Digital download sales of games have almost reached a parity with physical boxed sales, US sales tracking group NPD claims.
NPD estimated that 21.3 million PC digital downloads in 2009 versus 2.35 million physical boxed products sold. If accurate this would mean that last year PC digital distribution accounted for 48 per cent of unit sales and 36 per cent by value.
However NPD historically has relied on sales provided from the retail industry and with digital distribution companies such as Steam and Direct to Download not providing download figures to market trackers such as NPD, the company compiled the estimate through a survey of users.
The company used a 8,000 member consumer panel survey and a weekly survey of 180,000 members in order to compile the report. PC game retail sales had decreased 23 per cent in the US in 2009 according to an NPD report in January and had open acknowledged that much of the total PC gaming market was not being tracked due to the shift to digital distribution.
NPD’s top US "Frontline Digital Retailers" of 2009