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Physical game sales still exceed digital, but only just
Around $3.4 billion was spent on gaming in the first quarter of this year, according to new research from the NPD Group, of which almost half was spent on digital content.
The NPD Group's research shows that U.S. gamers still prefer physical media over digital. A third of gamers now prefer to download their games online, but for how long? Physical content sales (a combination of used and rental) decreased by just 5% and digital format content sales grew by 10% compared to Q1 2011.
"While the growth in digital format sales does not yet offset the declines in physical format sales, clearly the changes occurring within the industry are reflected in the trends we are seeing in the research," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.
NPD asked 8,500 consumers whether they would buy a game as a digital download or the same game as a physical purchase in a store. While 65% said they would buy it at a store, 35% said they would download it.
NPD's results most probably also reflect the restrictions faced by youngsters when it comes to making online purchases. Many don't have access to a credit card and have little choice but to head to a physical store.
Similar research, from German statistics firm Statista, shows that sales of physical retail games in the U.S. are at their lowest since 2006.
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