Report: Physical formats account for 90% of game sales

Q3 figures show physical retail still driving force, but digital continues to climb

Research carried out by the NPD Group has shown that physical format game sales and rentals accounted for 90 per cent of console game acquisitions during the third quarter of 2009.

They also counted for 79 per cent of games obtained for all other platforms, including handheld, PC, Mac and mobile.

The research took into account both new and used game sales and add-ons, as well as game rentals.

NPD also noted that the majority of dual format purchasers - ie, those who bought their games in both the digital and physical formats - are notably younger than other groups of buyers with 70 per cent falling into the 'under 35' bracket.

These dual format purchasers represented just 19 per cent of all buyers, but provided 40 per cent of sales volume.

For digital-only buyers, the percentage of under 35s fell to 46.

"While physical retail product remains the driving force behind industry sales, the role of digital distribution in the games ecosystem continues to climb," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst for the NPD Group.

"Publishers and retailers must keep an eye on the current state of the marketplace and must map ahead for future strategies."

The report also touched upon the issue of piracy, discovering that 4 per cent of gamers questioned indicated they downloaded files from P2P networks - a figure that would represent just over 6 million consumers.

PC and Mac software was by far the most pirated, accounting for 72 per cent of illicit downloads.

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