NPD: Digital sales have overtaken physical copies

2 min read

It was bound to happen sooner or later; NPD has released market research for the first six months of 2010. Their findings have shown that digital downloads have sold more than physical copies of games from retail stores and online shops.

Of course, their findings are based on market research conducted in America, but seeing as the USA is the largest gaming market in the world it’s fair to say that their findings hold a bit of weight. Between January 2010 and June 2010, 11.2 million units have been sold through digital distribution. How many physical copies have been sold?

A mere 8.2 million. It’s obvious that game distribution is going digital. Of course, physical copies aren’t going anywhere just yet, especially when one takes into consideration that physical still generates more money despite digital overtaking in sales. This is largely thanks to inflated prices through retail stores however.

What’s also interesting to note is that, according to reports on, Steam and Blizzard were not approached by NPD at all during this research. Even Brad Wardell (CEO of Impulse, the online game distribution platform) has not put much stock in NPD’s figures saying they “don’t tend to have much reflection on reality”. With big companies in the gaming industry raising their eyebrows in response to NPD’s findings, one cannot help but question the validity of the stats. And then there’s Geoff’s post from earlier this year that said almost the complete opposite of what NPD has found. Is anyone else confused?

These are definitely going to be interesting figures to keep an eye on over the coming months and years. I for one will be a little sad when games are only available through digital distribution, but I thought the same thing when MP3s started overtaking CDs.

Source: 1Up

Last Updated: September 21, 2010

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