Digital gaming sales hit record $61 billion in 2015: Report

Digital gaming sales hit record $61 billion in 2015
Digital gaming sales hit record $61 billion in 2015   

Worldwide digital video game sales hit a record last year as the mobile market continued to rocket higher and hardcore gamers gravitated toward console downloads.

The market for digital games grew 8 percent from 2014 to $61 billion, according to a new report from gaming intelligence firm SuperData Research.

Downloads to consoles like Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation saw the biggest jump. Digital console game sales were up 34 percent last year, though the category remained relatively small at $4 billion.

At the same time, software sales at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores continued to fall, slipping 13 percent to $5.3 billion, according to NPD Group.

"Sales figures points toward a shift in the industry as more consumers have adopted digitally distributed games and free-to-play," said SuperData CEO and founder Joost van Dreunen.

The market for tablet and smartphone titles surged 10 percent to $25.1 billion from the previous year.

The mobile space continues to be dominated by a handful of high earners. The top 10 games in the segment accounted for nearly a quarter of total revenue.

The big moneymaker in absolute dollar terms was PC-based gaming, which includes free-to-play titles, subscription-based games, social games like "Farmville," and other downloads. Games on the platform pulled in $32 billion in 2015.

There were signs of weakness in the category, though. Social gaming was down marginally, and subscription-based titles slipped 4 percent as free-to-play games — which earn their developers money from premium in-game purchases — continued to dominate PC sales.

Riot Games' "League of Legends" was the top dog among free-to-play games. The multiplayer online battle arena game earned $1.6 billion in revenues — seven times more than its closest competitor in the genre.

As for publishers, Activision was the top earner, with $2.9 billion across the digital console, mobile and PC platforms. Activision pushed further into the mobile space with its acquisition of King Digital in November.

Supercell, maker of the No. 1 mobile game "Clash of Clans," came in second with $1.64 billion in sales, followed by Shenzhen, China-based Tencent, which purchased the small portion of Riot Games it did not already own last month and earned $1.62 billion in 2015.

Here are the top-selling digital games of 2015 by platform, as measured by SuperData Research (figures in millions):

Digital console

1. "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" (Activision, $355)

2. "FIFA 15" (Electronic Arts, $332)

3. "Grand Theft Auto V" (Take-Two Interactive, $322)

4. "Destiny" (Activision, $291)

5. "Call of Duty: Black Ops III" ()

6. "FIFA 16" (Electronic Arts, $212)

7. "Fallout 4" (Bethesda Softworks, $108)

8. "Star Wars Battlefront" (Electronic Arts, $106)

9. "Madden NFL 16" (Electronic Arts, $76)

10. "Madden NFL 15" (Electronic Arts, $73)

Digital PC

1. "League of Legends" (Tencent/Riot Games, $1,628)

2. "Crossfire" (SmileGate, $1,110)

3. "Dungeon Fighter Online" (Neople, $1,052)

4. "World of Warcraft" (Activision, $814)

5. "World of Tanks" (Wargaming.net, $446)

6. "Lineage I" (NCSOFT Corporation, $339)

7. "Maplestory" (Nexon, $253)

8. "DOTA 2" (Valve Corporation, $238)

9. "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" (Valve Corporation, $221)

10. "Grand Theft Auto V" (Take-Two Interactive, $205)

Mobile

1. "Clash of Clans" (Supercell, $1,345)

2. "Game of War: Fire Age" (Machine Zone, $799)

3. "Puzzle & Dragons" (Gungho Online Ent. Inc, $729)

4. "Candy Crush Saga" (King Digital, $682)

5. "MonsterStrike" (Mixi, $674)

6. "Candy Crush Soda Saga" (King Digital, $518)

7. "Fantasy Westward Journey" (NetEase, $451)

8. "Colopl Rune Story" (COLOPL NI Inc, $356)

9. "Disney Tsum Tsum" (LINE Corp, $326)

10. "Boom Beach" (Supercell, $297)