quiet about it because there isn't much to say. They are in development and we'll bring those to market as and when. And then within that group is also Social Point. If we are successful with the independent games initiative, and if we are successful with growing Social Point, then that will essentially be a third label of the company."
2K Games' new president David Ismailer has laid out a fresh five-year plan for the label that will tap the strengths of its catalog IP including its growing AAA games business and annualized sports titles.
Despite releasing a number of key games in FY17 like Mafia III and Battleborn, 2K Games didn't contributed as strongly to total fiscal year sales earnings as it normally would with such a hefty release slate. Of course it didn't help that Battleborn was quickly swallowed up by Blizzard's Overwatch, and Mafia III was plagued with a rocky start. The current fiscal year, FY18, sees 2K Games' slate much thinner than usual. The label's newly appointed president, David Ismailer, has laid out a new five-year plan that will leverage the label's beefy catalog in strategic ways to help boost earnings.
In a recent interview with Games Industry.biz, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick and 2K Games President David Ismailer discuss the future of the label. The publisher's "huge" new game is still on for FY19, which is likely to be Borderlands 3, and 2K will continue annually releasing sports games from its WWE and NBA IPs to help bolster profits. Ismailer affirms that his new five-year plan isn't dramatically different from 2K's current strategies, but he is aiming to release a new AAA game every year.
Ubisoft reports stellar first quarter revenues and sales driven by strong digital growth across all segments and platforms, including PS4, Xbox One and PC.
French games-maker Ubisoft is transforming more and more of its business into digital revenue streams, and this initiative is paying off big. The company recently announced total sales earnings of 202.1 million euros ($232.78 million) in the three-month period ending June 30, all without even releasing a new game.
What's even more impressive is that 80.4% of these earnings, or 164.2 million euros ($189.07 million) were from digital purchases such as full game sales as well as recurrent consumer spending via microtransactions, DLC and add-ons. Ubisoft categorizes the latter digital monetization revenues as PRI, or "Player Recurring Investment," which also saw tremendous growth in the quarter: the company earned 83.1 million euros ($95.69 million) in PRI, up a mighty 73.4% year-over-year. PRI actually made up 41.1% of the quarter's total sales, meaning almost half of Ubisoft's digital revenues consisted of paid add-ons and other content.
As the games industry shifts towards a digital-powered games-as-a-service model with recurring revenue streams at the whims of consumers, analyst firm SuperData reports that console gamers will purchase and consume more digital content in the form of microtransactions, DLC, and add-ons than games in 2017.
In today's market, digital-driven games like Overwatch, GTA Online, Rocket League and FIFA dominate consoles across the world, earning billions in combined revenue. We've just reported on how Ubisoft's digital-first strategy is paying off big, and other publishers are just as keen on slicing off their share of the lucrative market as gamers are to spend on their creations. Analyst firm SuperData predicts that add-on content--which includes microtransactions, DLC, season passes and other post-release content like map packs--will make up over 50% of the console gaming sector's total revenues for 2017. This effectively means console gamers are willing to spend more money on add-ons than they are on full game downloads.
The firm also reports that add-on content makes up 75% of total revenues for top-earning console games for 2015 through 2017. Reliance on additional content is furthered by the yearly decrease of retail sales (2016's holiday season was the worst for retail games in the US in 20 years). Publishers must learn how to establish a proper timetable and road map for new console IP to gain maximum revenue.
Take-Two Interactive's massively lucrative online-based Grand Theft Auto game has pulled in considerable lifetime-to-date earnings, according to research firm SuperData.
Grand Theft Auto V's massively popular persistent online open-world component, GTA Online, has generated an estimated $1.092 billion in total revenues, analyst firm SuperData reports. GTA V is the highest-earning digital console game of all time thanks to its hugely profitable add-on content, the firm said in a recent market report, with total revenues of $1.4 billion since its release in 2013--78% of which was earned by add-on content through GTA Online.
Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive reported strong earnings in its last fiscal year thanks to the years-old GTA V and GTA Online powerhouse. The company earned $927.1 million in digital net revenues, with recurrent consumer spending on DLC/add-ons/microtransactions making up 50% of revenues, or $460.85 million. GTA Online had a tremendous effect on digital sales revenue, too: bookings from recurrent monetization streams grew a substantial 52% over last year to an impressive $562.7 million, or 57% of total digitally-delivered bookings.
Microsoft today reported strong Q4 and full year fiscal earnings across all of its segments, and its gaming branch pulled in over $9 billion in revenues despite lower Xbox console sales.
Despite Sony's dominant lead in console sales, Microsoft's gaming segment is extremely healthy and prosperous as the company's digital cross-platform transformation continues paying off. The Redmond-based titan has unified Windows 10 PCs, mobile phones, and Xbox consoles with its unique Xbox-as-a-service initiative, which sees Xbox LIVE connecting a manner of popular devices together.
I've dug around in the financials and have formulated a quick analysis to give you a better idea of Microsoft's gaming growth, but first let's take a look at the raw numbers. Gaming, which is part of Microsoft's More PC Computing segment, earned a total of $9.076 billion in the fiscal year.
Gaming is a significant force behind the More Personal Computing segment, but unlike Sony, gaming doesn't represent a strong earner for Microsoft's total revenues. Total gaming revenue ($9.076 billion) made up 18.78% of total quarterly More Personal Computing segment revenues ($38.77 billion), and 23.4% of total MPC revenues for the full fiscal year.
Ubisoft has stated that all of its games will have live services that tie into recurring player investment, hinting that Assassin's Creed: Origins may be monetized with in-game purchases and microtransactions. In a Q1 earnings call, key Ubisoft executives give more clues on how the next Assassin's Creed will continue earning money long after initial sales.
French games-maker Ubisoft has made a tremendous transformation in the last few years, and its digital-first strategy is paying off big. Instead of focusing on single-release games, Ubisoft has embraced the next evolution of gaming which sees digital titles being treated as a service--the Games-as-a-Service trend, or GaaS--to ensure its games keep pulling in revenues months or even years after release. One of the main ways it achieves this goal is by infusing microtransactions into its games. While online multiplayer games like Rainbow Six: Siege and For Honor are obvious choices for this monetization path, traditional game like Assassin's Creed are prime targets as well.
The Assassin's Creed series is no stranger to in-game microtransactions, and I expect the upcoming Egypt-based Assassin's Creed: Origins to be no different. I've already predicted that Ubisoft will monetize AC: Origins with loot boxes that contain randomized items, gear, or skill buffs, and now key corporate Ubisoft execs are adding weight to these predictions. In a recent Q1 earnings call, Ubisoft exec Alain Corre hints that the company may use Origins' heavy RPG focus as a path to recurring revenues.
"As far as the digital potential for Origins and its engagement capability, as we've said we really invested heavily to increase the RPG side of the game. [As a result of this investment] we clearly feel that we have better potential to increase the engagement of the game, and we believe that therefore the player recurring investment will continue to grow," said Alain Corre, Executive Director of Ubisoft's EMEA branch.