The Research & Analysis division of analyst firm Forecasting & Analyzing Digital Entertainment, LLC (FADE) has announced their first-ever downloadable content (DLC) report for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

By mid-May 2011, FADE estimates that console DLC has generated over $1 billion USD in revenues between both consoles, playing an integral role in the health and economy of the video game industry. Revenues favor the Xbox 360 slightly, as the Xbox 360 has generated an estimated $750 million USD to Playstation 3 estimated at $640 million USD.

DLC Has a ‘long way to go’ in reaching peak market penetration

FADE notes in the report that the average time to launch DLC is between 180 and 190 days after release of the retail title. Despite this, many developers are seeing success launching content sooner than the average. FADE notes major successes in rollouts such as Call of Duty: Black Ops’ “First Strike” map pack, which released just 89 days after launch, and has seen an estimated 2.6 million downloads by mid May on the Xbox 360 – attaching to approximately 21% of all owners of the title. Multiplayer games aren’t the only ones seeing significant success in regards to sales, as multiple releases from Bethesda’s ‘Fallout 3′ and BioWare’s “Mass Effect 2″ have yielded 3.9 million and 1.6 million downloads, respectively. “Average attach rates among all downloadable content are roughly 10%, but top-tier titles are attaching at 15% or even 25%,” said FADE Director of Research & Analysis Benjamin Schlichter.

Estimated Top 5 Life to Date Downloadable Content Items, by Estimated Revenue

  • Xbox 360 – Call of Duty: Black Ops (First Strike Map Pack) – Treyarch / Activision – 2.6 Million Downloads
  • Xbox 360 – Grand Theft Auto IV (The Lost & The Damned) – Rockstar Games / 2K Games – 1.5 Million Downloads
  • Xbox 360 – Halo 3 (Mythic Map Pack) – Bungie / Microsoft – 2.6 Million Downloads
  • Xbox 360 – Halo 3 (Legendary Map Pack) – Bungie / Microsoft – 2.5 Million Downloads
  • PS3 – Grand Theft Auto IV (The Lost & The Damned) – Rockstar Games / 2K Games – 1.2 Million Downloads

Note: Top 5 is based on DLC items that include achievements/trophies and may not be an exhaustive list.