Online card games to earn $1.5 billion this year according to SuperData research

A new report on online collectible card games (CCGs) has provided new insight into how players are playing games like Hearthstone—and how lucrative they are.

Collectible card games will rake in $1.5 billion this year, according to a new report from SuperData research. That's a modest increase of $100,000 from last year, but SuperData projects that the market will continue to grow. The firm projects that CCGs will be worth $2 billion in income by 2020 for their developers.

Almost a third, $414 million, of the 2018 revenue is from North America. There are 13.9 million CCG players in North America according to the report, with that number set to grow to 14.5 million in 2019. SuperData actually projects a decrease in the audience thereafter, returning to the 2018 number in 2021.

Perhaps this temporary bump has something to do with a new player entering the frame—Artifact. Valve's card game is due for release at the end of this year, and could well tempt a ton of Dota 2 players to try a card game for the first time.

Hearthstone had a similar effect on World of Warcraft players, something that has continued to drive that game's popularity. Hearthstone was the most popular game among survey respondents, with 50 percent having played it in the last three months. That's compared to 40 percent for Magic, and 37 percent for Pokemon TCG.

The report also starkly outlines something that's been the case for a while—CCGs are a mobile-led genre. In the survey 71 percent of CCG players were playing on their smart phone, and 44 percent played on tablet. That's compared to 47 percent who play on PC. This ubiquity of platform is another big driver in the success of Hearthstone.

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