The London Games Conference is taking place this week in – you guessed it – London, where attendees will be discussing the digital transition, among other topics. To get people in the mood, the organization (in collaboration with MCV) polled 1,000 industry executives on when they thought digital sales would overtake retail sales. If the results hold up, it could be sooner than you think.

More than half (57 percent) of the respondents thought that digital distribution with surpass traditional retail sales by 2015. Two-thirds of those surveyed said that retail would always have a role in the games industry, regardless of the growing popularity of digital distribution. As MCV’s editor in chief, Michael French, points out, 2015 isn’t an arbitrary date.

“This date also coincides with when many expect the next wave of games console hardware to hit the market – could the next Xbox and PlayStation help drive the switch to digitally-dominated games?” French asks. “We might just find out the answer to that at this week's London Games Conference, with insight to come from global retail giant GameStop, the world's biggest digital distributor Steam, Xbox, OnLive and many others.”

Here’s the complete breakdown for the survey, which asked "In which year will digital sales overtake sales of boxed product?"

  • 2011                       3%
  • 2012                       13%
  • 2013                       23%      
  • 2014                       18%
  • 2015                       19%
  • 2016                       8%
  • 2017                       1%
  • 2018                       7%
  • 2019                       1%
  • 2020                       4%
  • 2025                       3%