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PC retail and digitally distributed sales almost equal, says NPD

Wednesday, 21st July 2010 14:02 GMT By Johnny Cullen

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NPD’s announced that sales of PC games last year sold at retail were only slightly higher than those achieved through digital distribution.

The group said that games sold at retailers were down on YoY revenue, but still sold 23.5 million compared to the 21.3 million sold online via platforms like Steam, D2D and more.

NPD also said that sales of digital downloads for PC “represented” nearly half of unit sales across all download and retail last year, with it sharing 38 percent in revenue.

It also shared the top five distributors based on percentage of unit sales. The winner of that was Steam, followed then by Direct2Drive, Blizzard.com, EA.com and WorldofWarcraft.com.

On the casual side, based again on unit percentage sales, the biggest casual digital distributor was Bigfishgames.com, with second going to EA’s Pogo service. The top five was rounded off by Gamehouse.com, iWin.com and Realarcade.com.

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32 Comments

  1. Man_s

    Steam is wonderful. I only buy physical copies of special edition games these days. Not to say I’m a digital distribution only kind of guy, I actually love my collection, but that’s mostly console games. I only play specific kinds of games on the PC nowadays. Guess Valve is doing “alright” then. :)

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    /sings

    “It’s only a matter of time.”

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blerk

    Seems over for PC retail.

    I bought more PC games last year than I did in the previous ten years put together! And they were all digital, none at all were boxed.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    I’m interested in the Onlive numbers in the future.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    I love buying PC games online. They’re priced appropriately and it doesn’t take 40,000 hours to download them through a shit service.

    *stare*

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Man_s

    I agree Mr. Garratt, but let’s wait a bit more I say, shall we? :)

    @ Blerk: I totally know what you mean. Same thing happened to me. Steam promos are not good for the wallet (or they are, depends on the perspective)!

    #6 4 years ago
  7. mington

    I just want a 20 pound per month subscription fee to play everything….Done

    #7 4 years ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    DRM killed the second hand market for PC games, there is no value in buying a boxed product if you can’t sell it on, particularly if you’ve got an eternal backup on the Steam servers for the same price. And Steam sales often have jaw-dropping bargains.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Petulant Radish

    I want to live in a cloud.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. loki

    All equal LOW. FAIL. Don’t see reason to make PC ports. Except: PC gamers can download free games from torrents

    #10 4 years ago
  11. triggerhappy686

    I always buy every game i can on PC at retail. The main decider for me is whether it supports 360 controller or not. Now before people start bashing me for that its worth noting that i do not play any competitive multiplayer, i am first and foremost a single player kind of guy, i did however play co-op on Splinter Cell Conviction to death

    @loki PC ports = true 1080p an other lovley advantages

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Erthazus

    “Don’t see reason to make PC ports”

    that still look better and run smoother on PC? :D Ahahaha.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. triggerhappy686

    @ Erthazus… exactly, its why i ALWAYS play PC

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Blerk

    I’m struggling to come up with a good reason NOT to make PC ports.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Crysis

    OnLive has a great future, or atleast similur services, but for now, Steam, PSN & XBL are what we need for atleast the next several years, cloud gaming is not a perfect choice right now, not with the limited broadband connections & speeds, also i would resent Physical media dying, atleast within the next several years, i would hate to see all games available only through a single service on each platform, it would restrict us in too many ways

    #15 4 years ago
  16. triggerhappy686

    unfortunatley my isp limits me during the day and early evening, bandwidth throttling they tell me, so cloud services are not an option for me :(

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Dralen

    To be honest I like both download and physical copies. However, if publishers made nicer boxes (like the WoW boxes for instance), I wouldn’t even think about downloading my games.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. AHA-Lambda

    @7 – thats basically what i do with lovefilm :P shits awesome :D

    and yeah apart from online shopping, pc retail is dead as far as i can see where i live so yeah steam FTMFW!

    #18 4 years ago
  19. GwynbleiddiuM

    well, hurrah and huzzah for Steam. I mean we have steam to thank for don’t we? I too by games from steam unless their not available there or I want their collector’s edition, on PC mostly. on consoles on the other hand I don’t buy much console games since I rarely play on my PS3 and 360.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. DeSpiritusBellum

    Once people get their internet connections to a certain point, I don’t see retail coping very well. It just isn’t a very attractive product these days.

    Back in the old days you’d get a little novel (like you did with Lemmings) or some funny stuff like that with your cardboard box, but today it really is just a box taking up room.

    Not to belittle peoples love of collecting or anything, but personally I like being rid of boxes taking up space and fiddling about with dvds.

    Oddly, I’m exactly the opposite with music.

