The buzz over mobile and social has subsided, and this year’s growth in digital games revenue will come from the game industry’s more traditional platforms – consoles and PCs.
Genres that were once leading the buzz in games, such as MMOs, are stalling out. Revenue from pay-to-play MMOs is expected to shrink this year by 14%, while free-to-play MMOs will only grow 2% this year.
What’s old is good again in the digital age, with traditional PC game revenue up 20%, and console game revenue up 28%. High growth rates on consoles are due to the digital-download friendliness of the latest consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The newest platforms are bundled with large hard drives and UI-optimized online stores. PCs continue to perform well due to the accessibility of the Steam platform.
It’s worth noting that social games remain a growing segment – expected to grow 7% this year. The social games sector has its challenges, most notably Zynga’s struggles, but the sector continues to grow, partly in thanks to the user-acquisition benefits of social networks. While ads for traditional mobile installs can cost as much as $3.71, social games can acquire new customers for free through a friend’s recommendation on a social network. The viral growth mechanisms of social games support a less expensive user acquisition strategy.