You know how every month you see stories like “Red Dead Redemption sells X copies, Super Mario Galaxy 2 sells Y copies,” etc? All of that data comes from the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales. What NPD never used to track was digital download sales—Steam and the like. That’s why’d you see doom-and-gloom stories like, “PC game sales fall 50 percent last month.” Yeah, because NPD was never keeping tabs on the digital sales! That’s like saying Apple is in trouble because nobody is buying iTunes music at Best Buy. Rubbish, exactly.
Surely you can see where this is going.
NPD now, indeed, tracks digital sales, and found that a whopping 48 percent of all PC game sales come from digital downloads. In other words, NPD was missing nearly half of all sales when you saw those doom-and-gloom stories.
The Big Five digital distribution sites are:
You should also note that that list only includes games commonly found at retail. It also doesn’t include all those silly Facebook-type games people play. I don’t, and never will, consider that “gaming.” You might as well be double-clicking into empty space with some of those things.
Bottom line: approximately half of all PC games sales come digitally these days. That’s fairly remarkable.