Less Than Half of Game Sales Are From New, Physical Content

Gross sales of digital downloads soar in 2012.

Last year, Americans spent a whopping $14.8 billion on video games. Oddly enough, this number is actually down from 2011's $16.34 billion, but the details of this figure are what's important.

In 2012, sales for digital content--things like add-ons, subscriptions, and mobile games--rose 16 percent to $5.92 billion while sales of physical games--new or used--dropped radically from $11.25 billion in 2011 to $8.88 billion in 2012.

“When including all other forms of content spending outside of new physical games, the 2012 U.S. games market was more than twice as large as the total spending on new physical games alone,” Liam Callahan says in the NPD Group's report on video game sales.

With digital marketplaces typical for all major consoles and the rise of casual social media gaming, the fate of brick-and-mortar game stores seem to be increasingly uncertain.

Featured Columnist

HC Billings is an excellent gamer, acceptable writer, and laughable parkourist.

Published Feb. 6th 2013
  • HC Billings
    Featured Columnist
    @Ashley -
    That, coupled with this whole 'persistent-connection' thing about the new X-Box which could/might/will? prevent folks from playing old or second-hand games seems like it's going to be the death of the physical gaming industry. Not only would it affect things like going into your local game store, but think about the impact it would have on Game Fly and other rental services, which is how I end up playing most of my games.

    It's really sad, and incredibly frustrating.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    I was thinking the other day, about how much I dislike GameStop's policies but would miss the rush of going into a store dedicated to games and browsing through them.

    Losing GameStop and other gaming stores like Play N Trade would sort of be like how rental stores are barely even a thing anymore, after being phased out by other similar services. The convenience is nice, but the feeling of looking through what games are available for rental and finding some surprising gems is something I truly do miss. It's a bit depressing to think that all of the traditional ways of seeking out games are dying.

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