The lights are on
According to a recent Game Developers Conference event centered on digital game sales, a lot more games are being purchased digitally.
Downloadable content and digital game sales are growing by 33 percent year over year, in both the US and Europe.
The US, UK, France, and Germany are seeing the highest number of sales, with the four regions accounting for $10 billion in total sales in 2012. The US led the way with $5.9 billion. According to NPD games industry analyst Liam Callahan, in the US digital content makes up 40 percent of game sales. This has gone up from 28 percent just two years ago.
In 2012, the total spent on new retail games was $7.1 billion, or 48 percent of the total $14.8 billion. The rest breaks down as follows: used games at $1.59 billion; digital games and DLC at $2.22 billion; subscriptions at $1.05 billion; social network games at $544 million; game rentals at $198 million; and mobile games raking in $2.11 billion.
The talk also outlined that retail sales dropped in 2012, while digital releases, DLC, and mobile games have increased. Those who have been paying attention to recent trends shouldn’t be surprised. January of this year saw NPD release retail sales figures that represented a downward trend. With the popularity of platforms like Steam, Internet speeds increasing, and the prevalence of mobile phones and tablets, it seems like the trend will continue. Even Nintendo has embraced digital distribution for the 3DS and Wii U, with games available for download on the same day they hit brick and mortar store shelves. Nintendo even went as far as to allow stores that sell download vouchers for games to set their own prices for them.
Meanwhile, the iResearch market research firm outlined what's happening in the Chinese market, and the most interesting bit of information is that the market is slowing down. It saw huge growth in 2008 with the market, getting 66 percent larger, but slowed down last year to 19.4 percent.
Other game types aside from MMOs are also becoming more significant, with mobile gaming leading the charge. It’s expected that the mobile platform will make over $1 billion this year.
Some other interesting facts were that 37 percent of Chinese gamers are under the age of 18, and that Chinese game company Tencent made more money than the next nine companies combined, though no monetary figures were released to give a clearer picture on that anecdote.
For more information, sales figures, and general data on how the industry is changing, head over to Game Industry’s full story.