Home Gaming Let’s talk digital sales

Let’s talk digital sales

1 min read

Because, for some weird reason, there are lots of news pieces floating about today that are all inextricably connected with the digital distribution of games. We’re talking about full games for digital distribution, and not downloadable content, which we’ve already seen isn’t as big as one would think.

So it’s safe to say I’ve felt a great disturbance in the industry, as if millions of retailers suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced by three separate reports by three different companies and their distribution platforms: Valve, Take-Two and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade.

Valve boss Gabe Newell has piped up and reported that Steam has officially hit more than 30 million user accounts. Each year has seen the digital distribution platform increase its membership by roughly 178%, which obviously equates to a massive potential customer base for digital sales. Add to this that the platform has launched for MAC users and is currently offering more than 1200 games for Apple systems, and it’s no surprise that the company is experience colossal increases in membership.

According to James North-Hearn (CEO of Foundation 9, one of the leading Xbox Live Arcade developers) more than 30% of Xbox Live accounts actively download and pay for Xbox Live Arcade games. This, according to North-Hearn, means about 16 million active purchasers on the Xbox Live Arcade distribution service. And with more and more developers switching their focus to digital releases only (Tim Schafer’s Double Fine is one of these), you’re likely to see this number increase as time goes on. Of course, this isn’t even taking Sony’s PlayStation Network into consideration.

Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick has also just announced that about 15% of his company’s annual turnover can be attributed to digital distribution. He predicts that by 2013 this will account for more 40% of their total turnover.

It’s inevitable that game releases will go exclusively digital and judging by the above numbers and opinions from some of the industry’s leading people, it looks as if that changeover is barrelling towards us faster than ever.

Source: CVG Article 1, 2 and 3

Last Updated: October 19, 2010


  1. It’s the proliferation of the internet. It’s bound to take over physical media. Just no time soon. Two generations of consoles and I think everything will be digital.


  2. Cleric

    October 19, 2010 at 17:29

    “game releases will go exclusively digital”.
    Exclusively? As in all games will only come out thru a digital distribution channel and there will be no more retail boxed copies of anything? Hmmm, bold statement. You may be right in the long, long, looooooooong term, but I think we’re talking more than 50 years out here.

    Could be wrong though.
    And to think of how I b1tched when PC games moved from nice big chunky boxes to the same size as DVDs http://www.lazygamer.co/wp-content/plugins/smilies-themer/Nomicons v2.0/grin.png


  3. Cleric

    October 19, 2010 at 17:30

    Hehe, emoticon fail


  4. Luna

    October 19, 2010 at 23:09

    It will be a LONG time before digital distribution takes over. I’m sure it will, but you will have to wait for a new generation who grew up with it their entire lives. Those are the ones that will make it happen in another 2 or so generations.

    For me? I like it. I like saying to a web site, my console or Steam “I want this” and then having it in not so long. But I also want the real physical thing when it comes to my favorites.


  5. Miklós Szecsei

    October 20, 2010 at 10:18

    It is a bold statement, you’re right, and perhaps “exclusively” was the wrong word. “Primarily”, maybe?

    I think in the future (less than 50 years I’m guessing) we’ll see retail shops stocking game boxes, but with digital download codes inside (some game releases already do this). I’m sure it won’t be in the next generation of consoles, or even the next. But it’ll happen before you and I stop playing games, that I’m certain of. And by “stop playing games” I mean die. 🙂


  6. Sebastian

    October 21, 2010 at 14:00

    For PC games I guess we will see the last box in about 5 years. Maybe some collectors boxes will remain. As for the consoles that pretty much depends on the next gen platforms. It seems that all platform holders follow a strong online strategy. I’m just wondering if they are willing to let go of their retail business so easily.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Tormented Souls Back on for PS4 and Xbox One

Well, it would seem that fans are being listened to, after all. Who would’ve thunk? Back i…