NPD: US digital sales total $1.4 billion in Q3

Research group finds revenue from add-on content, subscriptions, mobile games, and social games help bring total consumer spend to $2.87 billion during period

The NPD Group's monthly sales reports do not factor in digital content, and this has led some, including Electronic Arts, to shrug off the firm's findings. Today, however, the research group released the results of its Q3 2012 Games Market Dynamics U.S. report, revealing digital spend in the United States alone accounted for $1.4 billion from July-September.

NPD defines "digital" as full-game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games, and social network games. This segment's $1.4 billion, added to the $1.07 billion from new physical and PC game software and the $399 million from used and rental games brings the grand total for the quarter to $2.87 billion.

"When including overall consumer content spending across both digital and physical formats in Q3 2012, there was a positive story for the industry," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan in a statement. "Despite declines in physical format spending of 16 percent from Q3 2011, strong growth in digital format spending, up 22 percent, helped offset this decline and led to 1 percent decline in content spending from the same quarter last year. Mobile App spending, digital full game downloads, and downloadable add-on content were the areas within digital format spending that helped drive this increase."

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Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Don't believe this.  The NPD has no idea how much games sell digitally because most publishers (read: Valve) don't tell them.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

I would love to see the sources of all that data and what's included where.  Unfortunately NPD keep a lot of that info locked up tighter than Ft Knox.  Apparently a subscription to their actual full reports is stupidly expensive.  Makes me sad panda.

tgwolf
tgwolf

...All those poor uninformed saps, throwing money down on a purchase they will lose once their HDD needs to be reformatted from viruses and so on...Criminal.

RippySLO
RippySLO

Next headline shocker "NPD finds missing 14 million gamers (or whatever number it was).

 

But the question is if this factors in all the digital distrubution platforms (steam as far as I am aware does not release sales data). What about subscription based services like World of Warcraft (you can have a rough calculation here)? And free to play games with microtransactions? Strongly doubt it and companies like Riot (LoL) are making a killing.

 

I doubt NPD even with the digital data shows the whole picture on the PC.

 

 

tightwad34
tightwad34

Yep, sure looks to me as though the industry is on a serious decline. Man, I hate skeptics and analysts who are nothing more than talking heads. There is one bad thing about this, at least to me. That would be that this will make a stronger case for the all digital future.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

Long live Steam. Best thing ever.

nate1222
nate1222

Not a shock.

 

I'm a PC gamer with rather retro (5th and 6th gen) tastes. GOG, Steam and Gamersgate have become a way of life for me. Aside from a few GBA and DS games, I haven't bought a physical copy of a game in years.

ulgk
ulgk

I really don't like AAA games that keep trying to sell its DLC. Why can't games be made completely full, then make another sequel or prequel? Most games these days are garbage anyway.

 

But long live Mr. Hideo Kojima.

blackace
blackace

All those add-ons and DLC add up pretty quickly when you have millions of gamers buying stuff every day. I'm not surprised. Too bad there's no resell value in DD games.

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

digital distribution is on the rise people time to get with the times i welcome the days without that plastic box but thats just me.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Maybe we can stop hearing about how PC sales are next to none when they look at only retail physical copies sold.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

95% of the games I buy are digital. I buy them this way because it is by far the cheapest way to buy them. Getting brand new games on preorder for close to 40% off is something I have only found through digital sales. No one matches the Steam sales. GreenManGaming and Amazon get pretty good deals also, much better than physical copies even if buying used (which doesn't get developers money.)

nurnberg
nurnberg

I am glad that NPD finally did research on digital sales.  Just like many had anticipated including myself, the growth of digital sales offset the decrease of retail sales.  This should shut up the "gaming is deaaaaaad!" doom-mongers.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Eh, it's just NPD.

 

SSJMonkey
SSJMonkey

...wait, what...people still rent games?

Nanomage
Nanomage

 @GamerMani They don´t mention steam(wich by the way it´s the biggest and most profitable DD platform in the world) simply because Valve doesn´t share their numbers,they´re a private company and do what they want and don´t give a rats a** about NPD lol.

Hurvl
Hurvl

 @blackace That's why I only buy games that have extreme replay value and/or strong mod support. I've bought several games through Steam and GoG that were on sale that I might not have bought at full price, but what with the heavy discounts they barely make a dent in my wallet as it is. The fact that I can't resell them doesn't matter much to me, a year or less from now, my economy will hardly see any trace of that.

nate1222
nate1222

 @Toysoldier34

 Yeah. Aside from my DS Lite, I'm a PC gamer. GOG, Steam, Gamersgate... I go digital for a few reasons:

1) Cheap.

2) Convenient; it's all on my harddrive. Most of my PC games are DRM-free (GOG, Gamersgate), so I can save them on my external harddrive if need be.

3) I have retro tastes, and my old favs are only gonna see the light of day in digital form.

4) The PC scene, which has more digital distribution options, doesn't treat backward compatibility like a dirty word.

Hurvl
Hurvl

 @Nanomage  @GamerMani  Nanomage.  GamerMani. The NPD's numbers might be more reliable now, but far from totally reliable. I know that many see PC sales as a minor contribution to the overall sales when compared to console game sales, but the fact still remains that Steam is the most successful digital distributor today and a lot of PC gamers buy their games directly off of Steam or other places than retail. Therefore the NPD, or anyone else, don't know how much PC gamers purchase through Steam and so the misconception of PC game sales being small(er than it really is) in relation to console game sales remain.

 

As a sidenote, I really liked the linked article of EA shrugging off NPD's numbers and at the end of that linked article, there was link to a response from NPD. They said that they were surprised of EA's statements that NPD's data is irrelevant, since they have daily dealings with major publishers like EA and know for certain that they're using NPD's data. Hypocrisy on EA's part or not, it was fun to read about that little catfight and imagine how it would sound like if it was  on Jerry Springer: "Man, you're so irrelevant, totally irrelevant.", "Oh yeah, well if I'm so useless to you, why do you still use me, huh?".