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Digital PC Games Sales Pass Boxed Sales

The NPD Group announces their research suggests digital distribution of PC games has surpassed sales of boxed retail games over the first half of this year, saying 11.2 million full games were sold via digital distribution, compared with 8.2 million sales of physical boxed copies, though they also point out that boxed sales still generated more than 10% greater revenue than digital distribution, thanks to higher per-unit costs. This is tempered by bad news about overall PC game sales: "Combined sales of both digital and physical PC Games for the first half of this year were down 21 percent, and unit sales were down 14 percent compared to the same time period last year." Just two months ago NPD suggested digital sales were on the verge of eclipsing retail sales, and offered a list of the top five digital distributers, which was refuted by some of the parties involved, but this has not deterred them from presenting almost the same data once again.

Top 5 Frontline Digital Retailers Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)


Top 5 Casual Digital Retailers Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)


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15. Re: Digital PC Games Sales Pass Boxed Sales Sep 20, 2010, 20:14 Erebus
Retailers are becoming less and less necessary to the success of video games or the industry - as they are to the music industry. Unfortunately only a small part of this will make its way to the consumer, as digital distributors are charging every bit as much as retailers to "carry" the inventory, even though they have no inventory carrying costs, shrinkage, physical (box) distribution costs, or manufacturer return allowance.

What will get interesting is when there are lots of competitors for Steam and the other digital distributors, so actual competition means they don't get the beefy cuts they get right now, and the consumer can get a bigger piece of that pie - or the developer, which is what is really needed.
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