NPD – 36% of US population has downloaded games, 25% prefer digital over physical

By Stephany Nunneley
20 February 2014 21:16 GMT

NPD has released Exploring Digital Gaming report which noted that 16% of the US population has chosen digital distribution over physical game copies.


The firm surveyed over 6,000 people in the US ages 13 and up and found 36% respondents played downloaded games on PC, consoles or handhelds such as Vita or 3DS. Of the group, 16% claimed to only play digitally distributed titles.

When queried over physical or digital preference, 25% preferred digital while 30% still opted for a physical copy. Those unsure of preference came in at 45%.

NPD said digital offerings also increase impulse purchases, something many of us sucked in by a Steam or GoG sale can attest.

“Most digital players, regardless of device, don’t plan their purchases,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. “They purchase simply when they find something they like. But primary console players do have a greater tendency to purchase at or before the time of release relative to PC players.

“As more consumers purchase the new consoles, we expect to see greater digital spending from digital console gamers as consumers indicated that purchasing these consoles will most likely increase their digital spending.”

PC was the most popular system for digital titles, with 90% preferring the format. Of that group, 28% downloaded games for consoles.

Two-thirds of console users claimed to download titles multiple times a year, with 14% doing so monthly.

Thanks, GI International.

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