Digital revenues continued to widen their share of the global game console software market to 62.8% in 2019, a dynamic that is putting additional power into the hands of the console manufacturers.
Our analysis of digital software includes downloadable games, add-on content and virtual currency, but does not include subscription services like PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass or Nintendo Switch Online. By excluding service revenue, our methodology provides an apples-to-apples comparison with the legacy disc-based software market.
In 2018, digital software revenue for consoles surged 54.1% to $16.41 billion as the Fortnite phenomenon emerged. The free-to-play shooter's main revenue source is virtual currency, which is used to buy cosmetic changes for players' characters and weapons.
However, we estimate digital revenue was effectively flat in 2019 as Microsoft and Sony signaled that revenue driven by free-to-play games started to waver in the back half of the year. Even so, digital sales expanded their share of the console software market as revenue from physical copies of games fell 11.1% year over year.