During GDC last week in San Francisco research firms NPD, iResearch and Digi-Capital held a talk on digital games sales and revealed some interesting numbers on the space. According to data revealed during the event, digital game and downloadable content sales are growing at a rate of 33 percent year over year in the United States and Europe, while spending in China is expected to grow 10 percent annually for the next three years. Asia is going to be the most dominate region in the world when it comes to online and mobile games by 2016, according to the speakers.
Liam Callahan from NPD said that the USA, UK, France and Germany accounted for $10 billion in sales for 2012. The US has a total of $5.9 billion, followed by the UK at $1.7 billion, Germany at $1.4 billion, and France with $1 billion. Digital content now accounts for 40 percent of the total spend on games in the United States, up from 28 percent in 2010.
The annual spending on games in the United States for new retail games in 2012 was $7.1 billion, or 48 percent of the total of $14.8 billion spent on games. NPD estimates that used games generated $1.59 billion in 2012, digital games and DLC generated $2.22 billion, subscriptions came in at $1.05 billion, social network gaming ranked at $544 million, game rentals generated $198 million, and $2.11 billion was spent on mobile games. New retail game sales dropped over 22 percent from 2011, and used games dropped 17.1 percent. Digital full games and DLC combined grew by 33.9 percent for the year, with subscriptions gaining 12.9 percent, and mobile games growing 10.4 percent.
GamesIndustry has an in-depth report on what this GDC presentation had to say about other things like the growing market in China and what each regions' favorite gaming devices were.
The take-away seems to be that retail is dead even with digital sales at this point. It is not far-fetched to imagine a world in which digital is beating retail sales in a few years, it seems.