Digital Gaming and DLC up 33% in the US, Europe

By Jorge Ba-oh 29.03.2013 2

Digital Gaming and DLC up 33% in the US, Europe on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

Data presented during this year's GDC has revealed interesting trends into gamer habits over the last year, with digital on the rise.

As the industry shifts towards less packaged and more downloadable products, figures compiled by the NPD, iResearch and Digi-Capital have highlighted a rise of 33% in sales of digital releases and download content in the USA plus the "big" European three - UK, France and Germany.

In the US alone, with contributed $5.9 billion in download sales last year, the figure makes up 40% of all sales. It's a leap from 28% back in 2010.

More interestingly, in 2012 new retail games was less than half the $14.8 billion spent on video games, making a decline in over 22% from 2011, with used games dropping 17.1%. The remaining figures are split between used titles, digital releases, subscriptions, DLC, mobile and rentals.

To put that in some perspective, for 2012 in the US alone:

  • New retail/packaged games - $7.1 billion
  • Used games - $1.59 billion
  • Digital games/DLC - $2.22 billion
  • Mobile gaming - $2.11 billion
  • Subscriptions - $1.05 billion
  • Social gaming - $544 million
  • Rentals - $198 million
The data also delved into play habits, with the UK having the highest ratio of console players, with those in France preferring portables, Germany opting for computers and the US going for mobile/tablets. Those in Europe spend more time playing games than US folk, according to the data.

The spend for digital releases on mobiles was also compared, showing that in the US around 27% of users paid for mobile games, whilst a larger chunk of 40% paid in Europe.

Digi-Capital predicts that games developed in Asia, like mobile, MMO and social, could dominate the markets globally, with more acquisitions from Western publishers into the ever-popular world of online and MMO gaming.

Nintendo eShop releases also seem to be on the rise after the Japanese gaming giant included Wii U and 3DS titles as full digital downloads on the eShop. In Japan Animal Crossing: New Leaf continues to sell exceptionally well, with a quarter of sales coming from downloads at launch.

Whether people prefer traditional retail over digital, the download sphere is growing and absorbing the market at a rapid rate.

Have you leapt onboard the digital train completely or are you hopping off at retail stops for certain releases?

User Poll: What are your video game buying habits like?

Retail/disc only
Mainly retail/disc
Both retail & digital
Mainly digital
Digital only
I use my imagination

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Sounds right to me. Within the past year, I've bought probably over twenty smaller games from Steam, GOG and the Humble Bundles (usually during some kind of sale - those sales are awesome). I've bought probably four or five SNES and N64 games; used obviously. I don't think I've bought a new game from retail within the last year.

I prefer physical copies of the things I buy, but only a few indie games make it into retail stores. Those are what I'm interested in lately. They have fresh ideas and are so much cheaper than big releases (money is tight). Even though I feel like I've bought a ton of games this year, I imagine I spent less than the cost of two full price retail games. Plus, with Steam and GOG, I feel like I'll be able to play my games for many years into the future, even if I my hardware changes. With consoles, you have to keep your old things around and hope they don't die. Nintendo's consoles and a lot of older consoles seem like they can survive a nuclear apocalypse, but my Xbox 360 is toast already. And if my house gets sucked into a black hole while I'm out buying groceries, I still have my Steam and GOG games. I buy a new computer and then I can download everything again. That's nice.

It makes me a little sad that my latest game purchases aren't sitting on display on a shelf, but the pros of digital are worth it for me.

( Edited 29.03.2013 20:01 by TAG )

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Am branching into eShop releases, short and sweet games that don't consume too much time. Also go for used games whenever I can, or on sale at least. I don't think I've bought a full price retail release in a while - Skyward Sword excluded lol.

For me, definitely retail/boxed titles for the foreseeable future, though the way things are going digital will no doubt consume sooner rather than later.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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