Sales Figures Show Video Games Rebounding

Gamers are buying more titles as downloads, showing the convenience of simply clicking rather than going out (or waiting for the mail) to get physical copies of games. That's the finding that data firm NPD Group, which tracks physical and download sales of video games, released in a report today (Nov. 21). It shows that game sales in the third quarter of 2013 were $3.45 billion, up 17 percent over the same time period in 2012..

The download part of video games sold $1.72 billion versus physical product sales of $1.3 billion, with physical up 20 percent and digital up 35 percent compared to the same period last year.

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“Trends during the third quarter were the best that we have observed since the second quarter of 2011, driven by growth across both the physical and digital [download] sides of the video game industry,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, in NPD’s statement.  “The launch of Grand Theft Auto V helped propel the new physical sales by twenty percent and continued growth of console digital full games as well as downloadable add-on content is an indication of the renewed health of the industry.”

NPD did note that all areas of game content spending had increased sales, save for social networking games, which declined.

The holiday season is usually a crucial selling period for games, especially this year with the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Preorders of both consoles sold out.

Source: NPD Group

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Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.

  • internetlad
    EA has been wiping everybody's memory and they actually think Call of Duty: Dog Edition is a new game.
  • Th_Redman
    I can't understand why people chose to download a digital copy versus owning the hard disc copy? At least, if your hard drive crashes, you can always buy another one and install the game again. The digital have to re-order it. I guess society is getting lazier and lazier. I recommend, to all, watching the movie Idiocracy. Explains alot in today's world.
  • ssalim
    I purchase digital video games via Steam all the time and I don't need physical copy, why? because 1) steam automatically updates the game, 2) if you crash your PC you can redownload the game (for free) and 3) you don't have to worry about losing or scratching your physical copy.

    It's not lazy, it's smart.
  • soccerplayer88
    Hmm... next-gen consoles are on the verge of releasing and sales figures go up.

    Who would have thought?


    If my hard drive crashes who cares? All I have to do is install Steam or any other PC distribution platform and download any game I want without typing a single serial number. I also don't have a closet full of boxes and cheap black and white manuals littering my room.

    If a major PC distribution platform buckles and dissolves, then you may have a point. Although I highly doubt Valve, Ubisoft, EA, etc are going anywhere anytime soon.
  • walter87
    @Th_Redman @ssalim

    Also with Steam, you can simply backup your steamapps folder on a harddrive and restore your games quickly without having to worry about redownloading all your games all over.
  • kawininjazx
    "I can't understand why people chose to download a digital copy versus owning the hard disc copy? At least, if your hard drive crashes, you can always buy another one and install the game again. The digital have to re-order it."

    You do realize whenever you buy a digital download you get a product key and can redownload it whenever you want for free. Steam, Amazon, and Origin keep track of your games.
  • BritiShGaMeRR
    OMG arnt some of you plain naive, More like cheaper than Hard copy ie. also Totally legit read press and search google I buy on-line and download purely because it's now cheaper via Steam sales and CD Key sale websites nothing to do with being lazy or easier to update, Backup, Reinstall etc. etc.
  • Pailin
    although often buying semi new titles can be cheaper buying a hard copy from places like and other (online) retailers - easily being cheaper than Steam.

    Steam is Hard to beat for its sales though, if you are patient - like many I buy far more than I play lol ;)