According to a new report (Q1 2012 Games Market Dynamics: U.S.) from research firm NPD Group, estimated total consumer spending on used and rental game content in the first quarter of 2012 reached $525 million, and content in digital format (full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games) generated $1.38 billion. This is in addition to the $1.5 billion spent in the U.S. by consumers on new physical video and PC game software.
"The declines in the physical market for new physical software are well documented," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "But, a broader view of the games industry shows that other physical content sales (the combination of used and rental) declined by just five percent and digital format content sales grew by 10 percent as compared to Q1 2011. While the growth in digital format sales does not yet offset the declines in physical format sales, clearly the changes occurring within the industry are reflected in the trends we are seeing in the research."
The data is similar to data from the UK, France and Germany that shows that the consumer spending on other forms of physical games content outside of new physical retail sales totaled $300 million (used and rental) while digital format sales in those three countries (full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games) generated an additional $959 million in sales during Q1 2012.
"Relative to the spend in the U.S., we find that the consumer spend on mobile games is still developing in the three European countries we are covering, while the spend on full game and add-on content digital downloads and subscriptions is more highly developed," said Frazier.