PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. According to the PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report, from The NPD Group, in 2009, 21.3 million PC Game full-game digital downloads were purchased online in the United States compared with 23.5 million physical units purchased at retail during the same period.
While NPD’s point-of-sale research shows that PC physical retail sales experienced a year-over-year revenue decline in 2009, it was still slightly larger than PC digital download sales on a unit basis, NPD reported. PC digital downloads represented close to half of unit sales across digital and retail at 48% in 2009, and accounted for 36% of dollar sales.
NPD found that free online gaming has taken its toll on digital retailers.
“The popularity of social network gaming increased from Q3’09 to Q4’09 as 4.8 million more people played games on a social network in the United States,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “This demonstrates how consumers can now experience casual types of games through myriad vehicles, broadening the competitive landscape.”
Free mobile gaming is also capturing the attention of gamers, illustrated by the 30% increase in usage of the iPhone and the iPod Touch as gaming devices from Q2’09 to Q4’09, according to NPD. Furthermore, 97% of those who downloaded a game app in Q4’09 downloaded a free version of a game.