NPD released its latest report on the gaming industry yesterday. While the headline is that Extreme Gamers (just 3%) play an average of 45 hours per week and bought 24 titles in the last three months , i was also interested to see the inroads that digital distribution has made:
The Advent of Digital Purchases
In total, gaming consumers indicated approximately 14 percent of games purchased in the past 3 months were digital downloads. Avid PC Gamers had the highest incidence with 27 percent of their purchases being digital. In terms of content, more than half of Extreme Gamers and just over a third of Avid PC Gamers stated they would definitely download a feature to enhance a specific game that they own.
This is partly a function of the increased importance of the PC as a gaming platform, and the growing number of casual gamers:
Of the 174 million gamers who personally play games on PC/Mac or video game systems, 3 percent are Extreme Gamers, 9 percent are Avid PC Gamers, 17 percent are Console Gamers, 14 percent Online PC Gamers, 15 percent are Offline PC Gamers, 22 percent are Young Heavy Gamers and 20 percent are Secondary Gamers.
The rise of free to play games, almost all of which are downloaded, is another driver of this trend.
Digital distribution, and hence the ability to variablize marketing and distribution costs is one of the key drivers of games 2.0.