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Games most popular form of digital content, as apps grow fast

Global consumers spent $34 billion on digital games in 2013, says IHS and App Annie -- and that excludes smartphones and tablets, which grew 2.9 times year-over-year.
Consumers spent $34 billion on digital games in 2013, says a new report. It sounds fantastic, but in actuality it's a number that saw only 2 percent growth year-over-year, according to the data. This sum was spent on PC, console, smart TV, and streamed games. Other categories, such as online music and movies, saw much bigger gains. However, the way App Annie and market research firm IHS break down the data has something to do with this: The "digital games" category excludes smartphone and tablet games, which is a very fast-growing category. That category grew 2.9 times year-over-year, the report says. There's some good news for the traditional segment, however: IHS forecasts that subscriptions to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live will push digital revenues for games up to 41 percent of the total spend on games by 2017. It's worth noting that the report lumps together all "apps" -- including games and everything else on the iOS and Google Play stores. That category rose 2.3 times to reach $16 billion in consumer spend for the year in the key territories of United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, and South Korea that the report covers. In Japan, mobile game revenues exceeded traditional platform digital game revenues for the first time in 2013, the report reveals, the only country to break that barrier. Apps are now the leading content category across all digital content in the country, says the report, and app revenues grew 4.4 times year-over-year, and an impressive 5.8 times year-over-year in South Korea. You can see a breakdown of how different territories spend on digital content below. You can download the full report (registration required).

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