According to market research company NPD Group, the preliminary estimate for total consumer spend on gaming content via all monetization methods, including new physical video and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile games, is between $16.3 to $16.6 billion. This total consumer spend on games content in 2011, which includes both physical and digital formats, represents sales that are down approximately 2 percent when compared to 2010.
Based on this estimate, spending on new physical content at retail continues to account for the majority of the total consumer spend on games content. U.S. retail sales of new physical video game content, which includes portable, console and PC game software, generated revenues of $9.3 billion, an 8 percent decline over the $10.1 billion generated in 2010.
Bright spots came from HD console software sales, which were up 9 percent in 2011, as well as increases in the consumer spend on used games sales, full-game digital downloads and downloadable content, and mobile gaming apps, which partially offset declines in the other areas of consumer spend on content.
“Overall industry results are not entirely surprising given that we are on the back end of the current console lifecycle, combined with the continued digital evolution of gaming. Core gamers continue to be engaged and spend on established franchises across both the digital and physical format using multiple devices for different gaming occasions,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.