Huge Launch for 'Sekiro' Can't Save Games Industry From Digital Revenue Slump

Courtesy of Activision

From Software's action-adventure game outsold the company's previous title, 'Dark Souls III,' in its first month of launch.

Digital spending on video games slumped in March to $8.7 billion, a 3 percent downturn year-over-year, a new report from Nielsen's SuperData Research division estimated on Tuesday.

While PC and mobile sales were both down — 23 percent and 3 percent, respectively — console revenue actually increased 10 percent last month, thanks to a solid launch by From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the continued performance of free-to-play Battle Royale shooters Fortnite and Apex Legends

With 1.4 million digital copies sold across PC and console, Sekiro, the latest game from the Japanese studio From Software, outsold the company's previous release, Dark Souls III, which sold 1.2 million in its first month of launch, according to the SuperData report

Epic Games' Fortnite beat out newcomer Apex Legends, developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA, a similar Battle Royale game that offered new competition. Launched in February, Apex Legends quickly shot up to 50 million players by March — an impressive rise, but still far behind Fortnite's nearly 250 million active player base.

Fortnite saw an increase of 7 percent year-over-year in March, an interesting number given that March 2018 is when the game was made available on mobile for the first time. It remains to be seen if the popular free-to-play title can continue top last year's momentous rise in revenue, as many believe it has leveled off. 

Meanwhile, Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, released in December, generated an estimated $67 million during the first quarter of 2019, driven primarily by its $25 Fighter Pass, an additional purchase that unlocks several new fighters throughout the year for players.