Online Video Game Sales Near Parity with in-Store Sales, Report Finds
More PC gamers are turning to the Web to access and download their favorite video games, according to a report from the NPD Group. The company noted that digital download sales are fast approaching parity with physical retail sales.Video game aficionados are increasingly turning to the Web and digital downloads to access PC gaming titles, a report on the subject found. According to the "PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report," from market research company NPD Group, in 2009, 21.3 million full-game digital downloads for PCs were purchased online in the United States, compared with 23.5 million physical units purchased at retail during the same period. While NPD's point-of-sale research shows that PC physical retail sales experienced a year-over-year revenue decline in 2009, retail sales were still slightly larger than PC digital download sales on a unit basis. PC digital downloads represented close to half of unit sales across digital and retail at 48 percent in 2009, and accounted for 36 percent of dollar sales.
The 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 NPD Group classified as often focusing on smaller, easily accessible games that typically use try-and-buy or advertising revenue models; and front-line digital retailers, which often focus on titles that are also offered in retail stores as physical purchases. The report found that front-line digital retailers increased their share of the PC full-game digital download market in the second half of 2009, at the expense of the casual digital retailers.