SuperData's just released its 2017 Year in Review for Digital Games and Interactive Media. You can get it for free, and it's jam-packed with numbers galore that describe the financial state of the gaming industry, past, present, and future. The issue is, some of those numbers -- the ones we can check, anyway -- appear to be completely fabricated.
Of particular interest to MMOBomb is the list of "Top free-to-play PC games by revenue, 2017," found on page 10. League of Legends tops the chart, but it's what's at #9 that is confusing. SuperData lists Blade & Soul as having made $178 million in revenue in 2017. We're still a couple of weeks out from getting the newest NCSoft financial reports, which will include revenue from the last three months of last year, but for the first nine months of 2017, Blade & Soul brought in 121,616 million Korean won (mKRW). Going by the current exchange rate -- which didn't fluctuate too much throughout 2017 -- that's about $113 million.
So, for SuperData's assessment to be correct, B&S would have to bring in $65 million in Q4, or about 70,000 mKRW. That's nearly half of what it made over the other nine months, and its best quarter to date was 54,010 mKRW, when it launched in North America and Europe. So, for SuperData's prediction to be correct, Blade & Soul would have to have its best quarter ever, by a significant margin. That seems unlikely.
Then there's the "Top premium PC games by revenue" chart on page 12. There, Guild Wars 2 -- which SuperData has never acknowledged as being free-to-play, for some reason -- is listed as having brought in $87 million. It brought in $44.6 million through the first nine months of 2017, so it would have to have effectively doubled its revenue in its last three months. True, there was an expansion, which launched near the end of Q3, so it's possible that it might get a slight boost, but it would have to have its second-best quarter ever, beaten only by its ridiculous second quarter on the market, back in Q4 2012, to make SuperData's prediction. Again, that's just not happening.
That chart raises another interesting question: Where's World of Warcraft? It should be a "Top premium PC games by revenue"; it brings in more than an inflated GW2, at the very least. In fact, WoW isn't mentioned anywhere in the report. I guess it wasn't a significant game in 2017!
The report has a lot of other things to say, about esports, Twitch viewership, virtual reality, and the global games market in general. But when it can't get such basic and easily disprovable data points right, it calls into question the reliability of all of its numbers.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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