Interactive entertainment projected to total $91 billion in 2016, report says

Pokemon Go app on an iPhone, Tokyo, Japan, July 22, 2016.
Toru Hanai | Reuters

Global interactive entertainment revenue is projected to reach $91 billion this year, with blockbuster mobile games driving a digital gaming boom, but with virtual reality struggling to find its footing, according to a new report by SuperData Research.

The total includes sales of games downloaded to mobile devices, consoles and PCs, as well as revenues from virtual reality, video content and eSports.

Mobile gaming will have led the pack with $40.6 billion in revenue, a figure that was firmly underpinned by the performance of hits like Niantic's "Pokemon Go" and Supercell's "Clash of Clans."

With a handful of hits dominating the space, the cost of attracting users is rising.

"The mobile games market has started to mature and now more closely resembles traditional games publishing, requiring ever higher production values and marketing spend," SuperData said.

The story is similar for PC gaming, which is projected to have earned $35.8 billion, about half from free-to-play titles, which don't charge up front but make money when users buy items within the game. Top performers like Riot Games' "League of Legends" still dominates after years atop the charts, making it tough for newcomers to crack into the top space.

It was a sobering year for virtual reality, which drummed up about $2.7 billion, according to SuperData. The category was hobbled by product launch hiccups among early movers like HTC Vive and Facebook's Oculus Rift . Developers also failed to produce the so-called killer content that helps a new platform gain traction.

"A high price point, the absence of a strong content line-up, and difficulties with properly delivering through retail cooled consumers' expectations of the Oculus," SuperData said.

Gaming-focused video content, featured on websites like YouTube and Amazon's Twitch, is projected to have grown revenue 35 percent from a year ago to $4.4 billion. That includes $2.4 billion in ad revenue and $1.1 billion in donations from fans of players who stream their gameplay online.

Revenues from competitive gaming, known as eSports, is projected to have reached $892.4 million, mostly underwritten by brand sponsorships. The year saw TBS premiere eSports programming on television, the debut of eSports betting in Las Vegas and the purchase of eSports teams by the owners of mainstream sports franchise owners.

November 2016 Digital Gaming Sales

Total revenue from digital gaming in November grew 13 percent from a year ago to $6.7 billion, SuperData also reported Wednesday.

Games downloaded to consoles like Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox grew 35 percent, driven by the release of "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare," the latest in Activision's blockbuster franchise, and the continued strength of EA DICE's "Battlefield 1."

Mobile games also saw solid growth of 19 percent in November, though SuperData warned winter weather could cut into the take from top-earner "Pokemon Go" because the title relies on players hitting the streets.

Free-to-play massively multiplayer online titles saw more tepid year-over-year gains of 3 percent, while subscription-based MMOs slumped 22 percent.

PC gaming sales were up 18 percent, driven by mainstay titles and dragged down in part by "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare," which struggled on the platform compared with its strong console performance.

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


1. "League of Legends"

2. "Crossfire"

3. "Dungeon Fighter Online"

4. "World of Warcraft"

5. "Battlefield 1"

6. "Overwatch"

7. "World of Tanks"

8. "DOTA 2"

9. "Fantasy Westward Journey Online II"

10. "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive"


1. "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare"

2. "Battlefield 1"

3. "FIFA 17"

4. "Grand Theft Auto V"

5. "Call of Duty: Black Ops III"

6. "Watch Dogs 2"

7. "NBA 2K17"

8. "Madden NFL 17"

9. "Gears of War 4"

10. "Destiny"


1. "Pokemon Go"

2. "Monster Strike"

3. "Clash Royale"

4. "Clash of Clans"

5. "Mobile Strike"

6. "Game of War: Fire Age"

7. "Fantasy Westward Journey"

8. "Puzzles & Dragons"

9. "Candy Crush Saga"

10. "Clash of Kings"