The future of the US gaming market: Downloadable, familiar

the future of us gaming market downloadable familiar videogameAre we finally beginning to see the possibility of a tipping point between analog and digital spending for videogames? A new report on game spending for the second quarter of 2012 shows that, while American consumers have dropped their traditional gaming purchases by a dramatic amount, digital sales are racing upwards in the same period. Although it was probably only a matter of time, it’s a change that nonetheless seems surprising; after all, they’revideogames. Shouldn’t that kind of thing be future-proofed a little better?

According to a new report issued by The NPD Group entitled Q2 2012 Games Market Dynamics: U.S., American consumer spending on new physical video game and PC game releases between April and June this year totaled $1 billion. Sales dropped by 29 percent by June, NPD reports, to around $699.8 million in revenue from traditional video game sales – but at the same time, revenue raised by digital products – defined as full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games for the purposes of the study -went up by 17 percent to reach $1.47 billion.

NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier summarized the movements by telling the Hollywood Reporter, “In the second quarter of this year, sales of content in a digital format have grown 17 percent over Q2 2011. While this growth is in stark contrast to the declines in new physical software and hardware sales, the size of digital sales is not quite large enough to offset these declines, leading to an overall drop in consumer spending in Q2 by 16 percent.”

Interestingly enough, this isn’t necessarily a US-centric situation, as Frazier compared the American report to similar ones handled by NPD in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. “While many European acquisition trends in the second quarter of 2012 mirrored those we saw in the U.S. due to seasonality,” she said, “Europe differed from the U.S. in terms of softer mobile spending, but greater stability in rental trends.  Growth in full-game and add-on content downloads in the second quarter is surprisingly similar as the content behind this increase is suitable to both markets.”

Clearly, gaming companies should start – if they’re not already – paying more attention to downloadable content as their fastest growth market, both in terms of deliverability and cost; but the status of the rental market may be worth looking into, as well. According the Games Market Dynamics: U.S., the secondary – ie, non-new-purchase – physical market brought in $386 million in the last quarter. What is to be made of the idea that parts of the market that aren’t new full-game releases are the parts that are growing fastest, I wonder? Perhaps we’re about to enter a time where consolidation becomes as important as expansion, and a new conservatism takes hold on creators as well as consumers…

Home Theater

Samsung will stop releasing new Blu-ray players in the U.S.

Samsung, the first company to produce a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, is now exiting the Blu-ray market entirely in the U.S. The move comes after Oppo Digital also dropped out of the market last year.
Gaming

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Mobile

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.
Mobile

Moto G7 Play vs. Nokia 3.1 Plus: Two budget veterans slug it out

The Moto G7 Play is the new super-budget superstar on the block, with a new processor, compact design, and fresh features. But can it take down the Cricket-exclusive Nokia 3.1 Plus? We compared the two to find out.
Gaming

These are the best weapons for taking down mutants and bandits in Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus is a very difficult game, and choosing the right weapons is key for surviving the post-apocalyptic Russia that 4A Games has created. These are the best weapons in Metro Exodus.
Gaming

Exotic Masterwork Weapons are in Destiny 2. Here's how to upgrade

Destiny 2's new Masterwork gear offers a number of special bonuses. Here is what you need to know about it, including how to find the gear in the game and even create it yourself.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
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

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
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

Razer Game Store to shut down at end of February, less than a year after opening

The Razer Game Store will shut down on February 28, less than a year after it opened. Games purchased from the digital store will continue to work, but purchased keys will need to be used before its closure.
Gaming

Niantic promises to make Pokémon Go less troublesome for homeowners

Niantic is looking to settle the lawsuits filed by angry homeowners who were affected by hordes of Pokémon Go players trespassing on their properties. Niantic promised to resolve complaints within 15 days, among other things.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC