Digital Downloads of PC Games Surpass Retail Sales in Terms of Units

Gamers Prefer Downloads to Retail Stores

by Anton Shilov
09/27/2010 | 05:33 PM

According to the PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report, from NPD Group, a market research company, during the first six months of 2010, 11.2 million PC game full-game digital downloads were purchased online compared to 8.2 million physical units purchased at retail during the same period.

 

The first half of 2010 is the first time period in which sales occurring via digital download comprised the majority of total PC game unit sales. However, games sold at physical retailers continue to maintain a greater share of dollar revenue at 57% versus 43% from digitally downloaded games. This is attributed to a higher average selling price at retail.

Combined sales of both digital and physical PC Games for the first half of this year were down 21%, and unit sales were down 14% compared to the same time period last year.

"One major finding from this latest report is that the 'big got bigger' in the first half of 2010, with both Steam and Bigfish capturing a bigger share of full-game PC games digital download sales than they did last year. The overall decline of PC games when combining sales via both digital downloads and physical retail sales is impacted by the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst with the NPD Group.

PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report segments the PC full-game digital download landscape into two Web-based 'retailer' segments (offers games for download, and with no physical storefront): Casual Digital Retailers, which often focus on smaller, easily accessible games that typically utilize try-and-buy or advertising revenue models; and Frontline Digital Retailers, which often focus on titles that are also offered in retail stores as physical purchases.