WoW, Monster Hunter and Madden support an $8 billion digital month for August (SuperData)

League of Legends heads towards worst year since 2014 while World of Warcraft western subs reach their highest (also since 2014).

The digital games market continues to improve, according to analyst firm, SuperData. For the month of August, $8.47 billion was spent on digital games content. The figure is not only up by $0.27 billion from July, but is a seven percent year-over-year increase for the same period in 2017.

Key growth areas that were cited in the latest report included Pay-to-Play PC games and Free-to-Play console titles via World of Warcraft and Fortnite respectively which also offset single-digit declines of Free-to-Play PC and social games.

SuperData reported a monster month for Capcom and Monster Hunter World. The August PC release of the action RPG sold 2 million copies digitally. All this on top of the massive success earlier in the year for the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which launched at the end of January. Unfortunately, this kind of success didn’t translate to Capcom Vancouver, which was shuttered as of last week.

World of Warcraft did well last month, as well. The release of its new expansion, Battle of Azeroth, yielded $161 million for that period, not including pre-sales before its launch. Another bit of good news for the Blizzard MMO is that its subscription base in western territories was the highest it had been since 2014.

Madden NFL 19 sold 664,000 units digitally on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, making it the best launch month for the franchise ever. SuperData did note that an earlier release date than previous years did help the EA Sports title, however.

On the other side of the pendulum is League of Legends. LoL is heading towards its worst year from a performance perspective in four years. Revenue is down 21 percent YoY compared to the same timeframe last year. (Perhaps Riot’s internal issues had something to do with the collective reticence?)

With the series having originally been a cult hit in the west compared to its massive following in Japan, thanks to the success of both the console and PC versions of World, Capcom can now see Monster Hunter as a serious part of its pillar releases going forward. World of Warcraft is continuing to grow more and more back into the juggernaut it once was in the late 2000s/early 2010s.

Madden is Madden, which generally means that it will do well as the flagship video game sports franchise in North America. Though it will be interesting to see how in comparison FIFA 19, which will have a bigger global appeal than Madden, does when September's report is published. And although LoL is going through a downward spiral, with the League of Legends World Championships kicking off in South Korea, there is cause for a potential slight uptick next month.

Johnny Cullen is a freelance writer who has written for the likes of Eurogamer, VG247, Official PlayStation Magazine UK and so many more since 2009. Come talk his ear off about The Last of Us or Metal Gear Solid 3 being the best games ever on Twitter @JohnnyCullen.