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SuperData: MMO players buy most in first month of playing, abandon games in groups

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The awesome people of SuperData have released their findings on MMOs. They classify MOBA and MMORPGs as both being MOBA, which is why they’re able to compare games like League of Legends and World of WarCraft. In a new report, they’ve determined that MMO games will increase more than 13% in 2016 to reach nearly $20B, largely due to increases in RPG, MOBA and collectible card gaming. However, there are some details of the report that I found particularly intriguing.

League of Legends is the highest grossing PC MMO game, bringing in about $150M per month. That’s just ridiculous money. However, there’s a difference in spending in the Asian vs Western markets. While the Asian market dominates in terms of audience size and overall revenue, Western players have higher average spending per player. According to Joost van Dreunen, SuperData CEO, there’s even more nuance to it.

Generally, more than a third of MMO gamers play a title for more than one and a half years before quitting, so maximizing revenue from experienced players is critical. Keeping the player engaged with new content, daily challenges and the ability to manipulate the in-game environment will decrease their likelihood to abandon the game for another title.

The research also says that newer players are “significantly more willing to buy consumable items in game, with 84% of gamers making a purchase within the first month of playing a new title.” This is attributed to players’ desire to progress more quickly, purchasing boosts and currency. Veteran players, on the other hand, are more likely to buy expansion packs, as they’ve obviously explored all the base-game content. As for vanity items, they don’t fluctuate over time – players are always willing to spend to differentiate their character’s appearance.

Beyond spending, acquisition and retention on MMOs is fairly predictable. Gamers tend to abandon games in groups, which makes sense considering that 61% of gamers listed “playing with friends” as an aspect of games that they enjoy. So, it’s much as we see here in our very own comment section – people find, play and eventually abandon games based on the whims of the group.

So which title are we all going to play next? If our office chatter is anything to go by, it seems the Rocket League fascination has passed and people have moved on to Overwatch. But then again, I know everyone is also still mad about Warfare, too. I really need to train my tiny human to only cry at select times so that I can play online again…

Last Updated: June 10, 2016

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