Global digital video game sales surge 8% in January

Video games on PC
Ricardo DeAratanha | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Global digital video game sales kicked off the year with new high scores after breaking records in 2015.

Sales of games downloaded to consoles, PCs, and mobile devices hit $6.3 billion in January, rising 8 percent from the year-ago period, according gaming intelligence firm SuperData Research.

The market for digital games reached an all-time high of $61 billion in 2015, the firm reported last month.

Revenues for PC titles were up 33 percent from January 2015. That platform was the biggest moneymaker for downloadable games in 2015, with sales reaching $32 billion.

One of the top PC performers last month was the latest iteration in the popular "Tomb Raider" franchise. Sales of Square Enix's "Rise of the Tomb Raider" were soft upon its release on Microsoft's Xbox last winter, but it sold three times as many units on PC than it did on console in its first month on shelves, SuperData said.

Sales of games downloaded to consoles like Xbox and Sony's PlayStation jumped 30 percent. The console platform drummed up $4 billion in revenue last year.

The segment was helped by sales of add-on content, which introduces new features to existing games, according to SuperData. Electronic Arts' "FIFA 16" derived 88 percent of its digital console revenue from its expansion pack, a greater share than any of the month's other top five games.

Mobile games sales grew 10.5 percent in January, but gains are easing, especially in developed markets, SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen told CNBC. Total revenues for the platform were $25.1 billion last year.

Finnish mobile publisher Supercell continued to dominate the mobile market. The maker of the top mobile game "Clash of Clans" sought to cement its place in the smartphone and tablet category with its latest release, "Clash Royale."

"Over the past year marketing costs on mobile have continued to increase, and Supercell now faces a growing number of both western and eastern publishers with deep pockets," van Dreunen said in a statement.

The industry saw continued sales declines in games played on social media platforms, a category that includes FarmVille, and pay-to-play massively multiplayer online games (MMO) such as "World of Warcraft."

Subscription-based games including MMOs slipped 4 percent in 2015 as free-to-play games — which earn their developers money from premium in-game purchases — continued to dominate PC sales.

Here are the top selling digital titles by category for January 2016.

Digital console

1. "Call of Duty: Black Ops III"

2. "FIFA 16"

3. "Grand Theft Auto V"

4. "Destiny"

5. "Fallout 4"

PC

1. "StarCraft II"

2. "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive"

3. "Fallout 4"

4. "Rise of the Tomb Raider"

5. "Grand Theft Auto V"

Free-to-play MMO

1. "League of Legends"

2. "Crossfire"

3. "Dungeon Fighter Online"

4. "World of Tanks"

5. "DOTA 2"

Pay-to-play MMO

1. "World of WarCraft"

2. "Lineage I"

3. "TERA: Online"

4. "Star Wars: The Old Republic"

5. "Blade & Soul"

Mobile

1. "Clash of Clans"

2. "Monster Strike"

3. "Candy Crush Saga"

4. "Puzzle & Dragons"

5. "Candy Crush Soda Saga"

Social

1. "DoubleDown Casino"

2. "Slotomania"

3. "Candy Crush Saga"

4. "FarmVille 2"

5. "Candy Crush Soda Saga"