Digital sales of retail PC games now all but equal retail sales in the US.
US sales tracking organisation NPD announced PC game downloads to have reached 21.3 million units in 2009, 48% of the total. Physical sales lead with 23.5 million. However, these sales only amounted to 36% of dollar sales, suggesting lower unit prices.
Meanwhile, total game sales plummeted 23% in 2009 to $538 million, most probably due to the economic climate and ongoing decline of the PC gaming market.
Traditional game sales charts do not reflect sales of digital content well – NPD is reportedly investigating better ways of including these as the digital distribution market continues to grow.
NPD also provides estimates of the market position of the top “frontline” (non-casual games also sold at retail) digital gaming content sellers on the PC platform:
Top 5 Frontline Digital Retailers –2009 (based on unit % share)
Were consoles included in this ranking, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would likely head the list.
Despite the healthy growth in digital sales on the PC, the PC gaming market is still a shadow of its former self – 2001 retail sales came to $1.6 billion, a decline many attribute to rampant piracy on the platform.