PC Online Sales Reaches Parity with Retail Sales

The NPD’s research on the PC side of the coin finally comes to fruition. It seems that “in 2009, 21.3 million pc games were downloaded in the U.S. versus 23.5 million purchased at retail.” This information is specifically targeted at full retail and digitally downloadable games. This means they are specifically talking about digital services like steam. However, they do note that “digital Retailers increased their share of the PC full-game digital download market in the second half of 2009, at the expense of the Casual Digital Retailers.”

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. PC digital downloads represented close to half of unit sales across digital and retail at 48 percent in 2009, and accounted for 36 percent of dollar sales.

PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report segments the PC full-game digital download landscape into two Web-based ‘retailer’ segments (offers games for download, and with no physical storefront): Casual Digital Retailers, which often focus on smaller, easily accessible games that typically utilize try-and-buy or advertising revenue models; and Frontline Digital Retailers, which often focus on titles that are also offered in retail stores as physical purchases.

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

Top 5 Casual Digital Retailers – 2009 (based on unit % share)

1. Bigfishgames.com
2. Pogo.com
3. Gamehouse.com
4. iWin.com
5. Realarcade.com

Frontline Digital Retailers increased their share of the PC full-game digital download market in the second half of 2009, at the expense of the Casual Digital Retailers.

Source: npd.com