PC Full-Game Digital Downloads Surpass Retail Unit Sales


PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2010 - According to the PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report, from leading market research company, The NPD Group, during the first six months of 2010 (Jan.-June), 11.2 million PC Game full-game digital downloads were purchased online compared to 8.2 million physical units purchased at retail during the same period.

The first half of 2010 is the first time period in which sales occurring via digital download comprised the majority of total PC game unit sales. However, games sold at physical retailers continue to maintain a greater share of dollar revenue at 57 percent versus 43 percent from digitally downloaded games. This is attributed to a higher average selling price at retail.

Combined sales of both digital and physical PC Games for the first half of this year were down 21 percent, and unit sales were down 14 percent compared to the same time period last year.

"One major finding from this latest report is that the 'big got bigger' in the first half of 2010, with both Steam and Bigfish capturing a bigger share of full-game PC games digital download sales than they did last year," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "The overall decline of PC games when combining sales via both digital downloads and physical retail sales is impacted by the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options."

PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report segments the PC full-game digital download landscape into two Web-based 'retailer' segments (offers games for download, and with no physical storefront): Casual Digital Retailers, which often focus on smaller, easily accessible games that typically utilize try-and-buy or advertising revenue models; and Frontline Digital Retailers, which often focus on titles that are also offered in retail stores as physical purchases.

Top 5 Frontline Digital Retailers Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)
1. Steamgames.com
2. Direct2drive.com
3. EA.com
4. Worldofwarcraft.com
5. Blizzard.com


Top 5 Casual Digital Retailers – Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)
1. Bigfishgames.com
2. Gamehouse.com
3. iWin.com
4. Pogo.com
5. Wildtangent.com


Information contained in this press release sources from two of The NPD Group's ongoing consumer services covering the games industry:

- Games Acquisition Monitor

The NPD Group's Games Acquisition Monitor is a quarterly tracker which measures both digital and physical forms of games acquisition activity, volume, awareness and usage of retailers and services, as well as other technology and entertainment activities that could influence game acquisition trends. It is based on online survey responses from over 8,000 members of NPD's online consumer panel. Data is weighted and projected to be representative of the U.S. population ages 2 and older.

- NPD Consumer Tracker

NPD collects data on PC game purchases via its weekly video games consumer survey. Each week, over 180,000 individuals are selected from the NPD online consumer panel to participate in one of four weekly studies. The responding sample is demographically weighted and projected through a series of steps to represent the Total Adult (18+) and Total Teen (13-17) U.S. population. Respondents to the survey report whether in the past week they purchased a PC game on a disc or downloaded the game from a website directly to their computers.

Only digital purchases of games from the above websites are tracked in this report. Shipped boxed products from these sites are not covered; information about these can be obtained through our PC Retail Tracking service.

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