Digital Downloads Gaining Ground as Retail Slumps

Digital game sales have become a huge market for publishers. From Steam to the Xbox Marketplace to the PlayStation Store, players can grab just about anything they want without waiting in line at the tradition brick-and-mortar shops. Just how big is it? A new ESA report for 2016 says digital represents almost 3/4 of all games sold.

The annual report form the Entertainment Software Association shows that digital sales jumped another 5% from 2015. The overall dollar figure for game sales is a whopping $24.5 billion, which included games, DLC and mobile apps. That number is $7 billion more than in 2010, up more than 40%. If you add in hardware and accessories, the number hit an incredible $30.4 billion. 

Meanwhile, retailers such as GameStop have reported weaker game sales. Just last month, GameStop stock plummeted 13% on reports that fourth quarter sales were down in all areas. It has already begun closing stores.

As for demographics, the average gamer is 35 years old. Males skew younger on the whole to the under 35 bracket, while females tend to be fairly evenly divided across all age ranges.

Other cool tidbits:

  • More than 97% of U.S. households have a personal computer, 81% have smartphones, and 48% have game consoles. The ESA estimates that there are roughly 1.7 gamers in each household.
  • 11% of households have VR devices, with about 63% of "frequent gamers" knowing about VR. That number is up from 15% in 2015. The average age of a headset owner in 31.
  • 54% of gamers feel that games provide more value for their money than DVDs (22%), Music (14%), and Movies (10%).
  • There are 2,322 developers across all 50 states, with 526 publishers spread across 44 states. Those companies employ 65,678 workers, with an average salary of $97,000.

Check out the full report for all the fun facts.

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