KEY POINTS

  • Free-to-play games accounted for $87.1 billion in revenue for 2019
  • "Fortnite" was the top earning free-to-play game for 2019 with $1.8 billion in revenue, a drop from 2018's $2.4 billion
  • Other top earning free-to-play titles included "League of Legends" and "Candy Crush Saga"

Despite a drop in year-end revenue from 2018, “Fortnite” remained the highest earning video game property of 2019 in a new report.

The report comes from research firm SuperData, providing overall financial results for the video game industry in 2019. As a whole, digital games brought in $109.4 billion in revenue across mobile, PC, and console. Free-to-play games accounted for a majority of the $109.4 billion, pulling in $87.1 billion as part of an overall 6% increase from 2018.

“Fortnite” topped SuperData’s list of games with $1.8 billion in revenue among free-to-play games. This was credited to consistent content drops and game updates that brought significant changes to the game. SuperData specifically mentions the battle pass feature, which has since been adopted by other games like “Destiny 2” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.”

It was also successful with getting players to spend money more than other free-to-play games, despite a smaller player base.

“While ‘Fortnite’ has fewer players than ‘League of Legends,’ ‘Fortnite’ players on PC are more than twice as likely to spend on in-game content as the ‘League of Legends’ audience,” SuperDate said.

“Fortnite” still experienced a 25% drop in revenue from a record-setting 2018, where it pulled in $2.4 billion. However, SuperData asserted this was from the game “stabilizing” and it still accounted for 80% of the digital games sphere.

Other big free-to-play earners included “League of Legends,” “Pokemon GO!,” and “Candy Crush Saga.”

One area that did experience a notable decline was premium game revenue, which pulled in $18.9 billion as part of a 5% drop from 2018. The drop was credited to a 2019 release calendar that had fewer AAA titles compared to 2018. However, SuperData predicted a bounce back up to $19.8 billion on the backs of titles like “Cyberpunk 2077,” “The Last of Us Part II,” and new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.