Digital sales account for 69% of the industry, and 2015 was bigger than we thought | PCGamesN

Digital sales account for 69% of the industry, and 2015 was bigger than we thought

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It turns out we’ve been counting digital sales wrong. Industry analysts have been showing spending on games plateauing over the last few years, but that’s not the case at all - it’s on the rise, and in a big way. 

You’ll probably be buying our list of upcoming PC games digitally, right? 

The problem has been with how sales tracking firm the NPD have been collecting their data. Previously it wasn’t an accurate snapshot of digital sales.

It turns out physical game sales in 2015 only actually accounted for 31% of the market, so that remainder - digital sales - is a large portion of the overall picture to miscount. Previously it was thought that physical sales accounted for 44% of game sales. 

According to the NPD, these discrepancies are due to a lack of information on digital game and DLC sales, which is why there’s no point paying attention to the charts that often circulate - they don’t take digital into account, so they are a snapshot of less than half of the industry.

As an example of how wide off the mark the data has been, 2015 consumer spending was previously reported as $16.5 billion, when it’s now been revised as $23.2 billion. Yep, it was 40% out. 

You can see the full report over at Ars Technica

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g.poubelle avatar
g.poubelle Avatar
11 Months ago

So before they had $7.26 billion of physical sales, which they divided by 0.44 to turn it into $16.5 billion overall sales...

But then decided physical sales only accounted for 31% sales so divided the same $7.26 billion by 0.31 instead to come up with $23.2 billion overall sales.

But truth is they don't know if physical sales really account for 31% of the overall sales either, it could just as well account for less then 21%, because the bottom line is that they have no idea what the digital (and DLC) sales are.

And if it really was 21%, that would make it $34.5 billion overall sales (which is over twice their initial $16.5 billion figure).