Research firm Newzoo recently reported that five games dominated the U.S. PC market in April: Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ:ATVI) Hearthstone and Overwatch, Tencent's (OTC:TCEHY) League of Legends, Epic Games' Fortnite, and PUBG Corporation's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).
Hearthstone, a free-to-play collectible card game featuring Warcraft characters, was launched four years ago and attracted gamers with its collectible cards and simple gameplay. Overwatch, a first-person shooter that debuted in 2016, eventually overtook Activision's flagship Call of Duty series in sales.
Tencent's League of Legends, an online battle arena title launched in 2009, remains one of the most popular games for esports tournaments. Tencent also owns 40% of Epic Games, which released the hit co-op sandbox survival game Fortnite in mid-2017. Additionally, Tencent publishes the mobile versions of PUBG, a game that popularized the "battle royale" (last man standing) genre.
All these games have three things in common: They don't require high-end hardware, they're entertaining to watch, and they're available on multiple platforms. Those factors may force publishers to think twice before launching high-end games with blockbuster budgets.