According to research firm DFC Intelligence, digital sales of games will surpass that of retail by 2013.
In an interview with VentureBeat, DFC cited the 2008 financial crisis as the reason for “a big shift from $60 console games to free-to-play games played online via PCs.”
The firm expects to see sales of games worldwide to hit $81 billion by 2016, but it said it expects to see digital gain momentum due to the fact that Sony and Microsoft are not planning to release next-gen consoles until 2014.
“The issue is Sony and Microsoft don’t feel like they’re in a hurry to introduce new consoles,” said DFC’s David Cole, adding that Wii U will see strong sales, but not as big as market penetration as Wii.
The industry will grow by three percent this year, according to DFC, but retail sales will probably drop to $43 billion within five years.