Electronic Arts (EA), Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and other video game makers were off to a slow start this holiday shopping season, but new research from SuperData Research shows global interactive entertainment revenue is forecasted to reach $91 billion in 2016.
According to SuperData, mobile games are driving the growth in the video game market while virtual reality is still struggling to find its place in the market. The $91 billion projection includes sales of mobile games, console games, game content and ones played on personal computers. It also includes sales from virtual reality and eSports. (See also: EA Bulks Up Sports Brand With NBA LIVE Mobile.)
SuperData is projecting mobile games to account for $40.6 billion of the sales in 2016, driven by wildly popular games including Pokémon Go and Clash of Clans. But while mobile games are leading the market, it is getting more costly to lure customers to the growing number of game choices, putting more pressure on game makers in the new year. "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, according to a CNBC report.
On the PC gaming front, SuperData is projecting sales will come in at $35.8 billion, with roughly half of the revenue from games that don’t charge an upfront payment but feature in-game purchases of items. As for eSports, SuperData is forecasting sales to reach $892.4 million.
Looking out to results for the month of November, which includes the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend, SuperData reported total sales from digital games increased 13% from $6.7 billion in the year-ago period. Demand was driven by downloads of games including Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Electronic Art’s Battlefield 1.
As for virtual reality, which most game makers and industry watchers are excited about, consumers aren’t yet embracing it wholeheartedly. SuperData is forecasting sales of virtual reality to come in at $2.7 billion for the year, with the lack of demand being driven in part by the inability for game makers to come out with a killer game or content for that market.
While Activison and EA are seeing demand for their latest titles, questions abound about how they will fare this holiday season. With a few more days until Christmas, data should be trickling in soon, putting questions about sales during the all-important holiday season to rest.