    Oh, and how did NPD track those digital sales? They’d pretty much have to conduct industrial espionage to get them.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. xxJPRACERxx

    I just love Steam. Problem is I can’t stop buying games with all these crazy prices they make. I can download game at my full ISP speed of 6.2 MB/s. A big game (8 gig) take less than 30 minutes to download, less time than driving my car to a retail store and come back home.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. bpcgos

    Then We just need to double the NPD sales figures for PC game retail released every month to know that pc game sales arent as bad as analyst says . If it’s all true of course, and I’m absolutely sure that digital sales more than NPD mentioned above (regarding there’s no valid source mentioned by NPD).

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Psychotext

    NPD are the source. They started tracking DD a few months back.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. blackdreamhunk

    I personally feel that microsoft and Sony has done a nice job of destroying pc gaming! I hate microsoft and Sony,epic games,Id soft ware etc. There use to be so many genres of games. So many high end games. However now there there is a lot less

    I buy less and less games these days. The only games I want right is maybe bio-ware games and mmo’s. I don’t I am even going to buy star craft.

    however I think steam is cool really cheap games

    micro soft and Sony was the worse thing that happened to gaming.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. frostquake

    Me and the wife have turned into casual gamers on the Netbook, being that we can’t run anything newer the 1954..LOL, but Look..BigFishGames.com has EVERY casual game at $6.96 for Download…so I got Plants v Zombies on a Sale at $4.00 at BigFish…yet WalMart has all these casual games at $19.96 a piece…so hmmmm pay $7.00 US Download or go to Walmart and pay $20.00 plus Tax….I need to get the most BANG for my buck right now, because I don’t have as many bucks these days!!

    #25 4 years ago
  26. bpcgos

    @22 Are you sure they are the source?? I dont think steam,ea,GOG etc. would allow someone tracking their server every moment, besides digital distributon arent like something we could ask on each retailer one by one then summed it up to get the whole figure.
    The DD only exact source are theirself (steam,d2d, GOG) who maintain their own server, NPD just collecting it,sum it and then tell it to the press.
    And As far as I know, steam doesnt share their sales figure except to their partner developer or publisher. CMIIW!!

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Grimrita

    Im almost certain that DD far out sells PC boxed copies than suggested in this report.

    Go into any LAME/Station store and if you can actually find a PC bay, the selection is poor (The Sims/Warcraft) and the odd couple of other titles – thats it.

    I’ve no doubt that PC outsells most formats and probably STILL outsells PS3 titles.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. OlderGamer

    “I personally feel that microsoft and Sony has done a nice job of destroying pc gaming! I hate microsoft and Sony,epic games,Id soft ware etc. There use to be so many genres of games. So many high end games. However now there there is a lot less”

    “micro soft and Sony was the worse thing that happened to gaming.”

    I agree with the first bit. Maybe not the worst thing that has ever happend part tho. Video games today have become lik ethe music industry of yesteryear. In the it has become less important about the content of the game, and more about the way that content is packaged, marketed and sold. If I had to say the worst thing, in recent memory, that has happend to video games my vote would be the DLC. Locking out content so they sell you codes is wrong on so many levels. You could blame MS for that one I guess.

    “I buy less and less games these days. The only games I want right is maybe bio-ware games and mmo’s.”

    Welcome to getting older. Eventualy most of you folks will look at the local store shelves and shake your head in disgust. Mostly, perhaps, because you will out age the targeted demographic os most video games. Partly becuase there is a severe lack of creativity in the industry and things tend to be rebooted and recycled.

    “I don’t I am even going to buy star craft.”

    Even tho it is not revolutionary in its design, I would still get this game. Far too few games of this calibur are being made. And it is 100% a PC title. Send the industry a message, and get a great game at the same time.

    “however I think steam is cool really cheap games”

    Steam is amazing. Period.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. AHA-Lambda

    “Welcome to getting older. Eventualy most of you folks will look at the local store shelves and shake your head in disgust. Mostly, perhaps, because you will out age the targeted demographic os most video games. Partly becuase there is a severe lack of creativity in the industry and things tend to be rebooted and recycled.”

    i’ve already hut this stage actually and i’ve not even turned 20 =(

    #29 4 years ago
  30. OlderGamer

    Give it 40 more years, Lambda. Your going to feel like a chaperon at your kids jr prom.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. AHA-Lambda

    lol ok :P

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Keivz

    Man, now that we know that DD is probably closer to about 1/3 of retail sales (based on the update to this article posted 2 days later), one can see how completely clueless some posters are with the reality of PC gaming sales.

    #32 4 years ago

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