According to the 2013 Games Market Dynamics report, in addition to the US$6.34 billion spent in the U.S. by consumers on new physical video and PC game software during 2013, the total consumer spend on other physical forms of content (used and rental) reached $1.83 billion, and content in digital format (full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games) generated $7.22 billion.
This equates to $15.39 billion spent on games within the United States alone.
Particularly strong growth for full-game downloads and downloadable content on consoles, PCs and portable devices, along with growth in mobile games, were more than enough to offset an 11 percent decline in new physical sales, leading to a 1 percent annual growth for total content spending.
“Growth in digitally distributed content is vital to overall industry health,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Since this is such a topic of high interest to the industry, we recently conducted additional in-depth research into consumer behavior with regard to digital content acquisition, and found that 36 percent of the U.S. population ages 13 and older was playing games acquired digitally, with incidence highest among teens and young adults. Interestingly, however, there is no particular point after age 25 where incidence declines significantly.”
Content wasn’t the video game industry’s only success story in 2013. The strong performance of hardware seen in the fourth quarter led to a positive year for the category, which ended the year 5 percent higher than 2012. Content growth, coupled with hardware growth led to a 2 percent increase in overall consumer spending over 2012.
“The bottom line is that the overall games market is growing,” said Callahan. “NPD reported declines in content and hardware spending in both 2011 and 2012, so the growth in 2013 is a positive indicator for future market growth as we enter the first full year with all three new consoles on the market.”
The estimates are published in NPD’s report, Games Market Dynamics: U.S. – released by The NPD Group in February 2014.