By Mike Snider, USA TODAY
Consumers continue to embrace digitally delivered video game content but not enough to make up for declining sales of video game systems and games at retail, according to a recent report by The NPD Group.
Total video game spending -- on game systems, accessories and all game content -- in the first three months of 2012 totaled $4.8 billion, down 15% from the first three months of 2011, the market tracking firm said.
Spending on video games including physical video and PC game software (new and used), digital downloads (full games and add-on content), subscriptions, mobile games and social network games from the first three months of 2012 amounted to $3.4 billion, down 11% from the first quarter of 2011.
The only category to rise: digital format sales, which amounted to $1.38 billion, up 10% from 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 NPD analyst Anita Frazier.
According to the Q1 2012 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report from leading market research company The NPD Group, in addition to the $1.5 billion spent in the U.S. by consumers on new physical video and PC game software in the first quarter of 2012, the total consumers spent on other physical forms of content (used and rental) reached $525 million, and content in digital format (full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games) generated $1.38 billion.
Other totals for Q1 2012, compared to Q1 2011:
-- Hardware: $905 million, down 30%.
-- Accessories: $506 million, down 14%.
-- New physical content (game sales): $1.5 billion, down 25%.
-- Other physical content (used & rental): $525 million, down 5%.
Asked about sales trends, Frazier said, "other than new physical sales being consistently down, there hasn't been a consistent trend. What we're finding with these other forms of content spend is that they change quite a bit from quarter to quarter."
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