PC Game Downloads Now Half of All Game Sales

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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)

1. Steampowered.com

2. Direct2drive.com

3. Blizzard.com

4. EA.com

5. Worldofwarcraft.com

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.


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    Comment by Anonymous
    12:39 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Its no surprise Steam is #1....

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    13:34 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Downloadable games like Doom back in the days when it was shareware you didn't get the full version you get the Demo version then they link you to there website to buy the full version of the game it sold very well.

    They should of counted Epic Games as well <.<?

    Comment by Setekh
    19:18 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Steam forever.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    14:24 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Without a worthy multiplayer component (cdkey = 100% protection), PC games don't deserve to be bought.

    Avatar of Incognito
    Comment by Incognito
    11:18 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    (Note that this user is geographically isolated)
    Let's see I buy something online with no taxes and wait a few hours for the download.

    Or start coughing up sales tax. Then money for the gas. Then the possibility that the product isn't on the shelf when and if I decide to get there. Note it takes a week for either shipping to store or mailbox.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:05 20/03/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Depends on ur internet. I can d/l most games in 5-20 mins. Also this is for Download games not buy a physical copy of the game. So if ur internet is fast enough, u can d/l ur game faster than going and buying it. With buying it from steam or somewhere, theres usually sales, deals, or coupons so it can be alot cheaper.

    Also, there is much more games on PC that don't have a physical copy or console version.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    20:43 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    lets see here
    60$ for game
    lets assume 30 miles to store
    that is 6-14$ there, possibly more
    lets add 3-5$ tax

    or lets look at 14$ shipping and another 5$ tax

    its 69-79$

    thats why when i buy a game, i always make sure to either have something else to get, that way i get more bang out of the gass$

    Avatar of linkinstreet
    Comment by linkinstreet
    09:12 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Interesting. But then again the NPD study is flawed
    - They don't take account of MMO subscribtion
    - Development for the PC is cheaper since microsoft don't ask you to pay anything if you do it, unlike if you're developing fot the console, thus cheaper games
    - Some of the good games are free indies
    - DLC's are mostly free

    in a PC Gamer report, they argued that the core market for PC gaming, that is FPS, MMO and RTS never changed, IE the market for them is still strong. Just that the other genres has gone cheap or free

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    17:46 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's what I was trying to say. The lack of subscription data is a major oversight by NPD considering the growing share of the market they account for.

    Avatar of PrinceHeir
    Comment by PrinceHeir
    10:57 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    hmm not surprising indeed.

    would have prefer if majority of the console games(like demon souls,super street fighter IV,killzone 2 etc) appear on the PC but that's not gonna happen.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:01 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Proud steam user here.

    Avatar of destructorv2
    Comment by destructorv2
    10:34 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    No the pc sales didn't decline because of that, its because people has played it all, and the other big name titles are still in development, like what Blizzard is doing with Starcraft 2 (ps. if you move that july 27 date, i swear...)

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    09:33 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Perhaps if you guys stopped pirating every...

    Oh fuck it, I know you all wont :\

    Avatar of Master Evil The Return!
    09:59 25/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Am i the only one tired of hearing the same shit with companies blaming piracy for the low sales this year ?
    Where the hell were they when the economy went down ?
    They definitely don't seem to remember that the shit hit the fan and companies became going into debt,people lost jobs and the cost of living raised. Piracy is to the digital world as Prostitution is to the normal world, Its the oldest, so blaming it for this years low sales and not i don't know the recession, I find the rather retarded.

    Next note: when it came to gaming the PC has always been better. The pc can do things that the consoles can't and if you build a good one, it can last as long as a console and not to mention can your consoles push the same graphics a PC has ? I think not, not to mention the things a PC can do that a console can't, the only reason i want a console is because of the exclusive games.

