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NPD report says DLC market is "untapped"

Six per cent of US consumers aged 13-plus have downloaded to console in past three months

A report by US market research group NPD has revealed that 25 per cent of US consumers aged 13 and above have downloaded content to their home computer, console, smartphone, Blu-ray player or other device over the last 3 months, with six per cent doing via a games console.

The six per cent figure is only slightly above that which the report claims for smartphone content downloading, which stands at four per cent. Fifteen per cent of content downloading was done via Mac or PC.

"What we learned in our research is that while some people already experience the world in a connected way, most do not," said senior NPD analyst Russ Crupnick.

"For many who are connecting it is not about the flashiest apps, but more about the fundamentals like web browsing and email. The promise of the connected experience is coming, as prospective Blu-ray owners want their players to come with connectivity, and half of game consoles are already connected. The doors are also opening wider for music, video, gaming and other forms of entertainment."

The report acknowledges that the variety of connectible devices has increased considerably in recent years, allowing a wider range of consumers access to downloaded content and services, especially broadening the games market.

"Today's gamer might be a hardcore teenager playing games online with his friends, a 40-something female playing Farmville on Facebook, or everything on either side of that spectrum," analyst Anita Frazier said.

"We would not have seen this type of audience diversification and expansion if it weren't for connected internet, smartphone, and online gaming options."

The report also highlights Blu-ray players as a 'prime avenue to deliver broadband content to the consumer's living room', as well as indicating a rise in the number of households owning an internet connected television.

The fragment of the study released to press doesn't give an indication of sample size, but states that the data was gathered over a period of two years of research by the group.

Earlier this year, US analysts Nielsen reported that seventh generation consoles had a 41 per cent penetration in US homes.

In the UK, data from GfK Chart-Track - revealed in a management report by retailer GAME yesterday - suggested that digital PC game sales accounted for only 4 per cent of the UK market.

Chart Track has clarified to the figure was from 2009, and an estimate of PC sales only.

"This is simply an estimate of PC games units (digital downloads) compared to the entire physical boxed product model of PC/console software for 2009," said Chart-Track group director Dorian Bloch.

"It does not include digital sales via console or other online services."

GfK Chart-Track does not currently shares digital sales of content in the UK, although it is in the early stages of monitoring the market in conjunction with UKIE.

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