Worldwide digital games market: January 2020

Growing digital games revenue topped out at $9.4B in January 2020, up 3% year-over-year. Mobile earnings rose 13% compared to 2019 levels, offsetting lower PC and console revenue. Console spending was down a steep 42% in the free-to-play segment (due to lower Fortnite revenue) and down 19% in the premium space. January 2020 was a slow period for new console releases compared to January 2019, which saw the launches of Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Resident Evil 2 remake. 

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Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot sold 1.6M digital units, a new record for the franchise. In contrast to recent Dragon Ball titles, which were multiplayer fighting games, the new game is a single-player action role-playing game. The genre pivot helped the franchise attract a wider audience, leading to first-month digital sales that were more than double those of any previous Dragon Ball title. 

Gardenscapes - New Acres climbed to third place on the mobile charts with record revenue of $111.9M. Earnings for the puzzle title from Russian developer Playrix have been rising rapidly and have more than doubled since September 2019. Gardenscapes and its sister title Homescapes are now the puzzle games to beat and currently have greater combined monthly revenue on mobile than all Candy Crush Saga titles.

The new World of Warcraft update Visions of N'Zoth successfully turned around declining user numbers. Subscriber numbers grew 17% from December to January (not including China). However, they were still down substantially (64%) from August 2019, the month World of Warcraft Classic was released. 

January was a mixed bag for battle royale titles. Fortnite earnings continued their gradual decline and hit their lowest level since November 2017. Likewise, a January update to Apex Legends increased console monthly active users by 12% month-over-month, but the game generated less revenue than in December, which saw a successful holiday event. In contrast, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds released its Season 6 update on both PC and console in January, and PC players responded particularly well. In-game spending grew 512% month-over-month on PC after a lengthy period of low spending on additional content.

 
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