    2nd Note:- All the protections the companies are using are getting overbearing. Like i have to download the entire game in-order to play it........WTF!!??!! do gaming companies think the world is full of godlike internet speeds ? Guess places that have DSL and lower can all suck it because your not fast enough to download a 3 DVD game, sure this way well create more profits and not piss of those who have to spend there money, but i guess thats the way things have to be right ? fighting the pirate war ? Like you can win.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:51 07/10/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Used to be a pirate when I was a poorfag, then I got a job > Installed Steam, I'm having hell of fun playing original games and supporting the industry, most of the games I bought on special sales, I'mean c'mon $5 bucks for games like Fallout 3 GOTY, Fallout NV, Saints Row, Dead Space 1 & 2, & several great games, and some free2play, Team Fortress 2 rocks. Steam is doing great they give good prices for everyone around the world. I live in Mexico and payin $10 to $5 Dollars is more reasonable and more economical viable than paying $70 to $80 dollars just for one game.

    Avatar of Ben
    Comment by Ben
    12:59 15/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The real question here is what counts as a "PC game download"? Would something like CakeMania or some other crap fit under that?

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    20:47 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    not ONE of you mentioned that even if the total $ for online sales is down, MORE money goes back to the devs, apposed to if printed the discs and all that shit, shipped them to retail and than sold them retail.

    Avatar of OhYeah
    Comment by OhYeah
    04:49 25/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thus far I haven't seen many noteworthy PC games. Most of the games I found fun so far were all on console which most of the Japanese companies cater to. (And with good reason, their games are freaking good!)

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    04:49 25/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shows that Activision/Blizzard takes in more money than they pay for server upkeep on WOW.

    How Much Has WoW Cost Blizzard Since 2004?
    http://kotaku.com/5050300/how-much-has-wow-cost-blizzard-since-2004

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:50 25/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Proud pirate here.

    Avatar of Alexeon
    Comment by Alexeon
    07:10 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL That looks like my surroundings.

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    04:29 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They like to blame fucking piracy for everything.
    Hmm console stores are after all what the name implies, only interested in console sales.
    Every time I go to the local game store, you pretty much need to make a fuss to get staff to realize 'yes I actually want you down here in the PC game section'.
    PC titles are considered an unwanted waste of shelf space, they're treated like the unwashed in gaming retail outlets.
    So of course PC gaming is going digital sales, why not, I don't need a fucking store any way.
    I've bought this year alone several PC titles as digital downloads. I mean, I don't need the fucking case the jacket cover and the disc, I just need the program. I also don't really need friggin manuals although some still obsess over the worthless wastes of paper.
    Granted, I ONLY buy from two wargaming publishers, because only they seem to get it, I bought their game honestly and I won't tolerate DRM.
    eLicense is a fuck off and die prospect. Inability to copy is a fuck off and die prospect. Need to go online is a fuck off and die prospect.
    But Matrix Games and Slitherine both use ONLY a serial number and not one other method of annoyance. And guess what, I buy their games.
    Respect the customer, and maybe they will respect you back.
    And piracy will ALWAYS be there. Best you can do is not piss off the people that like you.

    Avatar of bloodlust5
    Comment by bloodlust5
    09:10 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i probably spend more money on pc games then most people. but i am not going to paying $90USD for MW2 on steam fuck that. I am so pirating it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:36 26/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Some games DESERVE to be pirated. Some games DESERVE to be bought. Thats why im totally buying sc2, diablo 3 and any other game developed by Blizzard or Valve.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:57 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I for one, love it when I get a good manual with a game, explaining units / stats / items / etc. in detail. Also good artwork is always nice. Too bad that nowadays if you want the above, you need to go CE.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:27 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It probably has somethng to do with the economy downturn.
    Pc gaming is realitvly cheaper to support.Games are made for longevity and arent 60$ - 40$
    Instead you pay for internet fees which are much smaller to play one game in the same time frame it takes to play several console games.

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    04:34 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anonymous said:
    It probably has somethng to do with the economy downturn.
    Pc gaming is realitvly cheaper to support.Games are made for longevity and arent 60$ - 40$
    Instead you pay for internet fees which are much smaller to play one game in the same time frame it takes to play several console games.

    Factually flawed.

    I recently bought Command Ops Battles from the Bulge from Panther Games published through Matrix Games. 80 dollars. That game cost the company a lot of money to develop. But it's a niche portion of the industry.

    Not all great PC games are MMOs.

