NPD: 2012 digital spend half that of physical – and growing

By Brenna Hillier
6 February 2013 01:15 GMT

In a report calculated to surprise absolutely nobody at all, the NPD Group has released figures for US consumer spend on gaming over the course of 2012, noting year-on-year declines in physical spend and a jump in digital.

The 2012 Games Market Dynamics: US study was published today, and as reported by Gamespot, total industry spend in the US in 2012 reached $14.08 billion, a 9% year-on-year decrease from 2011’s $16.34 billion. That’s not a small drop, but we are at the end of a console cycle.

Physical spend on new, used and rental software accounted for $8.88 billion of this total, a 21% decrease on 2011’s $11.25 billion.

Meanwhile, digital spend categories such as full-game and add-on content, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games hit $5.92 billion, a 16% year-on-year increase from 2011’s $5.09 billion and a new record.

As such, digital is now at least half as important as physical for the US market. But this doesn’t even begin to paint the non-traditional picture.

“When including all other forms of content spending outside of new physical games, the 2012 US games market was more than twice as large as the total spending on new physical games alone,” the NPD’s Liam Callahan said.

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