Console microtransaction conversion rates jumped 28% compared to the prior year, to their highest levels yet, as revenue also climbed to an all time high, growing 19% from the prior year.
The new data encompassing 2013, compiled by SuperData Research, indicates the increasing importance of digital revenue for traditional video game console games. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 each have a half terabyte of internal storage to encourage game content downloads, and each machine is highly integrated into each company’s online storefronts.
Console microtransactions, which are defined as small in-game purchases of economy-based downloadable content, earned the game industry $352 million in 2013, up significantly from 2012’s $295 million. While the ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) remained steady at $15.68 (up just six cents from the prior year), the conversion rate, which indicates the percentage of potential customers who do make a purchase, rose 28% to 5.1% of potential buyers.
While microtransactions played a leading role in the growth of revenue for mobile and social games, traditional console game makers have been slow to adopt the format, preferring to give gamers high quality content upfront for a $60 retail purchase.
That is changing, notes SuperData:
Of course, the expensive cost structure behind a traditional console title makes it difficult to offer the games up for free and follow a production cycle of ongoing iterations. In the foreseeable future we anticipate that console microtransactions will provide gamers additional content without infringing on the console game experience and offer publishers a healthy secondary source of income.
A growing number of console-based games are experimenting with microtransactions: blockbuster titles like Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar), Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft) and Borderlands (2K Games) have started offering virtual currencies. Today this amounts to only a secondary source of income, compared to their retail sales, but we expect this to continue to grow.
The report also notes the popularity of specific genres among consumers who are making console microtransactions. First-person shooters and action-adventure games are by far the most popular genres among this group of spenders, who also indicate a higher interest on the Xbox platform than other consoles.
Read more about data points in the video game industry in CONSULGAMER’S data points bank.