If you were in any doubt about whether League of Legends was losing any ground in the battle of the free-to-play MOBAs, or free-to-play games at all, don’t. It earns Riot an absolute truckload of cash, the technical term for the figure researchers SuperData recently published.
It’s all part of their 2015 report into the worldwide market for digital games, which is neatly broken down into the top grossing console games, top grossing PC games and the top grossing mobile games.
Top Grossing PC Games by Revenue, 2015 (US millions)
- League of Legends, Tencent/Riot Games $1,628
- CrossFire, SmileGate $1,110
- Dungeon Fighter Online, Neople $1,052
- World of Warcraft, Activision $814
- World of Tanks, Wargaming.net $446
- Lineage I, NCSOFT $339
- Maplestory, Nexon $253
- DOTA 2, Valve Corporation $238
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve Corporation $221
- Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two Interactive $205
You have to be careful with the figures for GTA 5 though, since that’s PC revenue exclusively. GTA 5 earned Take-Two US$322 million on console alone, putting the game’s combined revenue comfortably over US$500 million. (And that’s not net profit either, so keep that in mind too.)
As for the other segments, they’re largely what you would expect. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare took out the crown for console digital sales in 2015, surpassing FIFA 15 and GTA 5 with a handy US$355 million. The console top 10 was largely an Activision-EA affair, in fact, with only GTA 5 and Fallout 4 (#7) the only titles not under the wings of the aforementioned publishers.
The mobile game sector was still good for Activision too, given their acquisition of King Digital Entertainment last year for US$5.9 billion. Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga combined generated around US$1.2 billion, although it wasn’t enough for either title to break the mobile top 3.
Clash of Clans had the top spot firmly sealed with US$1.345 billion in revenue, which was a good deal less than League of Legends. Supercell probably doesn’t mind though, given that they recouped a handy US$297 million in revenue from Boom Beach as well.
Another fun figure: revenues from PC-based gaming (which encompasses subscription and free-to-play MMOs, free-to-play games like League and Dota 2, social games on Facebook and downloadable titles) earned more than US$32 billion last year, a good chunk more than the US$25.1 billion generated by mobile games.
Update (1:43 PM, 29/01): Riot has reached out to clarify that while being a fully owned subsidiary of Tencent, they are the sole creative force when it comes to League of Legends (despite what SuperData’s description might suggest).
Update (30/01): Clash of Clans definitely makes more than US$1.345 million in revenue (thanks @BillyInsane).