Australian retail games industry slips 23 percent in 2012

New NPD figures reveal that the local games industry recorded sales of A$1.161 billion in 2012, a year-on-year decline of 23 percent. Sony claims PS3 was the highest-selling console during the period.

Industry organisation the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) today announced that Australian game sales achieved A$1.161 billion during 2012. The number represents a 23 percent decline on the previous year, according to market research company NPD Group Australia.

The number is based on console hardware, game software, and game accessories sales made through Australian retailers. It does not include mobile or digital sales (Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Steam, Origin), mobile in-app micro transactions, game subscriptions, or purchases made through online retailers. In 2012, the industry suffered a 12.8 percent slide on the year prior, down to A$1.5 billion from A$1.7 billion in 2010.

iGEA CEO Ron Curry commented that while the figure paints a picture that the industry is slowing, the methods of consumer purchase and consumption habits of game content by players is changing, and is not representative of the industry’s broader health.

“As Australians consume video games across a broader range of mediums, it’s becoming harder to get a true indication of the value of the industry via a single source,” said Curry. “While there is a decline in traditional sales, the gaming industry as a whole remains buoyant as people shift towards a ‘hybrid’ model in their consumption of interactive entertainment.”

Curry also attributes declines at retail to the current console generation--the longest in history.

“Apart from the increasing move towards digital content, the figures released by NPD show a drop in physical sales due in part to the ageing gaming consoles, a trend we saw back in 2005 at the end of the last console cycle.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by analysts at technology firm Telsyte, who are forecasting 18 percent year-on-year growth for digital games, subscriptions, and virtual goods to A$730 million in 2013, up from A$620 million in 2012.

“The growth in digital gaming is driven by mobile app gaming on smartphones and tablets, which is offsetting the decline in physical purchases and even pushing the overall games market into growth,” said Sam Yip, senior research manager for Telsyte, in a statement.

Financial services company PricewaterhouseCoopers confirmed that it anticipates similar positive trends. Its four-year Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012-2016 report predicts growth of the Australian interactive entertainment industry by 7.4 percent over the next four years. The company pegs it as the largest consumer spend area in the country, surpassing music, film, and pay television, and beaten only by online commerce.

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) has used the release of the industry numbers to assert its claim as the highest-selling game device for the 2012 period. According to SCEA, the PlayStation 3 achieved a 27 percent share of total hardware sales, and held the number one spot for software in the region, with its 28.9 percent share.

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 I'm wondering if this trend has anything to do with the restrictive regulation of games in Australia.  What do you folks who live down under think?  I don't follow the issue closely, but I know I've played some games in which certain quests were not contained in the Australian version.  Is it nudity/sex (e.g., the Witcher 2), violence, or some combination?  Perhaps Australians are purchasing games through third-parties and those sales don't show up in the total sales figures


Seriously, we really need to thank the guys who invented the internet. If it weren't for them we would still be forking out a bigger chunk of cash than needed.

Kudos to the geniuses who discovered this wonderful thing called internet. 


Hmm, I bought one game retail in 2012 (ME3). Every other game (probably about 10-15 during the steam Xmas sales), was purchased via Steam. Only problem I have with that is I have to take my computer somewhere else to download my games due to crap house infrastructure we have. 

So, I think it pretty much comes down to who ever is doing these reports needs to do a full report or stop bothering. Or retail outlets need to stop overcharging to try and recapture market share, but I doubt they can compete.


Simple fix.. stop releasing half ass games like re6, aliens colonial marines etc.. quality will sell if people feel like its worth buying. But yes prices are unfair in oz compared to the rest of the world and something they should look into.


Make games the correct price and dont over charge Australians then!

Our dollar is very good throughout the world yet we pay the most for games. 

They wonder why we import them and lose Australian game sales! 


What a shocker *sarcasm*. Buying games retail here is ridiculously expensive, why buy retail when digital and online is so much cheaper.

Nintendo_Man moderator

Retail is dead in this country, it is no wonder GAME went under (I am amazed Ron didn't mention this which no doubt would have had a big effect on physical sales). The drops in the last couple of years also go in hand with the plunge in Wii sales.

Problem Is many Australian retailers are still years behind other countries in their online shopping services and infrastructure.