SuperData Research has detailed just how successful the video game industry has grown in digital-only games. In the United States the digital revenue of the industry has broken the billion mark at $1.1 billion for the first time ever. The jump is a 15% increase compared to last year.
The entire industry as a whole has benefited greatly outside of social games. The free-to-play browser-based games and phone games often connected to facebook or twitter have suffered significantly. This section of the industry relies heavily on users buying in-app purchases, and for the first time in six months the average spending per user dropped to $40.
Highlighting the successes though, is Grand Theft Auto V and its PC release. GTA V has already locked the most successful game launch ever and even today the quality experience is still appreciated. 441 thousand PC copies of the open-world shooter have been sold in the United States.
The strangle-hold of digital games is beginning already with massive gains in digital sales being reported by Activision ($538 million in Q1 2015), Square Enix ($233 million in Q1 2015), and Ubisoft ($124 million Q4 2014). Electronic Arts has penciled in a $602 million total revenue (year over year) and with the recent release of Battlefield Hardline, the upcoming release of Star Wars Battlefront, and the growing EA Access service on Xbox One, that number will certainly grow.
As it stands now the control of digital games is just beginning and gamers are responding positively to the change. No longer are developers and publishers scared of burning bridges with the relationships between themselves and retailers. The ease of access and improved functionality of digital games make it a bad time for brick-and-mortar stores like Gamestop.