Download Sales Increase as Physical Sales Drop


I feel that we are entering a sad era in the life of video games.  Although Iwata stated that we are not yet ready for cloud based gaming, sales figures are showing that we might be heading towards the demise of physical copies of our favorite games.

The latest NPD figures (2012 sales in the US) show us that downloads have become more convenient and popular that buying a physical copy of the game.  Mr. Iwata has confirmed that downloads are becoming increasingly more important to Nintendo.

In 2012, consumers spent approximately $14.8 billion on physical software, used games, rentals and digital sales.  That is approximately a 9% drop for the gaming industry from 2011 figures.  Used games accounted for $1.79 billion, physical games brought in $7.09 billion, and digital content streamed in $5.92 billion.  The digital sales increased by 16% from 2011, while physical sales (new retail) dropped by 21%!

Nintendo’s 2012 financial results have shown that they are not exempt from the new trend.  To ensure they take advantage of the trend, Nintendo has striven to provide more games in a downloadable format.  In fact, some games are available to download and purchase physically.

Personally, I prefer the physical copies.  Maybe I am getting old, but I love looking through my collection, browsing the artwork, the manuals, and who doesn’t like the smell of an old NES cartridge?

However, an untapped market would be the releases that never see their way to America, or other countries.  I would pay to download versions of those games, just to be able to play them here.  The need to localize could be forgotten, if gamers are willing to fork over the cash just to play it here.  I would imagine it would be a big business.

What are your thoughts?

It sort of reminds me of this song…


Essel Pratt has spent his life exploring his imagination and dreams. As a Husband and a Father, he doesn't have as much time to write as he would like. However, his mind is always plotting out his next story. Someday he hopes to quit the 9-5 grind and focus on writing full time. Currently, Essel has three published short stories and is working on a handful of novels. Essel focuses his writings on mostly Horror/Sci-Fi, however is known to add a dash of other genres into his writings as well. In his spare time, he can be found playing one of the 40+ video game consoles in his collection, especially his Wii U (NNID: EsselPratt). Click the links below to follow Essel's exploits in the writing world, and be sure to follow his blog at as well as his articles on