NPD Group: 1 in 3 players choose digital downloads over physical games purchased at retail

1 in 3 players choose digital downloads over physical games purchased at retail

The inevitable march of digital progress moves forward! According to sales tracking research firm NPD Group, consumers are downloading their video games rather than buying them at a store with ever increasing frequency. According to one new survey from the firm, 1 in 3 players in the US now prefer to get their games straight from the Internet rather than buying them at GameStop or Walmart.

NPD (via MCV) surveyed 8,500 consumers for its Online Gaming 2012 report. When asked whether they would purchase a game as a digital download or the same game as a physical copy at a store, 35 percent said they would download the game and the remaining 65 percent said they would buy it at the store.

Retailers like Best Buy can take some comfort in the fact that the majority of respondents are still interested in buying games on DVD or Blu-ray discs, and that these buying habits appear static. Ipsos MediaCT conducted a similar survey in 2010 and found that 64% of respondents preferred physical media over downloads.

When will the scales finally tip in favor of digital over physical copies? That depends on how the next 2 years play out for the industry. Part of the strength of physical media is the purchasing power of minors. People under 18 years of age without credit cards tend to have to get their video games in a store.

Game publishers with huge all-ages audiences like Nintendo though are trying to bridge the gap between digital and retail sales models. New Super Mario Bros. 2 for example will be available day and date as a downloadable title and as a cartridge. To mollify retailers worried about losing sales directly to Nintendo though, Nintendo is selling cards at stores like GameStop that entitle buyers to a download of the game. They aren’t selling codes free of any physical object yet, unlike some companies—Microsoft, Sony, and others sell credits for their digital distribution channels right at the register at GameStop, no need to buy a card of any kind—but Nintendo’s strategy could tip the balance of consumers that prefer downloads over physical goods.

Then again, consumers may drift towards digital models without the influence of retailers at all. More tablet sales, more smartphone sales, and more cross-platform releases of games means that retailers role is diminishing exponentially with each passing day. The consumers of 2014 likely won’t be as similar to those of 2012 as today’s are to those of 2010.

Gaming

You can preload ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ soon, and you definitely should

Red Dead Redemption 2's launch is quickly approaching. If you're planning on buying a digital version, you should keep in mind that the file size is roughly 90GB. Thankfully, you can preload the game starting October 19
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for October 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Gaming

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.
Gaming

Dinner is cancelled! How to keep Call of Duty's zombies from eating your brain

New to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies mode and don't know how to succeed? We've got the tips you need to blast away at the undead and keep yourself alive for longer, even without other players helping.
Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

Who needs a sharpshooter when you have our 'Fortnite' shooting gallery guide

Fortnite season 6, week 4 challenges are here and with it comes the shooting gallery challenge. We show you where to find the shooting gallery locations and what kind of guns to use.
Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.