The landscape of gaming is changing, according to a new report from the NPD Group. With over $3.4 billion spent on the first quarter for gaming, just under half was dedicated to digital purchases across all platforms.
"The declines in the physical market for new physical software are well documented," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "But, a broader view of the games industry shows that other physical content sales (the combination of used and rental) declined by just five percent and digital format content sales grew by 10 percent as compared to Q1 2011. While the growth in digital format sales does not yet offset the declines in physical format sales, clearly the changes occurring within the industry are reflected in the trends we are seeing in the research."
NPD found that new physical and PC gaming sales accounted for just over $1.5 billion for the same period, and sales of used titles and rentals brought in another $525 million. If you don't factor in the used and rental categories, digital and physical sales are almost on par. Gamers, more and more, are embracing subscription services, downloadable content and gaming on mobile and social platforms.
The report also goes on to mention how things have been going in Europe, stating that the UK, France and Germany are also making headway on digital gaming purchases. The combined countries spent around $959 million for digital while dropping just over $300 million for rental and used games.
"Relative to the spend in the U.S., we find that the consumer spend on mobile games is still developing in the three European countries we are covering, while the spend on full game and add-on content digital downloads and subscriptions is more highly developed," said Frazier.