Each month the NPD releases information on what the top-selling games of the month are. Unfortunately, they never factor in the slowly growing digital downloadable numbers. We have to rely on and hope that a game’s publisher will release the information on how well a game sold digitally and this rarely happens. Thankfully, we’ve gotten a nice little update on how the digital side of game sales is faring. It’s always nice to know that the digital numbers aren’t being completely ignored.
According to NPD, iResearch, and Digi-Capital analysts, digital content sales in the US and Europe are growing 33 percent year over year. They also project that China, which is almost nothing but digital sales, should grow by 10 percent each year for the next three years. This should lead into an estimated dominance of online and mobile games by Asia in three year’s time.
NPD games industry analyst, Liam Callahan, had a very interesting breakdown of digital sales across the US, UK, Germany, and France. These four countries alone made for an impressive $10 billion haul last year, with the US accounting for more than half of that with $5.9 billion. The UK, Germany, and France made $1.7 billion, $1.4 billion, and $1 billion, respectively.
He also pointed out that new game sales at US retail stores account for less than the combination of other methods of sales. To be specific, retail accounted for $7.1 billion out of $14.8 billion in new game sales in 2012. The other aforementioned methods include $1.59 in used game sales, $2.22 billion for DLC and downloadable games, $2.11 billion in mobile games, $1.05 billion in subscriptions, $544 million for social networking, and $198 million in game rentals.
While most of those figures are indeed impressive, new game sales have taken a pretty good hit, seeing a 22 percent drop from 2011. Used game sales have seen an 11.7 percent fall, undoubtedly a bright spot for publishers who are always in opposition to used game sales. It’s not all about declines, fortunately, as subscriptions have seen a 12.9 percent increase and mobile games saw a 10.4 percent bump.
While 2012 was a down year for games sales, the fact that digital sales are growing at a pretty healthy clip is encouraging. It shows that it’s an industry that is a legitimate financial powerhouse that can keep up with the constantly-changing world of technology. Can you imagine when download speeds increase and bandwidth restrictions decrease how much digital sales will increase?
Let us know how you feel about digital sales in the comment below.