Digital downloads for PC surpassed boxed sales for the first six months of 2010, with 11.2 million games sold digitally versus 8.2 million sold at retailers. Also, for the first time ever, digital downloads accounted for the majority of PC unit sales, according to a new report from leading games industry analysts NPD Group,
“One major finding from this latest report is that the 'big got bigger' in the first half of 2010, with both Steam and Bigfish capturing a bigger share of full-game PC games digital download sales than they did last year," said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier in a statement to the press. "The overall decline of PC games when combining sales via both digital downloads and physical retail sales is impacted by the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options.”
Physical game sales still made up 57 percent of dollar revenue, compared to the 43 percent from digital downloads, but this disparity is attributed to the generally higher price of games at retail stores compared to digital distribution channels. Overall PC sales for the first six months of 2010 saw a drop of 21 percent versus last year, while unit sales dropped 14 percent.
The NPD report also ranked the top five digital retailers in two categories, sites that are more focused on casual games and sites that sell games you’d find at your local retailer. Here are the results:
Top 5 Frontline Digital Retailers –Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)
Top 5 Casual Digital Retailers – Jan.-June 2010 (based on unit % share)
How many of these sites have you bought games from recently? Do you still prefer to buy boxed PC games, or do you buy more digitally these days?