Retail strong and digital growing, Sony and Microsoft both pleased – NPD Australia

By Brenna Hillier
12 February 2014 22:36 GMT

The NPD Group Australia’s yearly report shows the local market defying international weaknesses at retail and showing strong digital growth, with both Sony and Microsoft finding reasons to celebrate.


PlayStation was the “most valuable interactive entertainment brand” in Australia in 2013, SCE Australia claimed in a press release.

For the third consecutive year, the brand topped the NPD’s local charts in the total interactive entertainment category. The PS3 was once more the number one selling home console in 2013.

Thanks to a stock refresh last month, the PS4 has recently overtaken Xbox One sales, the platform holder added.

“It has been an enormous 12 months for PlayStation in Australia. These results reflect not only the passion Australians have for the PlayStation brand overall, but also the strength of the individual platforms we have,” Sony Australia boss Michael Ephraim said.

“For PS3 to perform so well, nearly seven years after its launch, is testament to the features, entertainment services and quality gaming titles delivered throughout its lifecycle and in 2013.”

Despite the PS4’s recent lead, Microsoft was happy to announce that the Xbox One was the best-selling next-generation console of 2013. In fact, total Xbox One platform spend outweighed all competitors.

Microsoft Australia’s Jeremy Hinton reiterated that Xbox One had the largest launch of any console in Australian history, and hinted that Xbox One sales may be hindered by limited local stock.

“Xbox One saw higher unit sales of consoles, games and accessories than any other next generation console in Australia last year and topped all prior console launches in the country’s history,” he said.

“Supply of the Xbox One has been limited since Christmas, however we are doing our best to meet demand, especially for Australians looking to join the action with the launch of Titanfall on March 13.”

Nintendo has not issued a response to the NPD’s report.

Retail steady, digital growing
Local trade body the IGEA also found something to celebrate in the NPD Groups’ latest annual report. Overall industry spend reached $1.14 billion as traditional retail – showing no downturn from 2012, a trend that has not been echoed in other markets.

Hardware sales increased 13% year-on-year thanks to the PS4 and Xbox One, as well as the 3DS.

Meanwhile, Telsyte digital sales of approximately $899 million. That’s almost 50% growth on 2012’s figure, and includes digital game sales, downloads, subscriptions and mobile games.

Mobile games accounted for nearly half of all digital game purchases, with Telsyte analyst Sam Yip saying mobile is driving digital growth.

“Consumers spent more than $452 million on mobile games in 2013, with 70% of that on in-game, micro-transactions,” Yip said.

“At this rate, mobile game revenue could exceed that for physical games within a couple of years.”

The total value of the Australian games market in 2013 was about $2 billion, the IGEA said.

“Traditional sales have remained steady across the industry. Despite concerns about retail, software sales recorded over $654 million dollars for 2013,” IGEA boss Ron Curry said.

“The data from NPD Group is encouraging and shows that bricks and mortar retailers have maintained their fundamental role in providing hardware, software, digital content and merchandise to consumers. According to the Telsyte data, more consumers are in fact now purchasing their content digitally and overall we can see that the interactive games and entertainment industry is really thriving.”

    Highlights: NPD
  • During 2013 a number of software franchises including Grand Theft Auto, Battlefield, Bioshock, Tomb Raider and Pokémon have improved their market share significantly over 2012.
  • A new franchise, The Last of Us, entered the Top 10 best-selling titles in 2013
  • Categories like PC Games Sub Cards and Portable Games Cards continue to have significant dollar percentage change improvements (16% and 75% respectively)
  • With only six weeks of sales of eighth Generation Console Hardware in Australia, the value within the category (excluding portables) for the entire year improved 27%
  • Consoles Accessories also improved its year on year total category value during 2013, driven by Interactive Gaming Toys: Skylanders and Disney Infinity
  • Unrestricted computer and video games, which are classified as G, PG or M, made up 55% of all software unit sales
    Highlights: Telsyte
  • Mobile games (upfront and in-game purchases) account for nearly half of the digital games market at $452 million, followed by digital downloads (full games and in-game extras) at $265 million, social/casual games at $98 million and subscriptions (console network and MMOG) at $84 million.
  • Consumers spent more than twice as much on in-game micro-transactions compared to up-front mobile game purchases in 2013. This trend is expected to continue with more freemium games flooding iOS and Android platforms.
  • Consumers are expected to double their spend on digital downloads, subscriptions and services within online console networks in 2014.
  • Steam now makes up over half of all Australian digital games spending in the PC market, largely driven by gaming events, deals and special offers.

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