PC beats out mobile to become 2015’s highest digital earner

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PCmoney

We keep hearing how Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the best-selling game of 2015 – and that’s very likely true. It’s definitely the retail sales champ, and it’s come up as the best-performing title on Sony’s PlayStation Store – but how is it performing if we consider more in the way of digital distribution?

Honestly? Pretty damned well. According to the fine chaps at SuperData, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the top digital earner on consoles. That’s not to be sneezed at, when we consider how much the digital marketplace is growing.

“Worldwide market for digital games totals $61B across platforms, up 8% year-over-year. Following a stellar holiday season for the games industry, total sales reached a record high in 2015. Sales of digital console games showed the biggest jump and were up 34%, despite being one of the smaller categories at $4B annually,” says SuperData.

But what of the PC market? The digital PC landscape is very, very different. The top earning game on PC is League of Legends, from the Tencent-owned Riot Games. In fact, it was the highest earning game overall, besting even the best-earning mobile games, like Clash of Clans.

“Earning $1.6B in 2015, League of Legends is the world’s highest-grossing digital game. Riot’s League of Legends shows no signs of slowing down as December proved to be the game’s highest-earning month in its history.

Close followers were Clash of Clans ($1.3B), CrossFire ($1.1B) and Dungeon Fighter Online ($1.05B) rounding out last year’s titles that earned over a billion dollars. Despite not being a household names in the west, games like CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter Online perform well thanks to the strength and momentum in markets like South Korea and China.”

PC gaming is where the money really was in 2015 – though comparatively little of it came from traditional games. Instead, it’s largely from MOBAs, MMOs and other subscription and free-to-play games.

“The top 10 PC games earn more than the top 10 mobile games. Despite a heavy industry focus on mobile gaming, the combined earnings of digital PC games for the top titles came in higher, totaling $6.3B in sales compared to $6.18B for mobile. PC-based gaming–consisting of free-to-play MMOs, subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, social games and PC downloadable games–earns over $32 billion annually, well above the $25.1 billion generated by mobile games.”

Here are the number by platforms, in millions of USD.

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, Activision, $224
  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

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

Last Updated: January 26, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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