    But as for longevity, that is something I can agree on.
    I'm waiting in Civilization V to come out. And that title will likely be as great as Civ IV was.

    Avatar of RunnerRed
    Comment by RunnerRed
    08:02 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    one... more... turn =D

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:39 26/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There is ps3 xbox and wii. In some years there will be ps4 and whatever the other ones will be called. But pc has been in the market for DECADES.

    Avatar of G4tsu
    Comment by G4tsu
    04:49 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So true
    I'm waiting Civilization V. And I want to see Mafia 2. Besides I'm sure a lot of you want to try Starcraft 2. Pc's not dead and will never be. Let the consoles for teenagers whose parents got too much money to waste.

    Avatar of Barbarian of Gor
    Comment by Barbarian of Gor
    04:44 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've not really "Stolen" and that itself is part of the problem. IMO, a bigger part than piracy.

    There's frankly not that much out there that I want, a low enough number that I do buy what I like.

    And I've made countless blog postings and letters telling companies what I'd like to see, getting zero response. Well, if my interests are too small for theirs, fine, no malice but they won't get my business.

    But I love games. I'm actually playing with some construction kits to make what I do want.

    And, btw, there's one new game I do want bad, but it seems to be XBLA only; "Limbo" You might look it up for some vids on the 'Tube...

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:46 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Still waiting for Duke Nukem something....

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    06:04 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You'll wait Forever. lulz

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    20:30 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    sadly it was coming out and still being worked on till the dev went belly up i believe. the leaked a shit load of gameplay for it when they died. game looked amassing.

    sadly i actually was waiting for it to come out.... well hoping would be a better word

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:44 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Budget/re-released games that I missed 1st time around are decent enough entertainment not to worry about what is the most recent iteration of "FPS Flavour of the month that looks pretty much the same as the one that came out last year" whether its console or PC games- my game spending has plummetted.

    Avatar of loli flavoured Ramen
    04:44 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    All hail Gabe Newell!

    Avatar of suckmyoff
    Comment by suckmyoff
    04:40 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I've never been much of a PC gamer myself...I'll stick to consoles.

    Avatar of Maderlulz
    Comment by Maderlulz
    04:23 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    PC game downloads and DLC is the way of the future.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:33 26/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you mean FREE Dlc (like the ones for l4d on pc) then you're damn right

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    03:55 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nintendo,Sony,and Microsoft offer DLC at some reasonable prices.PC market didn't bother to count the Free to play games where people offer donations for fast leveling items?

    Avatar of DHYohko
    Comment by DHYohko
    04:00 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    give it 1 week and Blizzard will jump to #1 with 5 million dl's for SCII

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    04:12 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, probably. ^_^

    Avatar of Ray
    Comment by Ray
    05:53 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, you can pretty much count on any of their games pulling out a record amount of sales.

    I imagine Diablo 3 maybe next year?

    Avatar of TopHat
    Comment by TopHat
    03:55 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Put out some good games and the sales might go up

    Avatar of linkinstreet
    Comment by linkinstreet
    09:06 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    On the contrary, good games does not really mean you have to buy it. Some of the most lauded games on the PC are free indies game

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    04:24 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe i'll consider buying PC games much like albums;
    If it's good, I'll support by contributing to sales. Other than that, soft copy please >_>

    Avatar of Manjix
    Comment by Manjix
    03:48 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Games these days are distributed electronically, which means the game devs are telling people from places with intarnet dl speed of barely 60kB/s to go to hell. Not to mention unstable servers and screwed up servers. I've given up on Steam because it refuses to run even with every single program known to mankind was turned off.

    Gaming industry is heading to hell, YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:08 25/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not today, troll.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:42 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Blame the shit hardware youre running it on, not the program itself.

    Avatar of Manjix
    Comment by Manjix
    12:09 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And that's what usually people reply to me when I say Steam is shit.

    I can run my pirated CnC 3, RA 3, MW 2 no sweat, but Steam just fails.

    It's all about fans.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    20:20 24/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    congrats, steam has a big in it that you need to fix. it happens from time to time, and some times its hard to fix.

    im taking a guess you are running vists or 7, and its a 64bit version? because both have known problems and known solutions.





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