Superdata – 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year

2017 was absolutely gaming's most successful year. As consumers, it’s often hard for us to really measure how well (or how badly) the gaming industry is doing. Over the course of 2017, we would initially assume the games industry took a few hard knocks. Major league titles like Shadow of War and Battlefront II both took a lot of criticism for their marketing practices. It’s all too easy to forget the leaps and bounds being made in mobile gaming, the more than steady progression in VR user base and the plethora of high profile titles that absolutely killed it. In their latest report, Superdata walks us through the highlights of the year. Highlights that indeed, make 2017 gaming’s biggest year yet.

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year

To be clear, the report compiled by research organisation Superdata, explores data and trends in all things gaming. This includes trends in digital games and interactive media, including the year-end figures for mobile, PC, console, and esports games, as well as gaming video content like YouTube and Twitch. 

Joost van Dreunen is CEO of Superdata and has the following to say about 2017’s games industry, “This year the games industry grew in nearly every category we measure. PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds is clearly the year’s big success story, with the game earning $332 million more than its second-place competitor, Overwatch. Esports also experienced significant audience and revenue growth, driven by the sustained success of huge titles like League of Legends. In all, the already-in-demand mobile and free-to-play markets continued to rise, while VR and esports made strides in entering the mainstream market.”

Mobile Gaming And Free To Play Economy

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - Mobile gaming domination

One in three people on the planet play free to play titles on PC and mobile platforms. That’s a staggering 2.5 billion worldwide. While the medium of gaming may not be for all of us, there’s no denying its firm grip on the industry. This category alone, between mobile and PC gaming markets worldwide is now raking in $82 billion dollars. The figure is likely to rise yet further as we move into the tail end of 2018. That trend is fairly clear to see when we take into account games like 
Arena of Valor and Fantasy Westward Journey, from Asian publishers like Tencent and NetEase, contributed to a 31% year-over-year growth for the worldwide mobile market. This all means consumers across the world spent $14 billion more on mobile gaming in 2017 than they did in 2016.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Seizes Top Position In Profits 

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - PUBG

It’s official. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the most commercially successful title of 2017. This is particularly impressive as, for most of its lifespan so far, it has only been available on the singular platform – PC. In the eight months following its release, Battlegrounds generated $712 million. The battle royale format of multiplayer design would reinvigorate gaming audiences for titles like Fortnite and Knives Out

E-Sports Continues Its Rise To Power

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - Overwatch League

Of course, it is pretty clear to see the commercial success of E-Sports continues to grow. It is becoming more and more prominent in gaming media across the web. One large reason for that is largely due to its increasing audience worldwide. For videogames to be a medium equally respected as Hollywood, it seems they don’t have far to go. After all, 2017’s Game Awards enjoyed a far larger audience tuning in to watch from around the world. As far as E-Sports are concerned the Overwatch League has helped the medium come leaps and bounds in worldwide recognition. On top of the existing E-Sports scene surrounding League of Legends, the entertainment medium could well be shown on national television before too long. A sizeable audience of 258 million viewers tuned in to enjoy matches over the course of 2017.

VR Gaming Experiences Cement Themselves Into The Industry

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - PSVR

At the end of 2016 there was much scepticism for VR. Many believed it was too gimmicky or just too expensive. However, over the course of 2017 we have already seen price reduction in the first generation, commercially viable entertainment tech. Extended Reality (XR) tech designed for our living rooms enjoyed a revenue increase of 37% last year.  Steep Oculus Rift price cuts boosted sales and allowed the headset to outsell HTC’s Vive during the year. In the console space, PlayStation VR enjoyed positive momentum as gamers jumped at the chance to play major game franchises like Resident Evil and The Elder Scrolls in VR. Stephanie Llamas, VP of Research and Strategy at SuperData Research says “VR still has a ways to go to earn a larger share of the consumer market, as we saw more investor money go to augmented and mixed reality than VR last year.”

Gaming Video Content (GVC) Fluctuates Online 

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - GVC Competitors

YouTube can be seen to have treated its more committed channels harshly this year with punishing new policies. Regardless of whether it had any long term effect on the bigger channels, it could well have swayed many budding new video entrepreneurs into a different scene. Superdata reports that Twitch’s audience displays more committed engagement and feels more willing to spend money on those they follow. Twitch’s audience accounted for 51% of the platform’s GVC revenue. Whereas YouTube’s audience only saw to 20% of its GVC revenue. The rest came from advertising (69%) and sponsorships (11%)

Superdata - 2017 Was Gaming’s Biggest Ever Year - GVC Stats

Going back to YouTube’s falling numbers, its GVC revenue has plummeted a whopping 50% year on year after struggles with problematic new monetisation policies and user backlash. It became clear to potential new start ups that YouTube had become a platform less welcoming to them than previously anticipated. As such, the more attractive destination became Twitch. 

To get a quick breakdown of 2017 in review, check out out our “Breaking Down 2017’s Biggest Gaming News” article. Some of the statistical images you see in this article come from Superdata Research. You can check out their full report for a more thorough breakdown of 2017’s gaming industry fluctuations. 

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