SuperData: In-game spending has slowed down in 2019

SuperData: In-game spending has slowed down in 2019

It would seem that people aren't spending as much money in games as they were.

That's according to research firm SuperData, which reports that in-game revenue has remained the same on PC, while console has declined over the last twelve months. Mobile, the company says, is the only area where there's been a "significant increase."

In 2018, 85 per cent of total spending was on in-game items, with that being just under half - 48 per cent - for console.

This stagnation is apparently the result of a few factors. Firstly, there is less money being spent but more money is being spent proportionally on a few games. There's also the fact that new content isn't resulting in players converting to spenders, while gamers are becoming more wary of monetisation tactics used by some of the big publishers and developers.

"In-game spending as we know it has reached a saturation point," SuperData's research analyst Courtney Sanders wrote.

"Between loot boxes, battle passes, one-time booster packs and individual cosmetic purchases, there is no shortage of in-game monetisation tactics. These strategies, however, are not enticing everyone to purchase additional content. Developers must seek out and identify the best approach for converting players to spenders or earning back player trust that was lost due to poorly implemented microtransaction models. Understanding the state of additional content spending is imperative for game publishers looking to implement such models in their own games. The success of microtransactions depends on game makers constantly iterating tried-and-true methods. While innovation is necessary in order to revive the stagnant market, effective monetisation should never come at the expense of an enjoyable and fair game experience."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.